ABC renews output deal with BBC

BBC Worldwide Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation have renewed their first-option agreement for a further three years.

The deal allows ABC TV exclusive access to new content across several genres.

Some of the first programs to launch in the new agreement include: drama series Call The Midwife, detective drama Death In Paradise, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations (pictured) and new factuals, Fry’s Planet Word and Alone In The Wild.

The deal also sees Doctor Who, New Tricks and Luther return to ABC TV.

Julie Dowding, BBC Worldwide’s Sales Director, Australasia, said: “We’re delighted to renew our first-option deal with ABC TV. It’s a broadcaster that shares many values with BBC Worldwide and it has been a fantastic platform for our quality content over the years.”

Brendan Dahill, ABC1 Channel Controller: “There is a natural synergy between our audience and the excellent content and high production values of BBC programming. It is an excellent fit so we are extremely pleased to be continuing our relationship for many years to come.”

The agreement doesn’t necessarily mean all BBC content will automatically premiere on the ABC, but that the public broadcaster has first pick in in the genres covered by the deal.

A BBC Worldwide spokesperson told TV Tonight: ‘The deal allows ABC TV exclusive access to new content across a broad range of genre within the BBC Worldwide catalogue, including drama, comedy, factual, entertainment, documentaries, religion, arts and lifestyle programming. We will inform ABC TV of the availability of programs outside of this deal so that they may chose to bid for them.’

Falling outside of the agreement are Children’s, News and Natural History.

Shows that already have existing deals with other broadcasters such as Top GearSherlock and existing Pay TV premiere series are unaffected.


  1. maeve bradley

    I so enjoyed Call The Midwife whilst on holiday in the UK, and am really looking forward t seeing it here in Oz .When does the ABC plan on showing it ?

  2. @johnson. you have to realise that the bbc dont care about any other tv station. they are not going to sell things cheaply or allow others to make money from their productions by onselling. the british public pay to watch the bbc and would be pretty peed off if they didnt get the best they could for their product.
    hopefully one day they will make bbc iplayer available worldwide for a fee then we can do away with fta completely

  3. While I am delighted that the ABC has struck a new deal with the BBC, the fact that it is still a first-option agreement and not an exclusive output deal (like the ones between Australian networks and US studios), and exclusions of some genres mean another broadcaster (such as Channel Nine) can pay more money and get access to BBC programs. This is unfair to Australian audiences given how some BBC programs have been treated by the commercial networks. I wonder if BBC Worldwide deliberately set up this loophole so they can sell some big budget programs to the highest bidder.
    What I want to see in the next deal between BBC Worldwide and ABC is that the ABC gets first option to programs of all genres; other Australian free-to-air networks must buy the rights to BBC programs through the ABC; and the ABC gets repeat rights to BBC programs that have aired on other networks first (e.g. Top Gear, Sherlock, Monarchy, Earthflight, Sinbad).

  4. The ABC put a scrolling byline that it was going to show Great Expectations during a clip on one of the last episodes of the Graham Norton show shown on the ABC. That was the episode Gillian Anderson was on (Christmas?)

    • As noted, ABC gets the option to bid first. If it doesn’t suit their Programming, or the license fee is high, we would expect another broadcaster to enter the bidding. Having first option doesn’t necessarily mean you have the budget for the show, it just means you get to say “no thanks” first.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.