MGM has regained further control of its extensive film library by renegotiating a deal with Degeto, the rights trading associate of German public channel ARD. Titles returning to MGM include Raging Bull, Moonstruck and Midnight Cowboy, as well as some Rocky and Pink Panther pictures.

The new deal sees MGM able to relicense some 426 film titles into the German pay-TV market from this month and converts the Degeto arrangement into a non-exclusive one. In return Degeto gets one or two year extensions to its licences for another 344 films. Under a previous deal Degeto had exclusive rights to the entire catalogue until at least 2005 and to some films until 2008.

"Gaining access to our product in this important market affords us many new opportunities with other potential licensees in Germany," said James Griffiths, MGM president of world television distribution in a statement. German pay-TV may now be poised for expansion following last year's launch of Kirch's Premiere World digital platform.

Late last year MGM similarly unpicked a long-term library deal with Turner Broadcasting spanning some 800-plus features. This has enabled MGM to announce plans to launch a new family of thematic movie channels in the last quarter of the year.