Fox, CanalSat members of a baby boom


The baby business is bustling on the Croisette.

News Corp. arm Fox International Channels has agreed to acquire a major stake in BabyTV, a channel for infants and toddlers. And in another deal, French cable group CanalSat will give birth next week to a French version of Babyfirst, a 24/7 commercial-free channel.

BabyTV, which began four years ago in Israel, also is a commercial-free channel and already boasts carriage deals on 75 platforms in about 50 countries. No financial details of the deal were forthcoming.

BabyTV will grow into a core component in Fox's bouquet, joining Fox, Fox Life, Fox Crime, FX and National Geographic. Liran Talit, who has led BabyTV's international expansion, will continue to head the niche network as managing director.

Babyfirst, started in the U.S. in 2004, airs in 28 countries in more 73 million households. With continuous programming targeted at children from 6 months to 3-years-old, "parents can get us where and when they want," executive vp marketing and business development Sharon Rechter said.

Parents (and gifted tots) can access a special interactive Web guide at

Shows are limited to between 2-7 minutes to accommodate the short attention span of babies. The network is funded by shareholders New Regency, real estate and financial group Kardan N.V. and privately owned Los Angeles-based company Bellco Capital.

The 100% French version of Babyfirst will be available as part of Canalsat's Family Pack as of Oct. 16.