German film giant Kinowelt has bought a 10% stake in satellite broadcast start-up B.TV Television.

The company is a sister operation to B.TV Baden and B.TV Wuerttemberg, which are successful local broadcasters in the Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW) region. It begins broadcast of the new channel on July 15 using the Astra satellite and cable head ends to achieve 100% coverage of BW households by the end of the year and some 28 million satellite subscribers in Europe. Expansion into other German Laender is expected next year and break even is expected in the fourth year.

The investment, which will cost Kinowelt only $3.9m (DM8m), is said to be Kinowelt's first direct involvement in broadcasting in Germany. Kinowelt will also supply film and TV programming and co-operate with B.TV Television on development of new channel formats.

Kinowelt previously saw its share price suffer as a result of flagging plans to launch its own broadcast operation which could impact on profits in 2001, but become profitable by 2003 (Screendaily, Mar 24). Earlier this month it bought a 10% stake in emerging video-on-demand player media[netCOM] which expects to move from a pilot system to commercial roll-out in early 2001 (Screendaily, June 13).