BBC sporting deal

NTL pact opens up archive for repackaging

LONDON — The BBC has partnered with U.K. cable operator NTL to exploit the pubcaster’s vast sports programming archive in a deal set to run in excess of 10 years.

The agreement with Premium TV, NTL’s television subsid, is intended to unlock the potential of the Beeb’s library.

In the short term, PTV will both reorganize the archive and repackage footage for new products, such as “best of” videos.

The long-term goal is to develop programming strands. A BBC spokesperson said the pubcaster did not have the resources to handle the initiatives on its own.

BBC Worldwide, the pubcaster’s commercial arm, will continue in its role as an agent for selling sports footage to other broadcasters.

No figures were given, but the deal does guarantee an annual lump sum to the BBC. Both partners would only say the agreement’s total worth is “many millions of pounds.” Returns above the guarantee will be shared 50-50 between the BBC and NTL.

Unburying treasury

Geoffrey Hamilton-Fairley, chief exec of PTV, said the BBC possessed a “treasury of televised sports history. We invite program makers to work with us to deliver innovative and engaging material to audiences in any country and on any platform.”

PTV — set up two years ago — also has a deal with Newcastle United, including plans to set up a TV channel designated to the soccer club, and a deal with the pan-European channel Eurosport, essentially to localize the service for British viewers.

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