Netherlands-based cable operator UPC has confirmed that it has boarded a joint venture between Disney and Sony to launch a 24-hour premium movie channel for Belgium and the Netherlands (Screendaily, February 4).

Dubbed CineNova, the channel is scheduled to launch May 18 in the Netherlands and in Belgium in September. It will show both new and library titles from Disney and Sony's various production banners and will be distributed over UPC, Mediakabel and Casema cable systems. Films will either be dubbed or subtitled in Dutch.

UPC has a 10% stake in the venture, while Sony Pictures Entertainment and Buena Vista International both own 45% stakes.

Simon Oakes, managing director of UPCtv said: "The introduction of CineNova follows the launch last year of two other dedicated film channels by UPCtv which are proving to be extremely popular. This new channel will significantly expand our offering by including the very latest film releases from some of the world's best known studios and ensure the viewer has the very best product to choose from.

David Hulbert, president of Walt Disney Television International in Europe said: "It's all about delivering a flexible, top-quality commercial-free entertainment experience to viewers. CineNova will give each member of the family the opportunity to enjoy films from around the world around the clock."

Meanwhile, UPC and Scandinavian broadcaster SBS, with which UPC plans to merge, have launched the first two of their four planned thematic channels: a youth-orientated film channel and an archive-themed channel with broader demographic appeal.