Limited liability company
|Services||Broadcasting & Cable TV|
|Total equity||$20 billion (2013 est. value)|
|Owners||Hearst Communications (50%)|
Disney Media Networks (50%)
A&E Television Networks, LLC, d/b/a A+E Networks, is an American broadcasting company that is a joint venture between Hearst Communications and Disney Media Networks, a business segment of The Walt Disney Company. The company owns several non-fiction and entertainment-based television brands, including its namesake A&E, History, Lifetime, FYI, and their associated sister channels, and holds stakes in or licenses their international branches.
A&E was formed from the merger of the Alpha Repertory Television Service and the Entertainment Channel, a premium cable channel, in 1984 with their respective owners keeping stakes in the new company. Thus A&E's shareholders were Hearst and ABC (from ARTS) and Radio City Music Hall (Rockefeller Group) and RCA, then the parent of NBC (from Entertainment Channel). The company launched Arts & Entertainment Network, a cultural cable channel, on February 1, 1984.
In 1990, after having aired episodes of its original 1960's version starting in 1987, A&E acquired rights to, and started producing new episodes of, the documentary series Biography— which became the channel's flagship program. The network also introduced its own companion magazine A&E Monthly.
The company indicated that plans for a history channel were in the works in 1993; it purchased the Lou Reda Productions documentary library and long-term rights for the Hearst Entertainment documentaries archive. In June 1993, the Rockefeller Group's Radio City Music Hall sold its 12.5% stake in A&E to the other three partners (now including NBC in place of RCA after GE's purchase of the latter in 1986) with NBC owning 25% and the other two 37.5% each. Also that month, a new production unit was set up.
The A&E channel expanded to Canada, and later Mexico from 1993 to 1994. Biography began airing 5 nights a week in 1994. Also in 1994, A&E, on its 10th anniversary, changed its name from Arts and Entertainment to A&E.
The A&E company launched The History Channel on January 1, 1995, with its UK counterpart following on November 1 in partnership with British Sky Broadcasting. A&E Networks considered History to be the driver in international expansion due to lack of international rights to A&E international co-productions. As expected, the History Channel led A&E's overseas expansion in Brazil with TVA (April 1996), the Nordic and Baltic regions with Modern Times Group (1997) and in Canada (1997). By 1997, the company had started its AETN International division.
Formerly only direct sales, A&E Home Video initiated a six-month trial in which Barnes & Noble would sell the "Biography" line in stores, which became permanent in 1996. THC debuted in two other media in September 1996 with a radio program on ABC Radio Networks and Border Books stocking THC videos.
The 'Biography' franchise continued to expand with a website in July 1996, a children's version launched in fall 1996, an audio tape line in 1997, telefilm development, a Crown published short biography line and debuted its magazine which replaced A&E Monthly. During the 1998–1999 season, Biography: American Justice and Biography Movies debuted.
History expanded in 1998 into tours of U.S. landmarks with Mayflower Tours having an affiliated website (historytravel.com), History Channel Traveler, and a planned quarterly magazine. While in October, History and MSG Network teamed up to produce several short-form sports history programs.
A+E spun out its two digital cable channels in November 1998 with The Biography Channel and History Channel International from A&E and the History Channel. A&E was spending $10 million per year to convert to the digital format and for digital distribution.
In August 2009, A&E Networks acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services, which at the time was jointly owned by Disney and Hearst, each with 50% ownership. Following the deal, Disney and Hearst each held approximately 42% of the combined company, while NBC Universal retained approximately 16%. The deal included mechanisms by which NBCU could choose, or alternatively be forced to, exit the partnership over the subsequent 15 years. In May 2011, A&E Television Networks changed its brand name to A+E Networks. A&E dropped TV as their brands had moved beyond just the TV channel, while keeping Networks being contemporary to similar companies.
In July 2012, NBC confirmed plans to divest its 15.8% stake in A&E Networks by way of a share repurchase by A&E Networks, making Disney and Hearst 50-50 partners in the joint venture. In August 2012, A&E announced that Lionsgate Home Entertainment had acquired the home video distribution rights to its content, replacing New Video.
