Germany's fast expanding Kinowelt group has made its first move into exhibition by acquiring a 50.1% stake in the Theile Hoyts Kinopolis group. It has also taken control of a ticketing service and clarified its plans for a move into broadcasting.
The THK joint venture, Germany's number five exhibition circuit, operates multiplexes in ten locations with a total of 86 screens and 20,700 seats. In 1989 it enjoyed ticket sales of 5.1 million and last year reported turnover of DM70m.
Kinowelt is buying a 50% stake in Ticket/S, a recently-formed holding company for a network of regional entertainment and travel ticketing agencies. Kinowelt's involvement is expected to propel Ticket/S into the film sector, where on-line ticketing and agency representation is currently small. Kinowelt also expects to provide Ticket/S with a solution to resale of tickets that are not collected and for the auctioning of tickets to the most sought after events.
Kinowelt this week said that it does not expect start-up costs of more than DM20m for its planned TV venture. This explanation was intended to reassure stockmarket investors who have feared a financial black hole and marked down Kinowelt's stock. Know-how will be imported from Canadian firm Alliance Atlantis, in which Kinowelt has a 20% stake.
The Koelmels said that their ideal is to launch five special interest pay-TV channels from 2004 when digital capacity in Germany is significantly expanded. But they said that they are also considering making an earlier start with a satellite-broadcast analogue channel.