British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest pay-television company, and Walt Disney Co. are starting a pay-TV channel on the broadcaster’s platform to screen new and old Disney films.
Sky Movies Disney, which begins airing March 28, will have first-run rights to the newest Disney films such as “Brave,” “Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” typically shown about six months after their cinema release, the two companies said in a statement today. Older Disney films, including titles such as “Finding Nemo,” “Cars” and “A Bug’s Life,” will also be available on the channels.
BSkyB spends 2.3 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) a year on content, which includes first-run rights from Hollywood film studios, and has been winning new customers with exclusive sports and entertainment broadcasts. The Isleworth, England-based company, which is about 40 percent owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., added 88,000 customers in the fiscal first half ended Dec. 31 by gaining subscribers for packages that combine TV, Internet and phone services.
Under the terms of the deal with Disney, BSkyB also has first-run rights to show movies from Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios, such as “Iron Man 3” and “Avengers Assemble,” across other Sky channels.
BSkyB shares fell 1.2 percent to 817 pence at 11 a.m. in London, paring their gain this year to 6.5 percent.
BSkyB is also exporting content as it seeks new viewers. Modern Times Group AB, based in Stockholm, said today it signed a deal with BSkyB to distribute the Sky Sports News HD channel on its Viasat satellite platforms. The service will be available to Nordic users at the end of the month and to Baltic users later this year.
The agreement also allows Modern Times to include Sky Sports content on its Nordic and Baltic TV channels, and its Viaplay online pay-TV service in Nordic countries.