It has already sold over 2,000 hours of content in the region this year, in markets ranging from Estonia to Croatia, Czech Republic to Kazakhstan.
Commenting on the development, Salim Mukaddam, general manager and VP CEE, BBC Worldwide said, “The television market in Central and Eastern Europe is thriving. Broadcasters and platforms alike have a real appetitie for quality content that will cut through with local audiences. Our clients know they can rely on content from BBC Worldwide’s extensive catalogue to deliver both on quality and audience engagement, whether that be in formats or finished content. We are delighted that we’ve been able to close a great volume of deals with key partners in the region and we look forward to continuing to grow our presence in the region.”
The highlight of a range of format sales was a pan-regional deal with Central Media Enterprise Group (CME Group), which will see Dancing with the Stars available in five territories in Central Europe. Included as part of the deal is Pro TV in Romania and Pop TV in Slovenia, where the series has already proved to be popular.
In content sales, RTL in Croatia has struck a three-year deal which sees 320.5 hours of content in the first year alone, focusing on classic comedies such as Allo Allo, 2Point4 Children, and Yes Minister as well as drama and natural history programming. This long-term arrangement also sees Top Gear return to the schedules. Pickbox Croatia has also acquired 205 hours including the full back catalogue of Doctor Who, classic comedies and new dramas.
Major volume deals with Czech TV and Prima provide over 300 hours of new content to Czech viewers, comprising of children’s, drama, music and natural history, programming, including landmark documentary Planet Earth II. Slovak TV has also taken over 82 hours of mixed-package content.
BBC Worldwide’s relationship with Bulgarian National Television (BNT) has also been cemented with a new 101-hour deal with a raft of premium dramas as well as topical news programming. In addition, landmark natural history series Planet Earth II has been acquired.
In Russia, major deals have been completed with Sony Russia, seeing the return of Doctor Who to the territory, and Amedia has secured the first 4K acquisition in the country with UHD versions of Planet Earth II and The Hunt.
The first contract with the new Viacom channel Spike has also been signed for 75 hours of premium drama and Top Gear series 16-22. In addition, a new deal has been completed with TV Rain for BBC World Service to provide additional content to support a new BBC Russia news bulletin on the channel. A further deal will see War and Peace and Sherlock series 4 return to the country on Channel 1, in addition to drama The Collection and various music titles.
In Estonia, public broadcaster ETV has licensed all six series of Call the Midwife and science, lifestyle and natural history titles including upcoming landmark Blue Planet II in a 200.5-hour deal. Natural history and documentary titles have also proved popular in Lithuania where free-to-air channel LNK purchased 51 hours of content.
Digital is also playing a part in growth in Eastern Europe with volume deals including 149 hours of content in a pan-Baltics deal with Viaplay. Viaplay has signed up to take titles including 16 Top Gear specials and numerous scripted dramas – the first time the platform has taken drama for the region, including all series of Luther, Happy Valley and The Musketeers.
Meanwhile, UPC Hungary has signed up for 207 hours of content for SVOD including five series of Doctor Who.
In Latvia, numerous digital deals have been completed with platforms including Lattelecom for 92.5 hours of drama, childrens, lifestyle and natural hstory content. BBC Worldwide’s first-ever digital deal with LMT has also been signed for a mixed package of 73.5 hours, while public broadcaster LTV has licensed 50 hours of titles including the BAFTA award-winning Hey Duggee.