Portuguese broadcaster SIC has closed a five-year deal with Brazilian media giant Globo which gives the two groups mutually exclusive rights to the other's product. As part of the deal, the two companies also plan to start co-producing feature films, made-for-TV movies and fiction series.

The first co-production in development is a 48-episode series based on the famous 19th century Portuguese novel Os Maias, set to shoot entirely in Portugal beginning this October.

The deal is also likely to result in the launch of new, jointly-produced channels for the Brazilian and Portuguese markets.

The agreement extends a transatlantic relationship between two of the Portuguese-speaking world's most important media groups. SIC and Globo are already partners in Premium, a company which provides four channels for Portuguese pay outlet TV Cabo. Globo and SIC both also produce other channels for TV Cabo.

While Globo's telenovelas and drama series have been a cornerstone to SIC's programming over the years, the new deal expands the kind of product SIC will have access to. It also opens the door for the Portuguese broadcaster to launch its own expanding product line into Brazil, and ultimately the rest of the Americas.

"We are trying to open as large a window as we can in Brazil, which is a huge market of 200 million people," said SIC deputy director of programming Manuel Fonseca. "If we reach another 10 million people in the next two or three years we will double our current market."

The new SIC-Globo deal will also encompass joint internet ventures. SIC signed an agreement in March to co-produce on-line content for Portugal with PT Multimedia.

SIC, which traditionally backs about 10 feature films per year in Portugal, entered feature film production itself last year with a slate of 10 state-backed made-for-TV movies. In May, SIC made its first move into international production and acquisitions when it bought a 10% stake in Spanish production start-up Morena Films.

Globo is Brazil's leading television company, boasting 60% of the pay TV market and an annual turnover last year of $1.1bn (real1.9bn). It also generates one of the country's fastest-growing internet portals.