Advanced Television

BBC and Discovery end partnership

October 10, 2013

By Chris Forrester

Discovery and the BBC have ended their formal coproduction partnership. The long-standing arrangement meant that the BBC could count on development funding for some of the past ten years’ most notable science and factual shows, not least the award-winning Blue Planet and Frozen Planet series of natural history documentaries.

A joint-statement said the two parties had ended the relationship by ‘mutual agreement’. It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Discovery cash, but the BBC’s production partner is now the BBC’s own commercial arm, BBC Worldwide (BBCWW).

BBCWW will now make a major investment in the BBC’s factual content although Discovery will continue to partner the BBC on certain pre-agreed projects including Survival, Hidden Kingdom and How to Build a Planet.

Bal Samra, the BBC’s commercial director, said: “The BBC and Discovery have enjoyed a long-standing and successful relationship and, although this phase of our partnership is now coming to an end, we look forward to working together on a number of projects in the future.

“Science and natural history programmes have always been a core part of the BBC’s DNA and we have ambitious plans for the future, with an exciting range of new content in the pipeline. International demand for our content has never been higher and we continue to enjoy a collaborative and fruitful relationship with a wide range of coproducers.”

Andrew Jackson, Discovery’s EVP/production and development for landmark series and specials, added: “As Discovery’s global audiences continue to flourish, they demand the very best science and natural history programming.

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