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Domestic nets consider foreign expansion

Hollywood — MTV Network chairman Tom Freston, Mipcom’s Personality of the Year, is upbeat about the long-term potential of the international TV market:

“It’s inherently a great business. There’s tremendous growth ahead and good long-term prospects.”

He points out, for example, that all of MTV’s foreign channels, save one or two, are now in profit.

That optimistic assessment of the international channel biz was echoed by several top U.S. execs, whose niche services are finally getting traction abroad.

Sony exec VP Peter Iacono says his company is involved in 34 channels worldwide. Many of these offshoots, including actioner AXN, are not only profitable but must also be reckoned as creating “asset value” for the parent company.

Similarly, MGM’s new channel topper, Bruce Tuchman, says he is looking at prospects for MGM-branded channels in Continental Europe. The company is looking at possibly buying into already existing channels in the region. It already has local partners in Lion-branded channels in Israel and Turkey.

Ditto for Discovery Channels Worldwide, which continues to see its many foreign feeds move into profit.

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