New BBC Drama channel headed to Foxtel -with fast-tracking.

A new BBC Drama and Comedy channel with fast-tracked UK content, 12 months ahead of Free to Air, is coming to Foxtel.

2013-04-17_1636Foxtel and BBC Worldwide have announced a new Drama and Comedy channel which will include premium British content ad-break free and “as close to UK transmission as possible.”

To launch in mid-2014 as part of the Foxtel Drama & Lifestyle package it will feature quality first-run programming from the BBC and other great British producers, at least 12 months ahead of Free to Air television.

One title already confirmed is 10-part drama The Musketeers, Adrian Hodges’ contemporary take on Alexandre Dumas’ classic with a cast including Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, Howard Charles and Peter Capaldi.

All five channels will be available on Foxtel GO and the premiere channel will be available in high definition, alongside UKTV and BBC Knowledge. Extensive BBC content will be available on demand at no extra charge.
In addition, the deal offers Foxtel a first-look at all BBC Worldwide Lifestyle programming.

Jon Penn, Managing Director, BBC Worldwide Australasia said: “This deal represents a strategic opportunity for BBC Worldwide to further expand our opportunities to showcase outstanding British creativity in Australia. We have a strong relationship with Foxtel and their viewers through our existing four channels, and were delighted to be given the chance to launch a premium channel that could offer the best BBC and British premiere television shortly after UK transmission. We are confident that we will also continue to have productive relationships with our other valued partners in the FTA, STV and digital markets.”

Foxtel CEO, Richard Freudenstein said, “The BBC is one of the great television brands; its content, across so many genres, is loved and admired by millions of viewers all over the world. By strengthening our relationship with the BBC we will greatly enhance the viewing experience we offer our subscribers, with even more high quality content that can only be seen on the Foxtel platform and which we show as soon as possible after its original broadcast. Plus we offer the superior quality of high definition and the fantastic convenience of Foxtel Go.

“I want to congratulate BBC Worldwide on this initiative that will greatly enhance their presence in the Australian market.”

BBC Worldwide Channels on Foxtel:
New BBC premium channel – this will feature premiere British drama and comedy, fast-tracked and uninterrupted, from mid 2014.
UKTV – featuring UK hits, including drama, entertainment and soaps..
BBC Knowledge – documentaries with credibility and character.
CBeebies – TV that’s good for your children – educational, entertaining, safe and advertising free.
BBC World News – trusted and impartial 24-hour international news coverage.

20 Responses

  1. And the latest news is that Commonwealth Department for the Aging is allowing Foxtel subscriptions to be direct debited from pensions so the old ABC audience can watch Call The Midwife series 3.

  2. @ bill – well if a FTA network doesn’t pick up the Sochi Winter Olympic rights then that transponder will be left unused until the Commonwealth Games next year (which if I recall correctly they only launched 6 channels last Comm. Games and I can’t see them increasing it in 2014), and then the Summer Olympics in 2016. A god awful waste of satellite bandwidth.

  3. @ Kuttsywood – you’re referring to the Optus 10 which is expected to launch this year, but according to my sources there are still free transponders available on the D3 which Foxtel are too cheap to rent. If my sources are correct, then there are no reasons why Foxtel couldn’t be launching more HD channels.

  4. I’m not how much difference this will really make. The really big rating BBC shows on ABC are ones that appeal to a significantly older audience — one that is least inclined to rush out to see stuff on cable 12 months before they can see it on FTA.

    Plus, Foxtel remains a poor offering, much too expensive, and will still far too many games played about what you actually get for your ‘bargain’ subscription.

    And this will force ABC to make even more local content, which is good for audiences and the local business.

  5. Correction to my previous comment, just read that the ABC will keep 1st run rights to a few shows including Dr. Who, Q.I. and a few others. Aunty will have to look at ITV and Channel 4 content more to fill the gaps.

  6. People, please read the article, it states that prorammes will be shown as close to UK transmission as possible, it is FTA who will have to wait 12 months to re- broadcast the shows, and yes I think this will include current shows that ABC fast track now, especially Dr. Who, as this is a flagship show and if Foxtel is outbidding the ABC they will want premium content and also it has ramifications for UKTV as well.

  7. I’m a little confused about what this means for FTA (mainly ABC Television). From this story, it doesn’t seem as draconian as the Foxtel/HBO deal recently. But then I read this story from ABC News (admittedly an aggrieved party) & it sounds like the end of a 50 year relationship between BBC & ABC.


  8. This deal by BBC Worldwide is likely the beginning of a giant leap forward for Foxtel’s offering. I think the reason why we are also waiting for this (along with announcements on future channels), is because Foxtel likely doesn’t have the space on satellites, to offer it in the short term (6-8mths).

    I’ve heard rumors over the last year or so, mixed in with iQ3 talk: that there is another satellite on the way.

    When Optus D3 was launched, back in 2009, we got 30 new channels, including 10 HD simulcasts.

    I could see a similar amount of new channels to the D3 launch or a larger amount of new channels, coming to Foxtel in the near future, if indeed, the new satellite rumors are true.

  9. This is really good news, UKTV is my favourite channel. I wonder what the new channel name will be. they already have bbc entertainment and bbc lifestyle in other countries but those titles don’t seem to fit in with their plans for a drama channel. Does this mean they will get first option on all of the current content on The Lifestyle Channel or will it be new commissions only? I wish they would show everything that was popular in the UK like light entertainment shows from ITV and BBC. (Ant & Dec, X-factor, BGT, Strictly CD etc)

  10. Thrilled!!! I follow a lot of great UK shows like skins, misfits, this is England, him & her, getting on etc and I always have to go online for them because I can’t wait years for them to show up on Australian tv.

    I wonder how much non bbc content will be aired? I’d like to see shows from E4 channel tracked.

  11. so more british tv… it seems to dominate most channels. food. home. 13th street. etc.

    I also discovered yesterday that the comedy channel is apart of the kids and music package but mtv is not… weird.

    showcase needs to be available in the entertainment and lifestyle pack.

    mtv’s glbt channel logo also needs to be apart of foxtel.

  12. Heard this on the ABC radio news earlier, reported along the lines of Foxtel outbidding the ABC for the rights to BBC content.

    I presume that when this deal kicks in, there will be less/no more(?) fast-tracking or screening within a few weeks of original of BBC shows by the ABC. Will it only affect new programs, or will new seasons of all BBC shows be affected? (FTA Doctor Who delayed by 12 months????)

  13. I’m not a fan of British content but nonetheless it is great to see that Foxtel are finally adding some more diversity to its offerings. It was great to see them launch FX to combat the male-skewed FTA channels and cover the genre that was missing on STV, but it has been a year since it launched and it will be 2 years since FX’s launch before this channel launches – what a joke. I realise that it is because BBC won’t have the content rights until the ABC contract runs out at the end of June 2014, but how could they not have plans to launch any new channels this year. Obviously their plans for Foxtel Movies has gone down hill (which I would love to know the effect it has on the amount Movie package subscribers), and I thought they would have used that “30% saving” by taking movies in-house and add some channels customers won’t complain about (e.g. all sports channels in HD, double the amount of entertainment HD channels, launch Outdoor Channel which has been wanting to launch in Australia since 2010 to offer what Fuel TV doesn’t, seems though Foxtel offers catch-up content for Baby TV on Foxtel Go why not add the actual channel, etc.). But nevertheless, good on Foxtel for coming up with what seems like a good idea, and forcing more people to subscribe if they want to legally see British content within a year of its original broadcast.

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