UK pubcaster the BBC and U.S-headquartered cable giant Discovery are reportedly set to launch a natural history streaming partnership, according to reports from UK press outlets The Financial Times and The Telegraph.
Under the proposed deal, BBC would license international streaming rights to its natural history output to Discovery, which would own the service, including back catalog event series hosted by internationally renowned nature presenter Sir David Attenborough. The service, according to the reports, would not be available in the UK or China.
According to the FT, Discovery Inc. networks including Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet will also contribute programming to the service.
The deal comes as the two parties negotiate the breakup of UKTV, the British multi-channel broadcaster owned jointly by BBC and Discovery.
Talk of Discovery launching an SVOD service has been frequent since the finalizing of its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, and its moves in the sports area, including the acquisition of Eurosport and its recent grab of multi-platform and global television rights outside the U.S. for PGA Tour properties. This move, however, would strictly concern natural history content, according to the reports.
In March of 2018, Discovery Inc CEO David Zaslav told The Financial Times that the company sees an opening in the SVOD market for the content Discovery specializes in.
While both reports cited sources with knowledge of the situation, BBC declined to comment when reached by Realscreen. Discovery had not responded to a request for comment at press time.
(Photo from Planet Earth II, courtesy of BBC)
(With files from Barry Walsh)