BBC First, New Australian Channel Premieres August
By Athena Yenko | May 26, 2014 5:28 PM EST
BBC Worldwide confirmed the premiere of its new Australian channel, BBC First on Aug 3 through TV platform Foxtel.
The premiere features 10 episodes of BBC's period series The Musketeers.
"We wanted to mark this exciting occasion with a very special line-up for viewers which gives them a real taste channel and delivers content to them in a way we know they like to enjoy it. We're pleased to offer viewers the opportunity to watch all ten episodes of The Musketeers back to back, as well as give audiences a glimpse of the quality and breadth of drama on the channel which encompasses epic series to intimate one-offs, featuring top talent both in front of and behind the camera," Natalie Edgar, director of television, BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand said in a statement.
"The addition of BBC First cements our commitment to providing Foxtel customers with first-run, high quality international drama. The BBC is world-renowned for producing premium programming that is loved by Australian audiences, and BBC First delivers scripted drama with award-winning actors and compelling stories across varying genres such as comedy, thriller and historical," Brian Walsh, Foxtel director of television said.
It was in April of 2013 that BBC Worldwide and Foxtel announced the new Australian Channel.
"In a significant new multi-platform deal, BBC Worldwide is to launch a premium BBC channel on Foxtel, offering premiere British drama and comedy, ad-break free and as close to UK transmission as possible.
This is an important step in the BBC's global strategy to build its brand in markets outside the UK. The Foxtel platform offers an ideal opportunity for the BBC to create a direct relationship with Australian audiences," the companies said in a joint statement.
ABC, which had been airing BBC's hit series Doctor Who, told Mumbrella that it was "flabbergasted" about BBC's decision.
"We were pretty flabbergasted. We only found out yesterday and we had been asking them for a while to sit down to talk about a new deal, so we were pretty shocked. It looks like they are basing this deal on the model that they use when they negotiated in the United States with BBC America, but they have 80 per cent paid TV penetration in the US, and we have only 30 per cent here, so they are already losing the majority share based on the fact that most people can't access it," the spokeswoman said.
"There have been previous attempts by commercial media to outbid the ABC for BBC programming aired in Australia. In the past, the ABC has been able to point to our audience share, distinctive reach and the unique relationship between the two organisations which has lasted 50 years," she added.
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