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Sci Fi jetting to Germany

Web adds new orbit on Premiere platform

HOLLYWOOD — The Sci Fi Channel is launching in Germany Sept. 1 on the revamped Premiere pay TV platform in the Hollywood programmer’s first foray into continental Europe.

The channel will flank two other Universal-owned nets in Germany, the suspense web “13th Street” and a movie classics outlet called Studios Universal Germany. Latter two have aired in Germany (and elsewhere in Europe) for several years.

The deal is another sign that Hollywood is refocusing its attention on Germany after two years of a Teutonic ad slump and a series of high-profile media bankruptcies.

For the German spinoff, Sci Fi will access its library of movies including “12 Monkeys,” “Apollo 13,” “The Astronaut’s Wife” and Arnold Schwarzenegger pics “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Total Recall” and “The 6th Day.”

In addition, TV series like “Andromeda,” “Stargate SG-1” and “Flash Gordon” will air.

Retro bent

The programming on the Teutonic spinoff will be broader in range than on the U.S. channel and include more classic series, for which Europeans tend to have a bigger appetite than Stateside viewers.

Premiere is part of the bankrupt Kirch Media empire but has recently restructured, reinvigorating its management team under Georg Kofler and resealing program output deals with all the Hollywood majors. Its footprint covers both Germany and Austria and its subscribers now exceed 2 million.

U’s Sci Fi brand reaches 80 million household subscribers in the U.S. and 9 million in the U.K. via satcaster BSkyB.

Key to strategy

Universal Studios Networks prexy Patrick Vien said that expanding the Sci Fi franchise is “one of USN’s core strategic interests. The launch in Germany combined with Universal’s success in the U.S. and U.K. represents an important milestone in our intent to distribute the brand globally.”

The New York-based Vien, who has been in his job since last September, oversees Trio, a channel devoted to pop culture; Newsworld Intl. in the U.S.; and various “13th Street” and movie channel spinoffs in Europe and Latin America.

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