Bertelsmann joins two-way TV venture

BONN, Germany — Media company Bertelsmann announced a joint venture Friday aimed at developing a network that could deliver two-way television and other high-tech services to the home.

Bertelsmann, the world’s No. 2 media company, said it was teaming up with Deutsche Telekom, the state telecommunications company, and the KirchGroup, a Munich-based media group that owns stakes in television stations.

Agenda setting

The group said the new venture, Media Service GmbH, would distribute and manage “digital programs and telecommunications services.”

The group stressed in a statement that the new venture “will not act as broadcaster or provider of programming” and would be “open for all potential clients on a neutral basis.”

The Berlin-based Media Service “will restrict itself to technical, administrative and distribution services.”

Bertelsmann’s diverse holdings include the RCA Record Label and stakes in the Cologne-based RTL television network and the Premiere pay-per-view television network.

Cable connection

Among Telekom’s operations is a cable television network that is connected with 14 million households.

KirchGroup has stakes in German television channel SAT1, the sports channel DSF and Premiere.

The announcement said the three companies hope to found the new venture by April 1 and begin operations in mid-1994.

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