BSkyB signs PPV deals with New Line, P’gram

LONDON — British Sky Broadcasting has completed exclusive pay-per-view output deals with New Line and Polygram, sources say, and is close to a similar arrangement with Paramount, indicating further victories in its PPV battle with U.K. cable operators.

Polygram confirmed that its long-term deal was finalized six months ago, but is contingent on BSkyB also getting an unspecified number of exclusives with other companies.

The Paramount agreement, if concluded, will include an option for the studio to go non-exclusive, should it choose to, with a compensatory payment to the satcaster. A Paramount source in L.A. said the studio was, however, “still considering all its options in the U.K.”

The only officially announced PPV deals to date have been non-exclusive agreements between Warners and BSkyB, and between Warners and four cable operators led by Telewest, Britain’s second-largest cabler.

Although New Line is a Time Warner company, it acts independently in distribution.

Because Fox, like BSkyB, is a News Corp. company, it is assumed the studio has an exclusive PPV deal in place with BSkyB. Current speculation leans toward Columbia TriStar and Universal opting for non-exclusivity in the British market, and Disney inking exclusively with BSkyB.

Meanwhile, On Demand Management, the company repping the cable operators in their Hollywood negotiations, cast doubts on both the Paramount and New Line deals, suggesting the satcaster is leaking misinformation in order to conclude the exclusive PPV agreements it is seeking.

ODM believes there are currently only old pay TV output contracts between BSkyB and Paramount, Polygram and New Line, which do have some provisions for PPV output, but there is no finalized renegotiation.

However, the U.K.’s biggest cabler, Cable & Wireless Communications, has agreed — with the deal initialed at a chief exec level between BSkyB CEO Sam Chisholm and CWC CEO Graham Wallace — to carry BSkyB’s planned Sky Box Office PPV service when it launches next year (Daily Variety, Oct. 28).

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