World Briefs

GERMANY

Studio Babelsberg announced the establishment of production unit Babelsberg TV. The unit will produce and develop series, sitcoms, TV movies, German-lingo feature films, gameshows, talkshows, docs and news formats.

Michael Buetow is leaving his position as VP in charge of production at German commercial web ProSieben to become head of fiction production at Babelsberg TV.

ARGENTINA

Argentina’s top MSO, Multicanal, is seeking to raise $150 million through a placement of bonds. The Clarin-owned company intends to use the funds to refinance loans obtained to buy cable systems in Argentina and Paraguay. Participants in the offering, which opened in early February, are required to make minimum investments of $2.5 million.

A cable channel for the hearing impaired, Canal Hipoacustico Educativo, is set to launch in Argentina in March. Initially carried by MSO Multicanal, the web will start with six to eight hours of programming, ramping up to 24. The channel will have sound to attract other viewers and will also be available in Uruguay and Paraguay via satellite.

JAPAN

DirecTV Japan is gearing up for the launch of the competing JSkyB service in April with more channels, price deals and a new investor pitching money into its war chest.

Starting April 1, DirecTV will add 25 vid channels to its service, bringing its total channel offering to 88. It will also intro 29 audio channels, it said.

RUSSIA

Columbia TriStar is stepping up its presence in the Russian market, following the appointment of Hugh Perkins as the studio’s full-time rep in the Russian capital.

Perkins, who previously worked for Columbia TriStar in Auckland and Sydney, arrived in Moscow at the beginning of the year, and is the only major studio rep in the territory. He will be coordinating distribution around the territory as well as in Eastern Europe.

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