BBC signs TV film deal with Spielberg deal hailed as TV coup

BBC Television claimed a broadcasting coup yesterday after signing a five-year deal to show all Steven Spielberg's new feature films.

The multi-million pound deal gives the BBC rights to all the live action and animated feature films to be produced by DreamWorks, the new "dream team" multimedia company formed by Spielberg, former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, who brings experience of animated features such as The Lion King, and music mogul David Geffen.

It means the 40 films the studio is expected to make in the next five years will get their network premieres on BBC1.

No figures were disclosed, but the price for each film will depend on its British box office success.

The films will be shown by the BBC between two and three years after cinema release - and also after they are out on video and become available to satellite television.

DreamWorks was formed earlier this year and lost no time in forging important deals, including a link with Microsoft to produce computer games and signing George Michael to its recording arm.

Spielberg is one of the biggest directing and producing successes of the last two decades, with films including Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple and the Indiana Jones series, as well as the Oscar-winning Holocaust epic, Schindler's List.

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