UK satcaster BSkyB has acquired Parthenon Media as it attempts to establish a distribution arm for its original content.
Sky has invested £450m (US$705m) in original British content this year and aims to increase that to £600m a year by 2014.
It is now looking to sell the international rights to these titles abroad and has bought UK- and Munich-based Parthenon to establish an in-house distribution arm for its content.
The current Parthenon team, led by founder and CEO Carl Hall, will lead the operation, reporting to Sky’s MD of entertainment, news and broadcast operations Sophie Turner Laing.
Turner Laing said: “As we continue to increase investment in UK production, this is a natural step in the evolution of Sky’s content business.
“We are producing world-class television – innovative, creatively ambitious and, in many cases, on an epic scale. It’s only right that we match this with world-class aspirations for how we take this content to as wide an international audience as possible.”
Speculation has been rife for some time that Sky was eyeing up distribution companies, having invested so heavily in original content over the past 18 months.
Sky’s commissioning team, led by director of entertainment channels Stuart Murphy, recently ordered a raft of new drama and factual content, including eight-part fiction series The Smoke from Skins writer Lucy Kirkwood, and launched a new series featuring Steve Coogan’s former BBC comedy character Alan Partridge.
Hall added: “This will open new and exciting opportunities for international producers looking to benefit from the support of one of the UK’s largest investors in original content and a global leader in the provision of world-class television.”