BBC and Sky Seal Retransmission Fees Deal


The pact between the public broadcaster and the U.K. satellite operator BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, means the BBC channels will be available to satellite users.

LONDON – U.K. public broadcaster the BBC and BSkyB, of which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, have reached an agreement on retransmission fees.

The deal means BBC channels and the public broadcaster's video-on-demand and catch-up service BBC iPlayer will be available on the satellite giant's platform, and satellite subscribers will continue to have access to BBC shows including Doctor Who, Sherlock and Strictly Come Dancing.

The deal brings to an end the long-running battle between Sky and the BBC and will save the corporation about $8 million (£5 million) per year.

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Sky also has struck a separate deal with British commercial broadcaster ITV, the home of Downton Abbey, and it will also benefit from about $3 million (£2 million) in annual savings.

The BBC deal was sealed after the public broadcaster guaranteed it would continue to provide Sky with its portfolio of channels, along with their HD versions, in addition to the iPlayer to the satellite operator.

A joint statement issued by the BBC and Sky said: "Sky and the BBC have reached an agreement that reduces the BBC’s payments for platform services to zero. Alongside this, both parties have reached an agreement that secures the long-term availability of BBC channels and the BBC iPlayer on the Sky platform. We will also continue to discuss opportunities that offer Sky customers new and innovative ways to discover and consume BBC content."

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The ITV agreement was reached as part of the carriage negotiations for its pay-TV drama channel ITV Encore late last month.

The deals will be a welcome filip to other U.K. TV operators Channel 4 and Channel 5, which are both aiming to reach similar arrangements with Sky over their transmission fees.

Sky originally agreed to cut the fees it charged the BBC in March 2012, but the BBC continued to argue the drop did not go far enough. In May, it raised the possibility of charging the platform provider to carry its content.

A government report in July said that pay TV giant BSkyB should stop charging public service broadcasters like the BBC and ITV for carrying them while network bosses look for payments of their own.

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