Discovery & BBC Studios Complete UKTV Deal; Multi-Channel Broadcaster Splits

Discovery and BBC Studios have closed the UKTV transaction; splitting up the multi-channel broadcaster. The completed deal comes after the agreement, first announced in April, got the nod from Ofcom last week.

BBC Studios now assumes full control of the UKTV brand, VOD service UKTV play and entertainment channels Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, W and Yesterday. Discovery walks away with lifestyle channels Really, Home and Good Food. The deal cost BBC Studios £173 million.

As a result of the closed deal, several of the channels owned by BBC Studios and Discovery are relocating from their existing EPG slots on Freeview. Dave moves to 19 (from 12), DMAX moves to 32 (from 47), Home moves to 42 (from 25), Quest moves to 12 (from 37), and Yesterday moves to 25 (from 19).

“UKTV has always been an important part of the BBC Group, creating value for licence fee payers and British programme makers”, said Marcus Arthur, President of UK & Ireland for BBC Studios and the new CEO of UKTV. “UKTV’s award-winning brands, innovative commissions and premium acquisitions have delivered large and loyal audiences who love great TV. As a wholly-owned part of BBC Studios we will support its future content ambitions, building on its history of success over many years.”

While James Gibbons, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, UK & ANZ, for Discovery, added: “Today marks an exciting milestone for Discovery, as we welcome UKTV’s lifestyle channels to our substantial UK portfolio. We are committed to deepening our position with viewers as the leader in real life entertainment by building great brands that power people’s passions and deliver value to our partners.”