News in Brief

BBC Kids broadcasts with Bell
February 1, 2003

BBC Kids broadcasts with Bell

Prompted by customer demand, Canadian satellite provider Bell ExpressVu has penned a deal with Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting for carriage of BBC Kids. Already available in more than 250,000 homes in Canada through other distributors, BBC Kids is now being offered to Bell ExpressVu’s 1.2 million customers as part of its Fun Zone viewing package. The BBC-branded kids channel devotes 40 hours per week to commercial-free preschool fare, with Canada-exclusive programming taking up more than half of its weekly sked.

TV-Loonland strengthens its home entertainment ties in Britain

TV-Loonland has been steadily increasing its interest in DVD/video distributor Metrodome over the past year, despite the British company’s pre-tax losses of US$5.4 million in 2001. After upping its 29.9% stake to 54.18% late last year, TV-L now plans to boost its majority interest to 75.2%, paying as much as US$2.4 million for a maximum of 50 million new Metrodome shares (at five cents a piece). To complete the deal, Metrodome will have to raise the sum from an open share offering or cease trading.

Fox Kids Europe takes full control of Fox Kids Israel

Disney-owned Fox Kids Europe has gained 100% ownership of Fox Kids Israel Enterprises following its recent buy-out of Middle East Communication Holdings’ 49.5% stake in the company. The deal includes ownership and operation of the Fox Kids Israel pay-TV channel – distributed by all Israeli cable and DTH operators – and website, various rights to kid/family programming previously held by an MEC affiliate and all Israeli rights to the Fox Family Library. The total value of the agreement was US$20.5 million.

End in sight for Muppets sale mayhem

Drawing a long bout of speculation to a close, EM.TV has completed a letter of intent for the partial sale of The Jim Henson Company to an investment group led by former president of Disney/Touchstone Network Television and Animation Dean Valentine. Although no announcement had been made as of press time, both parties expected to complete the sale in January. Under terms of the tabled deal, Valentine’s group would purchase a 49.9% stake, with EM.TV retaining majority ownership of The Jim Henson Company and continuing to handle international distribution for Henson productions.

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