With an early June 2013 promotion to A&E Networks CEO, Nancy Dubuc launched a new in-house production unit, A&E Studios, and hired veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett to serve as the president of Biography Channel and LMN.
In December 2013, in response to stagnating viewership in comparison to its sister networks, it was announced that the Biography Channel would be re-launched as FYI, a lifestyle-oriented network, in 2014. The channel's new president, Jana Bennett, had previously overseen TLC's early-2000's transition into a mainstream lifestyle channel.
In August 2014, A&E took a 10% stake in Vice Media for $250 million. The company then announced in April 2015 that H2 would be re-branded into a Vice channel with an indicated early 2016 launch. Director Spike Jonze, Vice's creative director, is overseeing the development of the new 24-hour channel. Disney also made a direct investment in Vice Media with two $200 investments in November 2015 then a week later in December for about a direct 10% to assist in funding programming. In May 2016, the company signed an international distribution deal with Pulse Films, and its East Entertainment formats and entertainment company.
A&E Networks took an equity stake at the March 2015 formation of an independent TV production company, Propagate Content, run and owned by CEO Howard T. Owens and chief creative officer David McKillop, former A&E channel general manager. The development team lead by Daniel Suratt had the company also investing in Epic Magazine, Samba and Panna food app-based content company in December 2015. Sean Cohan was promoted from head of international division to president of international and digital media in December 2015 as Suratt, head of digital media & business development, was promoted to president of corporate development, strategy and investments.
The company formed an in-house advertising agency, 45th & Dean, under executive vice president and general manager of FYI Network Paul Greenberg in May 2016. In February 2017, A&E's in-house ad agency, 45th and Dean, was planning on developing new shows for Snapchat's Discover platform.
The Digital Media division launched its first direct to consumer streaming service, Lifetime Movie Club, in September 2015. Then in February 2016, the division launched another service, History Vault, followed by its Canadian version in November with Corus. Both have content at least a year off their respective channels. Club offers a rotating group of 40 films from the Lifetime library, while Vault has 400 documentaries at any one time.
In March 2017, the company invested in a Series A funding round for Beautycon. A&E led a Series A funding round for Atlas Obscura in mid-2017. AETN in November 2017 took a substantial minority stake in Dan Abrams’s LawNewz Network live court content website, which then renamed its website to Law&Crime Network.
In a 2017 agreement, A&E Networks took a 25 share in National Women's Soccer League, created NWSL Media (the league's commercial unit), sleeve sponsor and became its national broadcast partner for three years, carrying the game on Lifetime. In February 2019, A&E ended the pact early and returned its 25% equity in the league, while continuing Lifetime's sleeve sponsorship.
In the second quarter of 2017, A&E Networks relaunched the Biography franchise with a set of two-hour specials and a miniseries for three of its channels, A&E, History and Lifetime. The franchise's TV programming will be recurring multi-formatted and tie into important anniversaries, newly found information about notables and current news. The initial set has the commonality of being crime centered, with at least one future set would focus on notable women. A&E Networks held its first convention, Alien Con, October 28–30, 2016 in partnership with Cosmic Con as an extension of the History channel's Ancient Aliens TV series.
In March 2018, Dubuc resigned as CEO. A&E called back former CEO Abbe Raven to be interim CEO. Paul Buccieri was promoted from president of A&E Studios and A&E Networks Portfolio Group to A&E President in July 2018.
Buccieri formed the A+E Originals unit for unscripted series. This was followed by three first look deals with Leah Remini, Elizabeth Vargas and Gretchen Carlson. Vargas would serve as anchor of its A&E Investigates banner.
On November 6, 2018, the European Commission approved Disney's proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, but ordered A&E Networks International to divest certain factual television networks in the European Economic Area that overlap with the Fox assets being acquired, including Blaze, Crime & Investigation, History, H2, and Lifetime. A&E Networks launched its first OTT channel, Lively Place, through Wurl on Samsung TV Plus in December 2019.
A&E Networks sold several programs into the Latin American (DirecTV and Colombian broadcaster Plural TV) and US Hispanic (NBC Universo) markets in January 2019. This a part of attempt to offset declines in US basic cable business with sales to expanding markets like Latin America. A+E Networks agreed to a first-look development and production deal with Ozy Media in January 2020 for potential maker for A&E, History and Lifetime flagship cable channels.
