Discovery enters global FTA market with German channel

MUMBAI: Global media firm Discovery Communications has announced its entry into the global free-to-air television business.

It has acquired a controlling stake in German free-to-air channel XXP from Spiegel TV and Development Company for Television Programmes (DCTP).

The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and the completion of closing conditions. Under terms of the agreement, Discovery will form a joint-venture company with Spiegel TV and DCTP, with Discovery assuming day-to-day management of the channel. Spiegel TV and DCTP will continue to contribute to the programming of the channel.

Discovery will expand the availability of XXP to German  viewers starting on February 1, increasing programming from four to 24 hours daily. In addition to the technical investment, Discovery plans to further develop the channel to appeal to a young, upscale male demographic.

Discovery Networks Intl president Dawn L. McCall says, “Our move into the free-to-air universe underscores Discoverys’ commitment to extend its valuable content across multiple media platforms,” . XXP’s viewers and advertisers will benefit from the increased investment and management expertise Discovery brings to the partnership along with the highly acclaimed, locally relevant programming Spiegel TV will contribute to the channel.”

In addition to Germany, XXP is available to television households in Austria, Luxembourg, German-speaking Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the South Tyrol region of Italy. XXP currently is distributed to more than 20 million households in these countries.

Discovery currently offers its flagship Discovery Channel as well as Animal Planet and Discovery Geschichte in Germany for a combined six million cumulative subscription units. The company is also seeking regulatory approval for Discovery HD in Germany and Austria. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Discovery offers 12 network brands in 104 countries, reaching 173 million cumulative subscription units.

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