The BBC will add Children’s channel, CBeebies, by mid 2009. Such a move could potentially putting it in direct competition with ABC3 if that should ever eventuate. Foxtel will also roll out a new documentary channel, BBC Knowledge.
Last weekend BBC documentary channels were launched as part of the HD+ announcement and BBC World News channel already airs.
Foxtel’s Kim Williams, said the deal represented for the Australian pay-TV provider “one of the major movements in channel partnerships” in the past four years. CBeebies would be the first ad-free offering on Foxtel’s platform, he said.
BBC Worldwide’s chief, Darren Childs, said the broadcaster would work with Australian producers to find local hosts for its children’s shows, and create an advisers’ council of experts in preschool education. The deal will have no implications for the BBC’s existing contracts with free-to-air broadcasters including the ABC.
“Having five channels will allow us to showcase the breadth and depth of BBC programmes, in many cases for the first time, to Australian audiences. In addition, we will continue to seek new opportunities for future growth in this region,” he said.