AMC Networks Acquires a 49.9% Stake in BBC AMERICA, Creating a Joint Venture That Unites Two Leaders in Premium-Quality, Upscale Content
Agreement Includes AMC Networks’ Co-Investment in Future BBC Productions and Affiliate and Advertising Sales Representation of BBC World News
AMC Networks Inc. AMCX, -0.49% the global entertainment company behind acclaimed series The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and Rectify, and BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation announced a new long-term creative partnership bringing together two global brands that are behind some of the most-watched, most celebrated programming on television.
Under the terms of the partnership agreement, AMC Networks is investing $200M to acquire a 49.9% equity stake in the cable channel BBC AMERICA, home of hit drama series Doctor Who and Orphan Black. The agreement is structured as a long-term equity joint venture, with BBC Worldwide retaining 50.1%. AMC Networks will have operational control of BBC AMERICA, including affiliate and advertising sales, will run it consistent with BBC’s editorial standards and policies, and will consolidate the results of the joint venture in its financial statements.
Available in almost 80 million homes in the U.S., BBC AMERICA is celebrated for its award-winning programming, including the iconic Doctor Who, dramas Orphan Black, Luther and Broadchurch, Top Gear, the world’s most popular car show, as well as the BBC’s world-renowned landmark natural history series from the makers of Planet Earth. Its programs have been honoured with hundreds of awards including four Emmy® Awards, five Golden Globes® and 12 Peabody Awards. With more scripted originals than any other ad-supported cable channel, BBC AMERICA was the most critically acclaimed channel on ad-supported television in 2013 (source: Metacritic.com 2013).
BBC AMERICA will be managed as a standalone channel within the AMC Networks portfolio, which includes AMC, IFC, WE tv, and SundanceTV, as well as AMC Networks International, a collection of more than 60 channels distributed worldwide. The partnership builds on a history of close creative collaboration between the BBC and AMC Networks, which has already resulted in the award-winning drama series Top of the Lake, the acclaimed drama TheHonourable Woman and the upcoming One Child. As part of the agreement, AMC Networks and BBC Television have agreed to continue to jointly pursue a number of content investment opportunities on a range of future projects, both through BBC AMERICA and other AMC Networks channels.
Also included in the partnership is representation of BBC World News in U.S. distribution and domestic advertising sales. Available in over 30 million homes in the U.S., the channel is owned and editorially controlled by BBC Global News Ltd, has journalists in more countries than any other international news broadcaster and is the leader in global breaking news. BBC World News has received a host of honors including four Emmy® Awards and four Peabody Awards, reflecting its outstanding coverage of world affairs.
“The BBC is one of the most recognized, trusted and respected brands in the world and we are proud to partner with it to create a content offering unmatched in the industry. I have great respect for what Herb Scannell and his team have achieved over the past four years, elevating BBC AMERICA’s profile, performance and productions,” said Josh Sapan, AMC Networks President and CEO. “A combined AMC Networks-BBC AMERICA channel group creates a powerful collection of networks that are among the most critically-acclaimed, with distinct dramas and other potent content that creates a deep connection with viewers. Our content rises to the top on many levels and is particularly well-suited to an era of on-demand viewing and expanding consumer choice.”
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General and Chairman of BBC Worldwide, added: “The U.S. is an important market for the BBC’s commercial activities. This partnership brings together the whole BBC and will help us reach new audiences in the U.S., strengthen BBC AMERICA’s position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community. We’ve already worked successfully with AMC Networks on award-winning productions of Top of the Lake and the Honourable Woman and this partnership means we can produce even more top quality drama together. And I hope this is the beginning of us working together on other future projects too.”
Ed Carroll, AMC Networks COO, said: “Orphan Black and Doctor Who are just two examples of bold and original BBC AMERICA content that creates passionate viewers and fits well alongside AMC Networks shows such as Mad Men, Portlandia and Rectify.”
Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Worldwide and Director, Global, said: “AMC Networks is the ideal partner for BBC Worldwide. Like us, they are committed to the kind of high-quality, unmissable content that has already gained BBC AMERICA one of the most educated, affluent and tech savvy audiences in all of U.S. television, with a powerful social media following. BBC AMERICA is a unique and upscale asset, with eight straight years of ratings growth behind it. By creating a stronger force with shared creative sensibilities, this partnership secures the continuation of that growth into the future.”
Following completion, BBC Worldwide North America will continue as a wholly owned regional business within BBC Worldwide, focused on program and format sales and co-production relationships, scripted and unscripted production, consumer products, digital and live events.
Law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed is advising AMC in the transaction. The deal team is led by Kenneth Lefkowitz, co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Department.
Spain’s jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite
By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño
MADRID (Reuters) – The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Spain has lost more than 400,000 jobs, around two-thirds of them in the hospitality sector, which has struggled with limits on opening hours and capacity as well as an 80% slump in international tourism.
Jobless claims rose by 1.12% from a month earlier, or by 44,436 people to 4,008,789, Labour Ministry data showed, the fifth consecutive monthly increase in unemployment.
That number was 23.5% higher than in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic took hold in Spain.
“The rise in unemployment, caused by the third wave, is bad news, reflecting the structural flaws of the labour market that are accentuated by the pandemic,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz tweeted.
Restrictions vary sharply from region to region in Spain, with some shutting down all hospitality businesses, though Madrid has taken a particularly relaxed approach and kept bars and restaurants open.
A total of 30,211 positions were lost over the month, seasonally adjusted data from the Social Security Ministry showed. It was the first month more positions were closed than created since Spain emerged from its strict first-wave lockdown in May.
Still, the number of people supported by Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme across Spain fell by nearly 29,000 to 899,383 in February.
“These figures have remained more or less stable since September, indicating that the second and third waves of the pandemic have had a much smaller effect than the first in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.
Hotels, bars and restaurants and air travel are the sectors with the highest proportion of furloughed workers, it added.
Tourism dependent regions like the Canary and Balearic Islands have been particularly hard hit, with the workforce contracting by more than 6% since last February in both archipelagos.
The last time the number of jobless in Spain hit 4 million was in April 2016.
(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska, Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño, Editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan and Philippa Fletcher)
Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains
By Anuradha Nagaraj
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.
Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.
Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.
Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.
“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.
“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”
The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.
Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.
Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.
Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office
BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.
In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.
“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.
In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.
Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)
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