Discovery Europe Licensed for 3DTV

Discovery Channel has received a licence from the UK communications regulator Ofcom for a potential 3D channel. The award of the Digital Television Programme Service (DTPS) licence to Discovery Communications Europe Limited is made in the July list of newly licensed television services.

A spokeswoman for Discovery Communications Europe confirmed that the broadcaster had been issued with a licence, but said there was nothing further to announce. Earlier this year, Discovery Communications, Sony and Imax announced plans to launch a 3D television network in the United States. A launch is scheduled for early 2011. The 24-hour network headed by Discovery executive VP and chief operating officer Tom Cosgrove will screen a mix of natural history, space, exploration, engineering, science and technology programmes.

Should a European launch be forthcoming it would be the first third party channel to join the Sky platform after its own Sky 3D, which was recently given a consumer launch date of October 1. In March Sky reopened in launch queue to 3D and HD broadcasters. 3D channels will be required to broadcast no fewer than six hours of non-repeating programmes during a seven-day period. This compares to 12 hours for other TV and radio channels listed in its EPG. Sky says the minimum may be increased as additional 3D content becomes available.

Growth of 10% in its US networks and 15% internationally helped Discovery Communications grow revenues by $98 million (€74m) to $963 million. Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization (OIBDA) grew 18% to $455 million.

By Julian Clover, Broadband TV News