MGM, ITV renew deal for Bond films

Multi-year pact includes "Quantum of Solace" premiere

MGM's TV distribution unit has inked a multiyear renewal agreement with ITV for the James Bond movies.

The deal, unveiled Monday by MGM Worldwide TV co-president Gary Marenzi, will keep the franchise on the British commercial network and its family of channels for several years and includes the over-the-air premiere of "Quantum of Solace," the most recent film in the series.
For the first time in the U.K. marketplace, all the Bond films -- including "Casino Royale," "Goldfinger," "From Russia With Love" and "Diamonds Are Forever" -- will be shown on ITV1 HD.

No details were available as to the value of the renewal deal. Bond films typically rate well on European TV stations in their first airing and often are shown during holiday periods. But, for example, the last time "Casino Royale" was shown on ITV, its audience peaked at 3.6 million viewers, though this wasn't that movie's first free TV outing.

Annual revenue from licensing the MGM library domestically and internationally to TV outlets, including moneys for the Bonds, is thought to be in the $300 million range.

"James Bond is a British cinematic icon loved by ITV's audience, and we're delighted to continue the franchise's long association with ITV as well as the chance, for the first time, to show every Bond feature film in fantastic HD," ITV director of digital channels and acquisitions Zai Bennett said.

ITV's broadcasting business is made up of ITV1, the country's largest commercial channel in terms of audience share, and several digital channels.

The network each year invests about £1 billion ($1.57 billion) in content for its channels and the website itv.com.

The debt-burdened Lion's future continues to be up in the air, with a hook-up with Spyglass Entertainment now the most likely scenario.
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