The service is one of channel operator A+E Networks’ core offerings in its domestic US market and the general entertainment service is now about to roll out in Europe.
In the US A&E is one of the leading general entertainment cable networks but its owner, A+E Networks, has not rolled it out extensively in international markets, preferring to focus on its largely factual services History, Bio and Crime & Investigation.
However, the channel operator has started rolling out its female-skewing Lifetime channel internationally and will now bring its A&E brand to Europe. To date it has launched in Latin America and Australia, but is not distributed in Europe.
The first roll out will be confirmed within weeks in Europe although the launch territory is not yet known. A+E Networks typically operates its channels via local joint ventures, such as A&E Olé Networks with Olé Communications in Latin America. In Australia A+E partners with Foxtel and the local JV launched the A&E channel last year.
In Europe A+E Networks UK is a JV with UK pay TV operator BSkyB, which recently launched the Lifetime service in the UK. That JV also runs A+E channels throughout the EMEA region.
A&E will be going up against a lot of competition in Europe but is likely to bring some of its high profile US series to the table. In the US the channel has smash hit reality series Duck Dynasty (pictured), which is on A+E’s History in some international territories, and the Storage Wars franchise. It also has some scripted shows including The Glades, Breakout Kings and Bates Motel.
The company recently launched an A+E Studios unit that will, under the stewardship of Bob DiBetetto, make original content, giving the channel operator greater flexibility in terms of rights ownership and international channel launches.
The official A&E launch announcement is expected within weeks.