In February 2020, the company started its A&E Crime Central streaming service. The service has from the company's major channel libraries some 900 crime series and specials available. A&E licensed some titles from A&E and History libraries in February 2020 to Peacock.
As the History channel marked its 25th anniversary, A&E is launching a number of live events including a three-day History Con in April 2020, traveling speaker series HistoryTalks and History podcast.
A&E Studios (stylized as A+E Studios) is the company's in house scripted production division.
A&E Networks formed the studio in June 2013 under president Bob DeBitetto. At MIPCOM in October 2014, International executive vice president Sean Cohan and DeBitetto launched A&E Studios International as a distribution and financing unit to distribution A&E Studios productions. With the October 2016 retirement of DeBitetto, Paul Buccieri took over his post as president of A+E Studios and A+E Networks Portfolio Group from the post of president of A&E Network and History.
Buccieri formed the A+E Originals unit for unscripted series placing Steve Ascher, Former History executive, in day-to-day charge as vice president in 2007. Soon there after in April 2018, A&E agreed to a third season for "Scientology and the Aftermath" documentary series and a first-look development deal with Leah Remini.
Also in April 2018, A&E Originals signed Elizabeth Vargas to a first-look and production deal. Vargas would serve as anchor of its A&E Investigates, its banner for new non-fiction prime time journalism programming. In April 2018, A&E Originals signed a first-look deal with former Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson to host three documentaries. Ascher was promoted to senior vice president, production and development of A+E Originals.
A+E Networks International is the international division of A+E Networks, which handles international operations outside the U.S., mostly through joint ventures. A&E is an associate member of: the Caribbean Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.
A+E Networks started AETN International by 1997 with A&E channel in Canada and Mexico and the History channel in the UK, Brazil, the Nordic and Baltic regions and in Canada. The History Channel UK was its first joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting. In 1997, A&E purchased a one-third stake in Mundo Olé.
AETN All Asia Networks was formed in April 2007 through a joint venture between A&E Television Networks and Malaysia's pay TV provider Astro Overseas Limited. AETN and Network 18 Group in August 2010 formed a joint venture (49/51%), AETN-18 India, which would first launch the History and Bio channels in India.
A&E International moved into France with a deal with Canal Plus Group for channel carriage in France on its CanalSat satellite platform in the second half of 2013 and A&E programs for Canal's D8 and D17 free-to-air channels. In July 2013, A+E Networks bought out Astro Overseas's stake in AETN All Asia Networks and renamed it to A+E Networks Asia. A&E Networks Italy was established in December 2013, launching the local version of Crime & Investigation, as well as buying out the Italian version of History from its local partner, Fox International Channels. A&E Networks UK launched the Blaze channel on 20 September 2016 as its first free-to-air channel.
Sean Cohan was promoted from head of international division to president of president, international and digital media, which add another division, digital media, for him to oversee in December 2015 as head of digital media & business development was promoted to president, corporate development, strategy and investments. In December 2016, the company appointed Patrick Vien and Edward Sabin as executive managing directors and co-heads of international reporting to Sean Cohan, A+E Networks’ president of international and digital media. Vien oversaw Europe, the Middle East and Africa operations and programming acquisitions, sales and strategy for all non-US channels. Operations in Latin America, Canada, Asia, Australia and New Zealand would be overseen by Sabin along with global operations team and A&E formation production. Sabin was promoted from managing director of the Americas and head of commercial operations, while Vien left a post at Pulse Film.
On September 20, 2016, A&E Networks UK launched Blaze, a new free-to-air channel carrying programming aimed towards adult males. In May 2017, the company extended its distribution deal with Sky for the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Austria market (A+E Networks U.K., A+E Networks Germany, A+E Networks Italy) channels. In October 2019, Twentieth Television executive Steve MacDonald was hired as president of its global content licensing and international division.
