Expanding a long-term relationship, BBC Worldwide and Chilean pubcaster Television Nacional de Chile (TVN) have inked a pioneering deal for the Latin American free-to-air TV market to launch a programming slot on TVN dedicated to premium content from BBC’s new brand BBC Earth.

Starting in August, the two-year pact will allow TVN to broadcast 72 hours of BBC Earth’s high-profile programming, mainly natural life and science documentaries.

For TVN, which operates in Chile under a self-financing competitive business model that puts special emphasis on cultural programming, this commitment represents “an important step for the dissemination of cross-media content with the potential to fulfill an educational and cultural role in the formation of audiences,” according to Carmen Gloria Lopez, TVN executive director.

BBC Earth branded content will plow fertile ground. The latest amendment to Chile’s free-to-air TV cultural programming regulations, effective from October 2014, requires broadcasters to air four hours of cultural programming a week, two in primetime.

This obligation is amply fulfilled by TVN, per Isabel Rodriguez, TVN executive producer for foreign programming.

“In 2014, Chile’s regulatory agency, the Consejo Nacional de Television, accepted 284 hours of TVN broadcasts as cultural programming, placing TVN as the top Chilean broadcaster,” she said.

Under the deal, BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of British TV giant BBC, allows TVN to use exclusive marketing materials to promote the BBC Earth-produced programming on TV, Internet and social networks.

Launched in 1969, the Chilean pubcaster’s close relationship with the BBC also includes the local production of BBC original formats such as docu-series “Great Britons,” adapted in Chile as “Grandes Chilenos de Nuestra Historia,” or “El Baile en TVN,” the Chilean version of BBC’s talent show “Strictly Come Dancing.”

Television Nacional de Chile operates free-to-air TV channel TVN, pay TV news service Canal 24 Horas and websites tvn.cl and 24horas.cl.