NEWS: C5 and BBC ally to buy top films

The BBC and Channel 5 have joined forces in a ground breaking deal combining their buying power to acquire a package of blockbuster films from Twentieth Century-Fox worth more than pounds 26m.

The BBC and Channel 5 have joined forces in a ground breaking deal

combining their buying power to acquire a package of blockbuster films

from Twentieth Century-Fox worth more than pounds 26m.

It is the first time the BBC has bought in major films with a rival

commercial terrestrial channel, and will mean Channel 5 will be able to

screen the terrestrial premiere of Independence Day, one of the six

biggest box office films of all time.

The Fox deal covers a total of 68 films, with 37 titles exclusive to

Channel 5 and 22 to the BBC.

Nine films will be shared between the broadcasters, with Channel 5

gaining first viewing rights over the BBC to five, including

Independence Day and Speed. The BBC will have first terrestrial

broadcast rights to the remaining four, including Braveheart, Courage

Under Fire and Broken Arrow.

The films will then flip channels for their second screening.

It is a move which signals further erosion of the traditional barriers

between commercial and public service television to compete in the

global TV market.

A source at Channel 5 said the deal is significant because: ‘It’s

important in its implications in what we intend to do with the Channel 5

brand. We will look for the opportunity to back the channel with other

film deals. There will be more to come.’

The coup will encourage advertisers who are looking to invest in the new


David Elstein, who left Sky in September to join Channel 5 as chief

executive, has indicated that big-name Hollywood films are crucial to

driving audiences for Channel 5, as he proved with Sky’s schedule.

Channel 5’s decision to tie up with the BBC in the Fox deal will dent

speculation that it would use complementary scheduling with ITV or

Channel 4 to try to take audience share from the BBC.

It is the second batch of Hollywood films Channel 5 has acquired. Last

month it announced it had bought 144 films from Columbia Tri-Star

costing pounds 6.4m, including Money Train and Basic Instinct.


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