The international division began a push into production in the late 2010s. With Element 8, A&E produced Miss Scarlet and the Duke was sold in December 2019 to Masterpiece (US), Alibi channel(UK), CBC (Canada), Seven Network (Australia) and RTL (Germany). A+E Networks International agreed in November 2019 to globally distribute its first Spanish-language series, Hernán, by Spain’s Onza Entertainment and Dopamine, units of Grupo Salinas.
|Launched||20 September 2016|
|Owned by||A&E Networks|
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)|
|Audience share||0.21% (April 2017, BARB)|
|Timeshift service||Blaze +1|
Channel 80 (+1)
|Astra 2G||11081 H 22000 5/6|
|Virgin Media||Channel 216|
Blaze is a free-to-air television channel owned by A&E Networks UK, a joint venture between A&E Networks and Sky Group, while in Spain it is owned and run by History Channel Iberia joint venture. This channel allows UK A&E to use its programming for the complete "lifecycle". The channels' programming is a best of A&E shows Blaze was the first channel launched in the UK by A&E Networks that didn't borrow its name from one of the company's U.S. channels. The abbreviation "A&E" is commonly interpreted as emergency department in the UK, so the company decided not to use that brand for the channel.
In 2013, A&E Networks UK hired Heather Jones as general manager. Jones pushed having a free-to-air channel starting in her interview. Other US competitors have launched free-to-air channels in the UK with Turner Broadcasting's TruTV in August 2014, Viacom's Spike in April 2015 and Fox's YourTV on Freeview in October 2015. A&E Networks announced a free-to-air factual entertainment channel for the UK in the third quarter of the year. A&E Turkey had already launched its Lifetime as a free-to-air channel. The channel launched on 20 September 2016, and is the first free-to-air channel launched by A&E Networks UK on Sky and Freeview.
Having original only aired imported and rerun programming, Blaze commissioned its first original programme, Flipping Bangers, in 2017. It premiered on 6 April 2018 as a part of the Car Night programming block. A second season was later commissioned.
A+E Networks Latin America is a joint venture between A+E Networks International and Ole Communications.
In 1996, HBO Latin America Group and Venezuela's Olé Communications began a basic cable channel joint venture Mundo Olé in Mexico. The channel was launched in October 1996. In 1997, A&E purchased a one-third stake in Mundo Olé. With in a year, A&E was supplying 60% of the channel's shows. In 1998, Mundo began producing local Biography episodes. In 2000, the word Olé was dropped, causing Mundo Olé to become Mundo. The next year, Mundo was renamed to A&E Mundo but continued airing the Biography series. The channel was renamed once more as A&E in 2005. Back in 1992, History Latin America was launched as TVQuality. It continued to use that name until 2000, when it became The History Channel. From 2008, it is still History since then. In 2012, A&E Latin America opened an office in Brazil. The Biography Channel was launched in Latin America in 2007; however, when the US Bio. network became FYI in 2014, The Latin American network is now H2 since then. Lifetime Latin America was launched in July 2014 as a joint venture between A+E Networks Latin America and Sony Pictures Television with distribution by HBO Latin America Group. Now, A+E Networks Latin America and their subsidiaries continue to operate across Latin America.
A+E Networks UK is a joint venture between A&E Television Networks (UK) Ltd, in conjunction with BSkyB History Ltd, a unit of Sky owned by Comcast. A+E Networks UK continues to operate in Europe, as well as Africa. Their networks include Blaze (FTA), the European and African versions of Crime & Investigation, History, H2 and Lifetime. Most of the channels are available on BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin.
The History Channel UK began as a joint venture of A&E Networks (the company's first international JV) and British Sky Broadcasting to launch The History Channel UK on November 1, 1995, as a part-time channel broadcasting from 3 PM to 7 PM with plans to go full-time in 1996 or 1997 when its digital transponder was launched. The three original programs, "History Alive," "Our Century," and "Biography", were British hosted and tailored.
The joint venture expanded with the launching of Military History channel in July 2008. Soon thereafter, The History Channel was rebranded to History. Crime and Investigation and Bio launched in HD on Sky on 5 November 2008. The History Channel UK joint venture was renamed to AETN UK on July 2, 2009.
AETN UK joint venture, following the A&E post-Lifetime merger branding, was rebranded as A+E Networks UK on September 22, 2011. H2 channel was launched in the UK on May 4, 2013. A+E UK launched Lifetime for UK and Ireland market in November 2013. On September 20, 2016, A+E UK launched Blaze, its global free to air channel, in the British Isles, its first market, on Sky and Freeview.
