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BBC and CBS Forge News Pact, Leaving ABC and Sky Out of the Picture

Variety logo Variety 7/13/2017 Stewart Clarke
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The BBC and CBS are joining forces on news and will share resources on both sides of the Atlantic in a deal that sees the British public broadcaster end its previous news deal with ABC while CBS ends its agreement with Sky.

The BBC and CBS said the partnership would span newsgathering and editorial output, and allow each partner to access video and reports from the other. The deal, between BBC News and CBS News, is effective immediately.

James Harding, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, was in New York this week visiting the CBS News team; the U.S. network’s news team is expected to visit the BBC operation in London soon.

For the BBC, the deal replaces a similar one it has had with ABC that was originally agreed in 1994. Speaking about the end of that agreement, Harding said: “We have worked side by side on some of the most significant stories of our time on both sides of the Atlantic, from the attack on the Twin Towers to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We wish ABC well and would like to thank them for many years of hard work and expertise.”

ABC News recently poached BBC News correspondent Ian Pannell for its London bureau. BBC News, meanwhile, is one of the biggest news operations in the world and claims a weekly audience of 346 million. The deal will allow CBS to beef up its international coverage, while the BBC will be able to give greater depth to its coverage of the U.S., especially during the Trump era.

“CBS News is completely committed to original reporting around the world – a commitment clearly shared by the BBC,” CBS News President David Rhodes said. “There’s no better partner to strengthen and extend our global coverage than BBC News. I look forward to working with James Harding as we increase the capabilities of both organizations.”

The CBS-BBC agreement comes weeks after NBC struck a European deal, buying into France-based Euronews.

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