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UKTV agrees on-demand, channels deal with BT Vision

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The cast of Tool Academy

© Channel 4

UKTV, the BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks-owned broadcaster, has today announced a major deal with BT Vision to offer TV channels and video on-demand content on the IPTV platform.

Under the three-year agreement, BT's around 640,000 television customers will be able to access video on-demand content from UKTV channels on a subscription or pay-per-view basis.

The on-demand service brings content from Really, Eden, Good Food and Home, including James Martin's Mediterranean, Choccywoccydoodah, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Celebrity Fantasy Homes, Tool Academy, Bridezillas, Amazing Planet and Life on Fire.

Later in the year, UKTV will also start streaming its linear channels to BT Vision set top boxes, starting with entertainment network Watch, comedy channel Gold and drama network Alibi. UKTV intends to offer further channels, including Good Food, Eden and Home, on the platform in future.

This marks UKTV's first ever deal with an IPTV platform, and follows the broadcaster's wide-ranging agreement with Sky last year for video on-demand and HD channels on satellite.

Darren Childs, the former BBC Worldwide executive who is now UKTV's chief executive, said: "I'm delighted that BT Vision subscribers will soon benefit from the launch of our branded channels, meaning great UKTV programming is available anytime and on-demand.

"UKTV has a unique group of popular and highly impactful brands spanning entertainment, lifestyle and factual and this deal is recognition of the breadth and appeal of that portfolio to British television viewers.

"As a network, we had our highest performing year on record in 2011, and we are absolutely committed to extending the reach of our network."

BT Vision chief executive Marc Watson added: "We are delighted to be able to welcome the wealth of programmes that UKTV has to offer on to BT Vision, for both on-demand and in the future, linear TV. This is great news for BT Vision customers.

"It is the first content deal we are announcing which includes linear TV - watch out for more exciting linear deals that are on the way."

Virgin Media sold its 50% stake in UKTV last year to US broadcaster Scripps Network Interactive. The pay-TV operator claimed its highest ever rating year in 2011, pulling in an average UK share of 4% for its channel portfolio over the 12 months.

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