A&E Television Networks, LLC, doing business as A+E Networks, is an American broadcasting company that is a joint venture between Hearst Communications and Disney Media Networks, a unit 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.
Limited liability company
|Abbe Raven (Interim CEO)|
|Services||Broadcasting & Cable TV|
|Total equity||$20 billion (2013 est. value)|
|Owner||Hearst Communications (50%) |
Disney Media Networks (50%)
Arts and EntertainmentEdit
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, 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).
Formerly only direct sales, A&E Home Video initiated a six-month trial in which Barnes & Noble would sell the "Biography" line in stores and becoming 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 first 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.
Acquisition of Lifetime, further developmentsEdit
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. 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. In May 2011, A&E Television Networks changed its brand name to A+E Networks. A&E dropped TV as their brands had move 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 July 2013, A+E Networks bought out Astro Overseas's stake in AETN All Asia Networks and renamed it to A+E Networks Asia.
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.
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.
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 rebranded 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. 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.
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. In April 2018, A&E Originals signed a first-look deal with former Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson to host three documentaries.
On November 6, 2018, the European Commission approved Disney's proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, but ordered A&E Networks UK 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.
On April 27, 2019, A&E began warning viewers through commercials on their channels of a possible blackout of A&E Network, Lifetime, History and other channels across DirecTV platforms as the sides go down to the wire on carriage renewal negotiations. DirecTV and A+E Networks are facing a deadline of midnight ET Tuesday April 30, 2019 to strike a new deal that will keep A+E Networks channels on DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse."
- A+E Networks Consumer Products
- A&E Studios
- A&E IndieFilms, documentary feature film division
- A&E Films
- A&E Networks Digital
- A&E Group
- History Group
- Lifetime Entertainment Services
- Vice Media (10% stake)
|Launched||20 September 2016|
|Owned by||A&E Networks UK|
|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, 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".
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. By March 22, 2017, A+E Networks Italy was scheduled to launch its Blaze in 2017 on Sky Italy. In Spain, Blaze channel replaced A&E channel on 18 April 2018.
The channels' programming is a best of A&E shows. Some of initial programs were:
- Pawn Stars
- Mountain Men
- American Restoration 
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. 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.
- Sons of Liberty (Miniseries, 2015)
- UnREAL (TV series, 2015–18)
- You (TV series, 2018–)
- Project Blue Book (TV series, 2019)
- American Princess (TV series, TBA)
A+E Networks InternationalEdit
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.
- Blaze: Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom.
- Crime & Investigation: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom
- History: Arabia, Belgium (Flanders), Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
- H2: Arabia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom
- Lifetime: Ireland, Poland, South Africa, United Kingdom
A+E Networks Latin AmericaEdit
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 UKEdit
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. 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 GermanyEdit
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 FranceEdit
A+E Networks ItalyEdit
A+E Networks has launched History Channel in Italy on 31 July 2003 in joint-venture with Fox Italia. A&E has established a local office in 2013 and has launched Crime and Investigation on December 23. The joint-venture with Fox Italia has ended on 1 January 2014. In March 2017 A+E Italy had launched Blaze.
History Channel IberiaEdit
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 AsiaEdit
A+E Networks Asia is the Asian branch of A+E Networks International operating six channels and is headquartered in Singapore with an additional operation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their divisions include A+E Networks India.
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.
A+E Networks IndiaEdit
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 Home EntertainmentEdit
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.
- ESPN Inc., which has the same ownership partners as A+E Networks
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- Flornida South East Asian Network