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Channels 4, 5 team on ‘Gladiator’ buy

Pair also collaborated on Fox deal last year

LONDON — Two of Blighty’s minority webs have joined forces to share TV rights to “Gladiator” in a package acquired from Universal believed to be worth in excess of $10 million.

Channels 4 and 5, who are understood to have outbid pubcaster BBC, inked contracts some weeks ago but news of the deal has only just emerged.

Details of the sale are sketchy but industry sources confirmed that Channel 5 will have the first window on “Gladiator.”

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Since launching nearly four years ago, C5 has always given a high profile to feature films. Recently, its acquisitions budget has been increased because owner RTL is determined that C5 should move upmarket.

Channels 4 and 5 have made joint acquisitions before, last year picking up a library package from Fox, but the “Gladiator” deal is their biggest yet.

It is not clear whether C4 intends to show “Gladiator” on its main terrestrial network or provide the movie with a showcase on its pay TV spinoff, FilmFour.

The deal is the latest of several high-profile movie acquisitions by British broadcasters and satcasters, including BSkyB acquiring the rights to all four “Stars Wars” movies.

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