TBS Europe brings Boomerang, TCM to Kabel
BERLIN — Time Warner’s TBS Europe has become the latest U.S. company to launch new digital outlets on German cable giant Kabel Deutschland (KDG).TBS is launching toon web Boomerang and classic movie net TCM on KDG next year. German- and original English-language versions of Boomerang will carry classic Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. animated fare like “Bugs Bunny,” “The Flintstones,” “Yogi Bear” and “Tom & Jerry.” TCM will offer popular pic titles from the 1920s through the ’90s, such as “Casablanca,” “Gone With the Wind” and “The Dirty Dozen.” U.S. majors have been eager to launch outlets in Germany’s budding digital TV market, which has gotten off to a slow start. While KDG has some 10 million analog customers, digital subs remain scarce at around 250,000. Company faces strong competition from paybox Premiere as well as free-to-air DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcast-Terrestrial) units and satellite TV. Boomerang joins other U.S. channels on KDG such as Disney Playhouse and Toon Disney, Sony’s action web AXN and NBC Universal’s Sci Fi and 13th Street. KDG also carries TBS’ CNN on its analog cable offering. The German-language Boomerang will launch in the second quarter next year on KDG’s Kabel Digital Home cable package, while the original English version along with TCM will start on the Kabel Digital Intl. bundle in January. TBS said it planned to put the web on other digital platforms in Germany as well. TBS also broadcasts a toon block on ProSiebenSat 1’s free-TV web Kabel 1. Boomerang already airs in the U.K., France, Italy and Spain. In other cable news, Liberty Global announced Wednesday that it had completed its 100% acquisition of Swiss cabler Cablecom. Liberty picked up the company for $2.2 billion from a group of shareholders led by Apollo Management, Towerbrook Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs. Cablecom is the biggest competitor to telco giant Swisscom. Deal adds another market to Liberty’s European assets. Company operates the largest broadband cable business in terms of subscribers in 11 of its 14 European markets.