Sky to launch international distribution arm

British pay TV broadcaster BSkyB is eyeing the launch of an in-house distribution arm as it looks to take advantage of its increased spending on original content.

The News Corp-backed company is currently exploring options as to whether to acquire an existing distributor or set up a new international sales operation from scratch.

A Sky source told TBI that such a move would help the company monetise its original content, which is largely produced by UK independent producers, and the additional cash would allow it to reinvest in future commissions.

Sky has significantly increased its spending on British comedy and drama, with plans to spend up to £600 million (US$927 million) on original content by 2014. This year it has launched new series including fireman drama The Smoke and Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth.

News Corp is the single largest shareholder in BSkyB, but it is understood that Sky setting up a sales arm would not affect Shine International, the distribution arm of Shine, the News Corp-owned production company.