A&E pact puts History into Scandi, Baltics

A&E TV Networks and the Modern Times Group of Scandinavia have clenched a multiyear arrangement to distribute and operate the History Channel in the Nordic region and Baltic territories beginning in September.

The channel will debut as a three-hour programming block, transmitted daily from 6-9 p.m. and will be available to cable and home dish viewers across Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, as well as the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

The History Channel, which is jointly owned by the Hearst Corp., ABC and NBC, will be subtitled or dubbed into local lingos. MTG will handle subscriber management, including local ad sales and marketing for the program service. No financial details of the accord were available.

John Cuddihy, VP and managing director of the History Channel Intl., told Daily Variety the two partners will move toward jointly acquiring and co-producing original series for the service as it hits its subscriber and revenue targets.

Round the clock

“The idea is for the History Channel to become a round-the-clock service abroad,” Cuddihy said.

Among the program strands earmarked for the Scandi and Baltic service are “Biography,” “Ancient Mysteries,” “Weapons at War,” “Modern Marvels,” “Great Ships” and “Mysteries of the Bible.” A&E plans to produce a number of future “Biography” episodes about key foreign personalities in order to globalize the “Biography” concept, Cuddihy added.

The deal with MTG follows other localized arrangements that the A&E Television Networks team has concluded in other key territories: with British Sky Broadcasting in the U.K., with Mundo Ole in Latin America, with Group AB Sat in France, and with Star TV in the Middle East.

The History Channel deal was unveiled Tuesday by Seymour Lesser, exec VP and general manager of the History Channel Intl., and Hans-Holger Albrecht, CEO of MTG Broadcasting pay TV division.

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