Discovery will launch a global streaming service in 2020 that will include BBC natural history documentaries.
In a deal worth nearly $US400 million both will develop new programming across natural history, travel, science and other factual genres.
Discovery CEO and president David Zaslav called the BBC content the “Marvel IP” of the factual world and said there would be original programming just for the streaming service and wraparound content including news, games, and podcasts.
The programming deal covers global rights to blue-chip BBC franchises such as Planet Earth and Blue Planet, except in China, and the U.K., where the BBC will be able to add that content to its own services, including its soon-to-launch streamer BritBox.
“The new platform will be the first global direct-to-consumer service with the category’s most iconic IP, including the Planet Earth series, future sequels and spinoffs to all existing landmark series, and new exclusive natural history and science programming coming in the future,” Discovery CEO and president David Zaslav said in a statement. “There is tremendous value in the marketplace for these programming categories, which have broad appeal and strong multi-generational engagement, and we hope to fill the void in the global marketplace for a dedicated high-quality product.”
“This is our largest-ever content sales deal,” added BBC boss Tony Hall. “It will mean BBC Studios and Discovery will work together to take our content right across the globe through a new world-beating streaming service. Global subscribers are in for a real treat: the best content on a great new platform.”
Netflix currently has BBC blue chip shows including Blue Planet and Planet Earth, but these will come off the platform once current deals expire.