Fox Buys into Real Estate TV

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Despite a slumping real estate market, Fox International Channels has acquired a controlling stake in U.K. based Real Estate TV, which is available as a linear TV channel and an online video service. No terms of the deal were released.

“We continue to look for both linear and online business that fit into our operations and could benefit from the global scale we have,” said Jason Thorp, managing director of Fox International Channels U.K.

While Real Estate TV, the U.K.’s most popular channel targeting real estate investors, has an extensive online presence and is available via satellite in parts of Western Europe, Thorp noted that FIC believes they have a great opportunities to expand the service’s international footprint on TV, online, mobile and other platforms.

Their immediate focus will be on further strengthening its presence in the U.K., said Real Estate TV managing director Mark Dodd, who will continue to run the service he helped found. The channel is currently carried on Sky Digital, Virgin and BT Vision in the U.K. and has an extensive online offering at www.realestatetv.tv.

FIC’s channel portfolio will help them better promote the offering and will provide them additional resources to expand their programming on a variety of platforms, Dodd said.

While the global real estate market continues to suffer and the U.K. government had to bailout mortgage lender Northern Rock in the fall of 2007, Dodd sees the current market difficulties as more of an opportunity than a liability.

“There has been a lot of turmoil in the market,” he said. “But this is in many ways an opportune moment to get the business into the best possible shape,” for further expansion.

“We’ve had two periods in the last 15 when housing prices have suffered in a way that they will in the upcoming year,” Dodd said. “In both cases property developers have spent more on media advertising their properties during a recession than they did when the properties were flying off the shelf.”

Over the next six months, FIC and Real Estate TV will also be looking at which markets they want to focus on for further international expansion on a variety of platforms, Thorp said.

“A key part of this deal is that it increases our ability to deliver our content in as many ways as possible,” Dodd said.

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