ZDF, AETN extend pact

Deal covers pair's documentary output

CANNES — One of the U.S. docu sectors’ “Big Three,” A&E Television Networks, has renewed its programming and co-production alliance with ZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm of Germany’s ZDF, one of the biggest pubcasters in Europe.

The deal still takes in ZDF acquisitions of AETN docus and co-productions, but it has been extended to include a new syndication representation deal.

Under this, ZDF will handle syndication rights for German-speaking Europe on AETN’s longest-running series on the history of technology, “Modern Marvels,” which includes more than 400 hours of programming.

AETN has been highly successful rolling out its channels — History, A&E and Bio — internationally. These usually play on basic satellite, cable or IPTV.

But syndication outside basic pay TV, such as on terrestrial broadcasters, is now key for growth, Sean Cohan, senior VP international, AETN said at Mip TV.

Given the escalating complexity of local TV distribution markets, with the emergence of DTT, VOD, IPTV and mobile TV, bringing on board a local powerful partner to handle syndication is extremely useful.

ZDF will continue its commitment to purchase product from AETN History’s library for its popular Sunday night ZDF History programming block.

In addition, AETN History and The Biography Channel will screen programming from ZDF, one of Europe’s biggest docu producers.

History in the U.S. and ZDF Enterprises also have committed to co-produce nine contemporary and ancient history programs by 2011 for broadcast on ZDF in Germany and Stateside.

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