Disney takes on Saban programming distribution

AMSTERDAM — Fox Kids Europe has posted an after-tax profit of $6.5 million for the six months ending Dec. 31, up from a loss of $413,000 for the same period the previous year. Sales rose 33% to $67.8 million.

The channel, now 76%-owned by Disney after the Mouse’s acquisition of Fox Family Worldwide last fall, also announced that Buena Vista Intl. Television will take over distribution of its Saban library, which contains over 6,300 episodes of kidvid.

Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of FKE, described the move as a first step in maximizing the potential of Disney and Fox’s assets in the region.

“We will be able to leverage resources, Disney’s larger local and international expertise, and the larger sales force throughout Europe and the Middle East,” he told Daily Variety.

Synergies with BVI-TV, with its library of movies, prime time series and other kidvid, “can only help add to our bottom line,” Kreiz added.

FKE’s boosted its subscriber base by 20% to 30 million homes in Europe and the Middle East by the end of February, year-on-year. Kreiz credited the upturn to localizing the service in 17 languages.

FKE also announced several new efforts to up its programming offering, including opening an office in Japan, from where many of the channel’s most successful titles have come.

A consequence of the Disney take over has been a reduction in the number of hours of new programming available to FKE.

FKE as well registered a one-off charge of $11.9 million reflecting a valuation of the channel’s library going back to the inception of the business. The charge is a result of an accounting change in U.S. law.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more