A+E Networks UK with Netflix and Sky Vision Productions in April 2016 on I Am a Killer true crime 10-episode show for Crime + Investigation Network with a UK spring debut followed by Italy's and Poland's Crime + Investigation airing later in the year. Then the show would be available on Netflix. In February 2020, the company commissioned Lost Relics of the Knights Templar five part series from Fired Up Films of Belfast and Krempelwood of London and distributed by Entertainment One to aired in April 2020 on History in the U.K., Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium.
AETN UK launched two Subscription video on demand channels in May 2019 and June 2019, History Play and Crime+Investigation Play, respectively. The History channel is scheduled to be renamed Sky History in April 2020 to match the rebranded Sky History 2 and Sky's two new channels. Sky's two new channels, Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature, are also expected to launch in Spring 2020.
After a joint venture with NBCUniversal International from 2005 to 2017, the US parent company decided in June 2017 to take over 100 percent of its German spin-off based in Munich. A+E Networks Germany operates the two pay TV channels History and A&E in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol. The company also operated The Biography Channel Germany from 31 March 2007 until 22 September 2014 which was then replaced by A+E Germany.
A+E Networks had launched History Channel in Italy as joint-venture with Fox International Channels. A&E has established a local office in December 2013 and has launched Crime and Investigation on December 16. The joint-venture with Fox was planned for buy out in early 2014. In March 2017 A+E Italy had launched Blaze.
While, A&E Italy has been producing locally with some of them being picked up international, the company began producing or commissioning films with international potential being with its 2018 releases. The first of this group was Emanuela Orlandi/Vanished Special picked up by Sky in Italy, Germany’s ZDF and Belgian public television RTBF and produced by B&B Film.
The History Channel Iberia is a joint venture of A+E Networks and AMC Networks International Southern Europe, formerly Multicanal then Chellomedia Multicanal. Crime & Investigation Network was launched on 1 February 2011. A&E was replace by Blaze on 18 April 2018.
A+E Networks has launched Canal de Historia in Spain and Portugal in 1996 in joint-venture with Multicanal. In 2005 was launched The Biography channel (later Bio), which was replaced by A&E on 2 October 2014. On 1 February 2011 Crime & Investigation Network was launched in Spain. In Spain, Blaze channel replaced A&E channel on 18 April 2018.
A+E Networks Southeast Asia and Australia is the Southeast Asia and Australia branch of A+E Networks International operating six channels and is headquartered in Singapore with an additional operation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
AETN All Asia Networks (AAAN) was formed on April 2007 through a joint venture between A&E Television Networks and Malaysia's pay TV provider Astro Overseas Limited to serve in the Southeast Asian, Hong Kong and Taiwanese markets. History and Crime & Investigation Network were launched in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Brunei on June 15, 2007, with the History Channel only in Thailand. A December launch was expected for the Philippines. In 2008, AAAN planned to launch the Biography Channel.
In 2009, AETN Asia Networks struck a US$800,000 co-production deal with the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia to co-produce programs to be featured across its channels. It has recently hired SPE Networks as a regional ad sales representative across the South East Asian region.
With Alan Hodges leaving as managing director of Asia-Pacific, the unit was split into Southeast Asia & Australia and North Asia in May 2018. The managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia appointed was Leena Singarajah from Scripps Network.
Formerly known as AETN-18 India, a joint venture between Network 18 Group, A+E Networks India is the Indian branch of A+E Networks Asia that operates around South Asia (the region India belongs to).
A+E Networks North Asia is regional unit for A+E Networks International for Korea, Japan and China.
With Alan Hodges leaving as managing director of Asia-Pacific, the unit was split into Southeast Asia & Australia and North Asia in May 2018. The managing director for North Asia appointed was Saugato Banerjee.
A+E Networks Home Entertainment is the home entertainment division of A+E Networks. It creates and distributes content from A+E Networks' channels included A&E, Biography & History branded products. It also distributes content it has acquired the rights to including hit American television series, British comedies, cult TV and sports programming.