EM.TV & Merchandising purchased a 45% stake in German movie distributor Tele-Mönchen for about US$400 million, and has increased its share in toyco Igel Spielzeug by 15% (from 50% to 65%). EM.TV also sold 1,400 half hours of children’s programming to Swiss broadcasters SF and TV3. SF has signed on for 1,000 half hours over the next three years, and TV3 takes on 400 half hours as well as 20 feature films. EM.TV will issue about 11 million new shares in its planned capital increase. The shares will go on a non-rights basis on November 8 and will start to trade a day later. At MIPCOM Jr., speculation was rampant that EM.TV is looking to acquire kids prodcos/distribcos.
Private Swiss channel TV3 will be carrying a block of Disney kids programs starting in 2000, which was previously owned by the Swiss public broadcasters. The exclusive Disney weekend block deal was made in conjunction with TV3′s deal with CNN for its international news feed into the channel.
TV Time in Taiwan and Optus Television in Australia have signed on Animal Planet. The family entertainment channel premiered in Australia on October 1 and will be launched in Taiwan in mid-November. As Animal Planet expands internationally, it has over 70 million subscribers and is expected to add another 200,000 subscribers with Optus Television. It’s predicted that the channel will have two to three million subscribers in Taiwan by Q2 2000.
St. Louis-based World Events Productions, the prodco/distribco of animated series including Voltron: The Third Dimension, has agreed in principle to team up with North Hollywood-based animation co Calico Entertainment, whose credits include Muppets from Space for Henson Pictures, to form Calico World Entertainment in North Hollywood.