Discovery takes on London playout

By Julian Clover
December 23, 2009 09.04 UK

Discovery Channel is to take on the day-to-day operation of the London playout centre built for it five years ago by Ascent Media Group.The two companies have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent to transfer ownership of Ascent’s Chiswick Park facility from February 2010. Financial terms have not been finalised and the transaction still needs the approval of both boards.

“We designed and built the Discovery Networks Europe facility solely for Discovery’s purpose,” said Jose Royo, CEO, Ascent Media Group. “After providing comprehensive operational support for the last five years, now is the perfect time to turn over the operation to Discovery. We wish them great success with the facility.”

“Over the last several years, Discovery has valued Ascent’s partnership in creating a state-of-the-art operational facility that meets the current needs of our nearly 60 channel feeds and 17 unique brands across the UK and EMEA markets,” said John Honeycutt, chief media technology officer, Discovery Communications. “As Discovery continues to launch new networks and expand our global footprint, the company’s content distribution needs increase and a Discovery owned and operated broadcast facility increases our efficiency, scale and overall capabilities in this region.”

Since its construction in 2005, Discovery’s London-based facility has seen the launch of more than 50 channels, including those in HD and mobile 3G formats.