Pair pact on digital channel Down Under

Aussie free-to-air web Network Ten has pacted with CBS Studios Intl. on a digital free-to-air channel Down Under.

Channel, which will launch next year with the name Eleven, will be two-thirds owned by Network Ten; the Eye will take a one-third stake. Ten has had a long-standing output agreement with CBS and, as part of the joint venture, this agreement has been extended.

“The joint venture will ensure long-term continuity of this prolific U.S. content pipeline, underpinning the sustainability of Eleven and also delivering continued supply of high-quality international programming for Ten,” Ten topper Grant Blackley said.

Eleven will be youth skewed like the main Network Ten channel and will bow with such skeins as “Supernatural,” “Dexter” and “Smallville”; Ten will also move popular “The Simpsons” from its main channel to Eleven.

Oz has seen a wealth of new free-to-air channels in the past year, under the Freeview banner, after the opening up of restrictive broadcast laws that limited the number of terrestrial channel licenses.

Since then all the webs have launched second channels; Network Ten has sports channel One, Seven has general entertainment channel 7TWO, and Nine has youth-skewed GO!. Seven was the first to launch a third channel last week with the male-targeted 7mate, but Eleven marks the first time an Aussie web has pacted with a U.S. studio.

The youth theme of the channel fits with Ten’s strategy, but it is also an attempt to combat GO!, which has eroded some of Ten’s youth aud. Nine has yet to announce what its third channel will be, but both movies and crime have been touted as possible themes.

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