Almost all the BBC Dramas and Comedies will shift to the new channel as Australian premieres, many which will be fast-tracked, and will only become available for Free to Air after 12 months.
But the ABC is unhappy it was not consulted on the new deal.
“In the past, the ABC has been able to point to our audience share, distinctive reach and the unique relationship between the two organisations, which has lasted 50 years,” an ABC spokesman said.
“The ABC is disappointed that this decision was taken without any consultation.
“The decision has no impact on the ABC’s ability to acquire content from other British production houses and television networks like ITV and Channel 4.”
ABC’s contract with BBC ends mid-2014, when the new Pay TV channel will launch. In addition to Drama and Comedy, other BBC lifestyle programmes will also appear on other Pay TV channels. Other genres are not affected.
ABC1 Channel Controller told TV Tonight, “We found out about the announcement on Tuesday, 24 hours before it was announced to the market. We are obviously very disappointed that our relationship appears to be coming to an end after nearly 50 years. We weren’t consulted by the BBC or invited to counter.
“Whilst it is disappointing news, we have a large local production slate of new and returning shows as well as other returning British hits (like Doctor Who, Grand Designs and Qi) that will continue to attract audience to ABC TV from 2014 and beyond. “
TV Tonight understands the deal also affects prevents ‘grandfathering’ arrangement for current titles remaining with broadcasters, such as subsequent seasons of New Tricks and Call the Midwife, except for a handful of shows. TEN has a deal for Ripper Street and the Seven retains Citizen Khan, which premieres tonight.
BBC believes viewers will still be able to access titles when many appear later on Free to Air, just as Nine’s Top Gear premieres first on BBC Knowledge. But industry sources tell TV Tonight that networks will be unlikely to want to pay for shows that viewers will have accessed elsewhere.
In 2009 when SBS lost Top Gear to Nine, then-managing director Shaun Brown said,“It is disappointing that a brand SBS has spent many years building is moving to a commercial network.”