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Discovery finds free TV world via XXP

Company will form joint venture with Spiegel, DCTP

Paybox Discovery Communications is making the move into free-to-air TV by paying E45 million ($54 million) for a 98% stake in Teutonic web XXP.

Discovery will acquire the cable and satellite channel from Spiegel TV and Development Co. for Television Programs (DCTP). The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

Discovery will form a joint-venture with Spiegel and DCTP, with Discovery managing the channel and the other two continuing to contribute programming.

Starting Feb. 1, Discovery will increase programming from four to 24 hours daily and revamp the channel to target a young, upscale male demographic.

“Our move into the free-to-air universe underscores Discovery Communications’ commitment to extend its valuable content across multiple media platforms,” said Dawn L. McCall, prexy of Discovery Networks Intl.

XXP is available to more than 20 million households in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, German-speaking Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the South Tyrol region of Italy.

Discovery offers its flagship Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Discovery Geschichte in Germany for a combined 6 million subscribers. Company also wants regulatory approval for Discovery HD in Germany and Austria.

Discovery offers 12 network brands in 104 countries, reaching 173 million subscribers.

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