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BBC, Discovery extend alliance

10-year deal follows five-year agreement

LONDON — BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, and Discovery Communications have inked a 10-year extension to their global partnership.

The deal takes the partnership to 2012 and comes in the final year of the original five-year agreement.

Like the first deal, the extension covers co-productions, joint venture TV channels, and developing and distributing BBC America, the U.S. channel wholly-owned by the BBC.

Past programming successes have included “Walking With Dinosaurs,” “Walking With Beasts” and “The Blue Planet.”

Joint venture channel Animal Planet, launched in 1996, is now in 130 million homes around the world, and premium service People+Arts (1997) has 12.2 million subscribers in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets.

Meanwhile, BBC America – which airs primarily BBC programming but also some shows from Channel 4 and ITV – is in 26 million U.S. households, and is projected to be in 30 million by the end of next year.

BBC director general Greg Dyke said: “When this partnership was formed, the BBC aimed to be part of the greatest force in factual broadcasting globally. This is a powerful service we will continue to build over the next ten years.”

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