Ever-expanding Kinowelt is understood to have struck a film sales deal with German music channel Onyx Television. The move could transform the sleepy station which rates third behind the reviving MTV Deutschland and home-grown music channel Viva, which recently floated on the Neuer Markt.
"Kinowelt is the ideal partner for us," said Onyx chief Michel Assouline. "In addition to our traditional music formats we will be able to deliver hit films and classics in prime time." The deal is understood to involve Kinowelt delivering 500 hours of programming per year. Another Onyx spokesman said: "Kinowelt will put on our disposal European movies in 2000 and, from 2001, also American and international movies."
Kinowelt, which has so far declined comment, may see the deal as a partial solution to its problems in the TV sector. Having bought a large number of film rights, notably to the Warner catalogue, it has so far found itself unable to achieve top prices through sales to the major free TV channels. It has also come under fire from investors since it unveiled plans earlier this year to launch its own channels. A deal with Onyx could bring it revenues, rather than costs, while its key role in Onyx's transformation could eventually bring it equity.
There is also a precedent. In June, Kinowelt bought a 10% stake in nascent video-on-demand outfit media[netCOM] after several months of co-operation on content (Screendaily, June 23). Earlier this year Kinowelt was understood to be interested in buying into Herbert Kloiber's TM3 channel and it took its first stake in an operational broadcaster when it paid $3.9m (DM8m) for 10% of B.TV Television, a sister operation to Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW) regional channels B.TV Baden and B.TV Wuerttemberg (Screendaily, June 28).
Onyx is owned by Capital Media Group, a France-US-UK media investment group which is majority controlled by France's Groupe AB.