Discovery Communications is expanding its presence in new Zeeland with the acquisition of two channels.

The broadcasting group announced it has acquired The Living Channel New Zealand Limited (TLCNZ), which operates pay TV channels The Living Channel and Food TV.

Discovery currently distributes two channels through the Sky TVplatform – Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

“Discovery has a proven track record of producing and investing in original factual and lifestyle programming that resonates globally” said Mandy Pattinson, EVP and general manager, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.

“Working closely with our partners at Sky TV, the acquisition of The Living Channel and Food TV will provide us with a great opportunity to continue offering viewers the programs they know and love, as well as original lifestyle and food programming never before seen by New Zealand audiences. We look forward to continuing to work alongside Sky TV on local New Zealand productions to ensure the channels remain uniquely Kiwi.”

The Living Channel is an inspirational, informative and entertaining lifestyle channel with programmes from home renovation, real estate, gardening and celebrity travel genres, and was founded in 2002. FoodTV spun off from The Living Channel in 2005, and satisfies the cravings of foodies with programmes from personalities such as Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein.

John Fellet, CEO, Sky TV, said: “The Sky team would firstly like to thank and congratulate Julie Christie on her creation of two popular niche channels that have found a loyal audience on Sky. With The Living Channel and Food TV becoming part of the Discovery Networks stable I know they will continue to offer great viewing with plenty of local shows that our New Zealand audience really enjoys.”

Julie Christie, founder of TLCNZ, said: “Television is a global business and we are pleased to hand over the reins to a global player like Discovery whose knowledge and access to content will ensure the channels can remain at the forefront of lifestyle television. Their commitment to keeping the channels ‘local’ ensures our viewers will still enjoy the content they love. We thank John Fellet and the team at SKY TV for a great partnership over the past 12 years and I personally look forward to working with Discovery on enhancing the channels in the near future.”