Beeb boards Via Digital

MADRID — Upcoming Spanish digital platform Via Digital has signed an agreement with European Channel Management (ECM) to broadcast the 24-hour news channel BBC World and its sister entertainment service BBC Prime.

A joint venture of the BBC, Pearson and Cox Communications, ECM is responsible for the European marketing of the two channels. The agreement, announced Thursday by Via Digital, is the first major foreign channel deal for Via outside of those services brought to it by shareholder Televisa.

Very solid shareholding

“We’re happy to work together with Via Digital, a Spanish company with a very solid shareholding and one that is very well positioned,” ECM CEO Markus Bicknall said.

This month Via Digital signed up four channels, including the Canal Hollywood movie rerun service, from Spain-based satellite channel operator Multicanal.

The BBC-Via Digital deal will add some spring to Via’s step as it preps its launch. Without any big package deals with U.S. majors, its acquisitions department reportedly is scouring for indie film product.

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