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Production courtship

Holland's John de Mol, GBTV consider venture

AMSTERDAM — John de Mol Prods., a subsidiary of Dutch-based top European indie production company Endemol Entertainment, is in negotiations to form a joint venture outfit with Dutch production company GBTV.

GBTV makes most of the programming for Dutch public broadcaster TROS, one of the wealthiest and the most commercial of the state broadcasters. If all goes as planned, John de Mol and GBTV will each take a 50% stake in the new entity, expected to launch early next year.

Endemol has a lucrative multimillion-dollar programming deal with Dutch three-channel commercial network Holland Media Group. The new outfit will give Endemol a firm foothold inside the Dutch public broadcasting camp and also give GBTV access to international markets.

The move on the part of GBTV is expected to be the first front in a new drive by public broadcasters to ally themselves with production partners in Holland. As of Jan. 1, all 34 state broadcasters, who now operate independent of each other, will be expected to operate under one license.

Many fear that unless they firmly establish themselves as major content deliverers, they will lose both funding and their brand names — some of the state broadcasters are more than 80 years old — in the new system.

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