BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith has revealed that a joint venture deal between the BBC’s commercial arm and Channel 4 could be agreed in the next few weeks following the tabling of a new streamlined proposal that he claims has gained traction with both parties.
The two firms have recently been negotiating terms for the partnership, which Channel 4 hopes would address the �150m funding shortfall it is facing by 2012.
Smith has said that the venture would include various areas of the Channel 4 operation, including E4, More4 and Film4, as well as its online and advertising divisions as well as using its strong heritage in genres such as gardening, property and food.
In return, he said that Worldwide would be prepared to offer its “non-BBC branded UK television businesses”, including stakes in UKTV � including Gold and Dave � and 2entertain, alongside its core UK assets.
If agreed, both partners would have a 50% stake in the venture and each would receive a half share of the profits.
“We pitched to Channel 4 our proposal for a UK-only joint venture in November last year,” said Smith. “To be honest it was a bit frustrating [that a deal was not done]. A couple of weeks ago we pitched an amended, smaller proposal taking away the things that were sticking points”.
This is, at the moment only, a buisness venture and will not affect reception of channels, or channel availability.