In an interesting piece of development, US based broadcast distribution company GloboSat has struck a deal with Sahara One and Filmy for the UK/Europe market.

Why this news comes as a surprise to many is because it was announced earlier this year that ARY Digital was to distribute these channels in the UK and Europe.

However, there has been a question mark hanging over Sahara and ARY Digital’s ‘contract’ for the past few weeks. It is not clear if ARY has pulled out the deal completely and if it has then what reasons were behind it.

Speculation from industry insiders suggest the deal could have ‘collapsed’ due to a financial disagreement (the way the channels will be funded) between the two parties.

GloboSat is already distributing content for Sahara in North America. The broadcaster is tapering down to 76,000 households in the region in the DTH segment. In tie-ups such as this one, the broadcaster bears a 50-50% revenue-sharing agreement with the foreign partner, after bearing all investment costs.

Announcing the tie-up, Shantonu Aditya, CEO, SaharaOne Media and Entertainment Ltd, said, “The tie-up will help us cater to the needs of our overseas customers and continue to entertain our viewers through our entire gamut of serials and programmes. Despite the challenges in the US, Globosat has done a wonderful job there by helping us reach the No. 2 spot among the Indian channels.”

Speaking on the occasion, Sudhir Vaishnav, President and CEO, GloboSat, said, “With our state-of-the-art production and broadcast facilities in New York and Toronto we are able to create local content as per market needs. Our strategic partnerships with DTH, cable, broadband, IPTV, mobile and other platforms spanning across North and South America, Europe and the UK help our broadcast partners to build international presence faster.”

Elaborating on the tie-up with Sahara, he said, “The channels will have some local NRI content and will also carry localised advertisements. We will also tie up with some community events and programmes to increase the subscriber base of the channels.”

With the way things stand at the moment, the UK licenses of Sahara One and Filmy issued by media regulator Ofcom continue to list ARY Digital as the main contact for the channels. If GloboSat has taken over distribution of the two channels from ARY, this could soon be changed on the licenses.

ARY Digital was unavailable for comment at the time of filing this article.

GloboSat has not revealed a timeframe for the launch of Sahara One and Filmy in the UK. A 2006 launch looks unlikely. Sky۪s list of new channels waiting to launch on the EPG is all booked up until March/April 2007.