Move represents shift to pay TV channels

BERLIN — NBC Universal Global Networks has agreed to sell its free-to-air German web Das Vierte to Dmitri Lesnevski’s Mini Movie Intl. Channel.

The group said the sale represented “a strategic move in line with NBC Universal’s commitment to focus on the expansion of its pay TV channels internationally.”

NBC Universal plans to more than double the size of its international business in the next two to three years.

Das Vierte was launched in 2005 as a general entertainment channel reaching around 90% of German households and obtaining a market share of 1% with a combination of Hollywood movies and classic TV series.

Lesnevski, a TV and film producer and founder of Russia’s largest independent television channel, Ren TV, said the group would continue to grow Das Vierte as a general entertainment channel.

“Our intended programming will include German films and shows, along with Hollywood movies. We also have plans to produce our own TV series, programs and shows. We hope that our experience in launching and developing free-to-air channels will enable us to compete for higher ratings in Germany, one of the most exciting and competitive markets in the world.”

Lesnevski’s new international media company is headquartered in Luxembourg, with affiliates in Moscow, Paris and Beverly Hills.

Mini Movie Intl. produces independent short films, original web productions and owns international rights to a wide library of international short films. In May, the company launched its first U.S. Internet portal on MiniMovies.com.

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