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German private webs seek acceptance

BERLIN — Germany’s newest private webs, RTL2, the Kabelkanal, VOX and n-tv, are expecting — and hoping — they’ll be accepted as full members into the AGF on Sept. 10, when the organization’s board next meets.

The organization, managed by the pubcasters and more established private webs , oversees the financing and controls the official German TV ratings board, GfK. Only ARD and ZDF, along with SAT 1, RTL, Pro 7 and DSF, have so far had any say in how GfK operates.

RTL2 chief Gerhard Zeiler says he’s optimistic that in the future, “All important decisions will be made with the participation of all the stations affected” by how the GfK collects and interprets ratings data.

Dutch pix tix sales up 18%

AMSTERDAM Dutch cinema body Nederlands Federatie voor de Cinematografie (NFC) has reported an 18% rise in ticket sales in the first five months of 1993.

To the beginning of June, total cinema attendance topped 5.5 million, vs. 4.2 million in the corresponding period last year.

The NFC attributes the upswing to a “strong, steady supply” of commercial movies, citing “The Bodyguard”– which has drawn over a million Dutch visitors –“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and “Beauty and the Beast” as notable hits.

Given what they see as a strong Hollywood release slate for the rest of the year — including August’s “Sliver” and “Last Action Hero,” plus September’s “Jurassic Park” and Disney’s end-of-year “Aladdin”– cinema owners are confident of a vast improvement on the “disaster” of 1992, when recession was blamed for a 25% box office slide.

Veil out of action

AMSTERDAM Veil Interaktieve TV, which was to launch an interactive TV service in Holland in October, has admitted to acute financial problems, due to failure of a $ 13 million share issue.

Sources within the company say it has an operating deficit of “a few million guilders.” New fanancers among venture capital firms and “big companies” are being sought. The new partners would receive a large stake in Veil in exchange for a significant financial injection.

Chrysalis regroups

LONDON Chrysalis Group, the British music and media company, has pulled together its disparate TV and film-related businesses into a new Visual Entertainment Division.

Michael Pilsworth, formerly managing director of the TV production company SelecTV, has been appointed chief executive of the new division, reporting to the group’s chairman and majority shareholder, Chris Wright.

Chrysalis VED includes a TV production company that currently focuses on sports coverage; a TV facilities and outside broadcast business; a homevideo label; and a 50% stake in the increasingly successful film/TV drama producer Red Rooster.

Annual sales for these businesses currently stand at around $ 30 million, out of total group sales of $ 67 million.

Viva gets its license

BERLIN Nordrhein-Westfalen’s media regulatory bureau granted new music station Viva a license Aug. 25, subject to ratification Sept. 13.

The German MTV clone hopes to go on the air sometime in December with a format consisting of 30% German music.

Shareholders in the venture include Warner Music Germany, Sony, Polygram and Thorn EMI, each holding 24.75%, and Viva Medien GmbH, a group of indie producers with a 1% share.

This is the first instance in German TV of advertisers providing the backing for a new station. Startup capital is $ 65.5 million. Michael Oplesch, head of Hamburg production company Me, Myself & Eye, heads Viva.

Viva further plans to air magazine and info programming targeting youth auds. The head of the NRW media bureau said varied programming was a decisive factor in granting the license.

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