NBC Universal will launch 20 additional local television channels in 23 new countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America during 2007 and 2008 in a drive to boost revenues from its Global Networks Division.

Existing NBC Universal channels, including Sci-Fi, 13th Street and Universal Channel, will launch for the first time in new markets across Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia and India.

These channels will also be extended in the existing Global Networks territories of Western Europe and Latin America. Over the next two to three years, the company projects the strategy will more than double annual revenues in the Global Networks Division.

NBC Universal currently has 12 local versions of their entertainment channels in 35 countries, and the boost will increase the local channel count to 32 reaching 58 countries.

'We promised that international growth would be one of our key areas of focus and this first step underlines our determination to grow our business throughout the world,' NBC Universal president and chief executive Jeff Zucker, who earlier this year commissioned a channel expansion strategic review along with NBC Universal International president Peter Smith, said.

'We have set an ambitious growth plan for the company that will boost the international visibility of our television channels and other businesses, accelerating the global presence of NBC Universal as a whole,' Smith said.

New markets that will receive the channels include Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Russia and India.