Spinner to head RTL’s Alpha

Sale of Greek media group agreed

BERLIN — Former ABC exec Rick Spinner has been tapped to head Greek TV conglom Alpha Media Group following its acquisition by pan-European broadcasting giant RTL Group.

As part of its continuing European expansion, RTL in September inked a deal with Alpha owner Dimitris Contominas for a 66.6% share in the company, an acquisition that has now been approved by the Greek Competition Commission, RTL said Wednesday.

RTL and Contominas, which are looking to close the $162 million sale by Christmas, agreed to name Spinner to the top job at Alpha when the deal is done.

Spinner, an American national, served as president of European operations at Capital Cities/ABC Television from 1993 to 1997 and later worked as a consultant and troubleshooter for RTL in Belgium, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia.

Greece’s No. 3 broadcasting company, Alpha Media comprises nationwide TV channel Alpha TV, Thessaloniki regional web Cosmos TV, Plus Productions, Alpha TV’s in-house production company, and two radio stations. The group generates annual revenue of some $130 million.

Greece’s fast-growing TV advertising market grew from approximately $390 million in 2001 to more than $650 million in 2007 and is projected to deliver annual growth of 6% to 7% in the medium-term future.

The Alpha Media purchase is the latest acquisition for RTL, the main engine of German media conglom Bertelsmann.

Europe’s leading broadcaster, RTL controls or has stakes in 43 channels and 31 radio stations in 10 countries, including RTL Television in Germany, Five in the U.K., M6 in France, REN TV in Russia, and also owns London-based international production group FremantleMedia, maker of the hugely popular “Idols” format.

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