Ascent Media and Discovery Communications have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent that will see ownership of a purpose-built playout facility in Chiswick Park transferred to Discovery.

Financial terms remain subject to final negotiations but a deal should be concluded by February 2010.

Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by both Ascent’s and Discovery’s Boards of Directors and negotiation of binding, definitive agreements.

The facility was built in 2005 by Ascent Media specifically for use by Discovery Networks Europe.. 

The deal will give Discovery full control over its distribution capabilities as it looks to launch new services.

John Honeycutt, the chief media technology officer at Discovery Communications said: “As Discovery continues to launch new networks and expand our global footprint, the company’s content distribution needs increase and a Discovery owned and operated broadcast facility increases our efficiency, scale and overall capabilities in this region.”

It has the capacity to deliver more than 60 television channels to the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Ascent has launched more than 50 channels on Discovery’s behalf.

Meanwhile, as part of the deal, Ascent’s role as Discovery’s technology services provider in Asia has been extended and the broadcaster will now participate in Ascent’s Global Media Exchange (GMX) as a content seller on a trial basis.