GERMANY

The Munich-based Kirch Group will offer production licenses for the D-Box digital TV decoder to a variety of manufacturers, Kirch’s BetaResearch unit announced Thursday.

BetaResearch, which develops and markets the D-Box technology, currently has an agreement with Finnish electronics company Nokia to produce the decoder. Opening production to other manufacturers is expected to reduce the price of the decoder. The first D-Box decoders made by other companies are expected to go on the market in late 1998 or early 1999.

LATIN AMERICA

ESPN Latinoamerica said it increased its subscriber base in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America by 22% since last year.

Since January 1997, the pay TV sports channel added 2 million homes for a total of 10.4 million homes.

It is broadcast throughout the Latam region in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

CANADA

Alliance Communications Corp. and the Royal Bank of Canada have reached an agreement giving Alliance a $300 million credit facility. Lion’s share of the new deal will provide funding for increased film and TV production.

Roman Doroniuk, Toronto-based Alliance’s chief financial officer, said, “This new facility provides Alliance with the ability to seize new acquisitions and expansion opportunities while ensuring ample financing for continued production and distribution growth.”

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