BBC Worldwide Channels announced plans today to launch a portfolio of BBC-branded thematic channels into Scandinavia.
The channels will be available through Canal Digital, the largest pay TV operator in the Nordic region, from early December 2008.
BBC HD will make its European debut together with standard definition channels, BBC Knowledge, a brand new channel for the Nordic region.
Existing channels in the market, BBC Food and the general entertainment channel BBC Prime will be refreshed and rebranded as BBC Lifestyle and BBC Entertainment.
The four channels will be scheduled and tailored specifically for each country in the Nordic market and will broadcast with local subtitling.
The channels will provide a BBC-branded home for award-winning and high-quality programming, and will build on the popularity and appetite for BBC content in the region.
Darren Childs, Managing Director, BBC Worldwide Channels, said: "Today's announcement is another significant step in our ambition to extend the BBC-branded channels business around the world. Scandinavia is an important region for us and we have committed a significant investment in the territory for the future through the launch of these dedicated channel feeds."
Dean Possenniskie, General Manager and SVP EMEA, BBC Worldwide Channels, adds: "Our plan to roll out these channels across Scandinavia follows eight other successful channel launches in EMEA this year.
"Scandinavia has always been a priority market for us with local audiences here clearly identifying with the BBC brand and already enjoying the quality programming that the BBC has to offer. I am also delighted that our partnership with Canal Digital will allow us to broadcast BBC HD for the first time in Europe."
He continues: "Scandinavia is one of the most advanced television markets in Europe and the fact that we have an agreement with Canal Digital to add three SD channels to their offering is testament to the quality and potential of our channels business."
Christian Albech, CEO in Telenor Broadcast Holding said: "Canal Digital has been in the forefront of introducing HD in Nordic countries. As the leading TV-distributor in the region we are pleased to be the first to offer BBC HD to our subscribers.
"BBC sets the standard for quality programming, and with the new channel BBC HD, this attractive content will now be offered in the best quality available."
"BBC and Canal Digital have a solid relationship as partners in the Nordic region. With the launch of BBC Worldwide’s re-branded portfolio of BBC HD, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and BBC Knowledge we continue to strengthen this relationship."
The BBC channels:
BBC Entertainment showcases the very best comedy, drama and light entertainment programming from the BBC and other UK production houses. The channel launched first to critical acclaim in Asia in October 2006, and most recently this year in Latin America and Africa. BBC Entertainment will replace BBC Prime.
BBC Lifestyle is an inimitable destination offering inspiration for home, family and life. The channel dishes up six tasty strands to entertain engage and inspire viewers.
Favourite cookery series, once on BBC Food, will now be shown in the Food strand. Serving up the best food and cookery shows with world-famous chefs, it promises enticing gastronomic journeys around the world.
The other Lifestyle strands include: Home & Design, offering expert advice and design knowledge to help viewers transform houses into perfect homes; Fashion & Style, bringing honest, practical advice and fashion tips from some of the world's top style gurus; Health, helping to improve diet and nutrition with expert advice; Parenting, providing child psychologists and advisors to help with busy or stressful family life; Personal Development, helping enrich mental wellbeing and achieve inspiration in all aspects of life. BBC Lifestyle will replace BBC Food.
BBC Knowledge showcases the best of the BBC's award-winning factual and non-fiction entertainment programming, the channel provides five key strands enabling simple appointment viewing: The World delves into new cultures around the world; Science & Technology looks at new frontiers, from space to motoring; People explores aspects of the human body and mind; The Past brings historical events, places and people back to life; Business offers advice on how to stay on top of today's challenging business world.
BBC HD offers the best international High Definition content with a line-up of multi award-winning productions from a broad range of programming genres. With unbeatable picture and sound quality, BBC HD is the true home-cinema experience, where clarity and precision are at the forefront presenting perfected television.
The roll out of BBC Worldwide's channel portfolio in Latin America and Africa earlier this year, in addition to recent launches in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and Poland, means that the business now has channels in every inhabited continent in the world.
Amy Castle-Young / Louise Loffel