announced three more deals with leading rights owners to widen the range of family entertainment available on its eagerly-awaited national next generation TV offering.
Building on last month's announcement of deals with three of the world's biggest entertainment companies, BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music Group, BT has swiftly added deals with documentary and factual powerhouse National Geographic Channel and with kids TV programming leaders HIT Entertainment and Nelvana.
National Geographic Channel is a world leader in factual television showcasing smart, innovative programming, spanning a wide range of topical subjects including science, technology, real-life investigation, history and wildlife.
HIT Entertainment is a world leader in pre-school entertainment and has smash hit programmes such as Bob the Builder and Pingu, which are included in BT's licensing deal.
Nelvana, part of the Corus Entertainment Group, is also a world-leading producer of children's entertainment. Their licensing deal with BT includes Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Max and Ruby, as well as Beyblade and Franklin.
BT promised to unveil even more big name deals this year, as it builds to a launch of the pioneering service in late summer or Autumn 2006.
Customers of the service will be able to choose from a huge range of on-demand film, music and television programming as well as a groundbreaking interactive and communications service, all available through their TV sets.
The service will be a world-first, combining access to digital terrestrial channels through the aerial with broadband-powered video on demand. This unique combination, delivered on a software platform powered by Microsoft and through a set top box made by leading manufacturer Philips, will allow customers choice, control and convenience. Unlike other services, there will be no mandatory monthly subscriptions.
Dan Marks, chief executive of TV Services, BT Retail, said: "We are building a fantastic entertainment offering for all the family by partnering with the best. Any service of this kind is only as good as the content it offers, which is why we have swiftly signed these significant entertainment deals.
"Significantly, our service will be offered nationwide and not restricted to metropolitan areas, and customers will not be required to commit to a monthly subscription."
George Jeffrey, managing director of National Geographic Channel, Europe, said: "We're excited by this deal and by BT's plans and look forward to providing National Geographic's excellent programming in an on demand environment to add to our successful full channel offering".
Marie Chappelow, vice president, Television Distribtion EMEA, HIT Entertainment, said: "This is a very exciting time for BT, and HIT Entertainment is delighted that selected properties such as Bob the Builder and Pingu will be part of their VOD launch."
Lynn Chadwick, vice president of European Sales and Distribution, Nelvana, said: "Nelvana has been actively investigating opportunities to distribute its content on emerging platforms over the past couple of years. Our new relationship with BT moves our current on-demand service partnerships beyond North America, and we are pleased that our award-winning content will find an additional home in the UK."