Conglomerate plans 20 new channels

NBC Universal is beefing up its international channels business by launching 20 additional webs in 23 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

The aim is to more than double revenues from the outfit’s global networks division.

Networks including Sci Fi, 13th Street and Universal Channel will bow across Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia and India.

These channels will also be extended in territories where the company already has a presence in Western Europe and Latin America.

NBC U has 12 local versions of its entertainment webs in 35 countries.

Initiative will begin with the launch of Sci Fi in Latin America and Sci Fi and 13th Street in the Netherlands.

NBC Universal’s filmed entertainment, networks and cable TV operations generated revenues of almost $3 billion last year, said the combine.

Move follows a recent announcement by NBC U prexy-chief exec Jeff Zucker that the company will target international growth.

NBC Universal Intl. prexy Peter Smith said: “We have set an ambitious growth plan for the company that will boost the international visibility of our television channels and other businesses, accelerating the global presence of NBC Universal as a whole.”

New markets identified include Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Russia and India.

“We have the experience and resources to begin a targeted launch program in priority markets, including wider distribution and more local production in the countries where we operate,” Smith said.

“We look to markets with growing digital subscriber bases, emerging pay television consumption, new platforms and new technologies.”

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