Sony Pictures TV Expands in Europe with Dutch Pay TV Acquisition

PARIS– Expanding its Western Europe footprint, Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPT) has inked a deal with Liberty Global to acquire Dutch paybox group Film1.

Under the deal, SPT will fully own and operate Film1’s five premium Pay TV channels: Film1 Premiere, Film1 Action, Film1 Comedy & Kids, Film1 Spotlight and Film1 Sundance. On top of being the leading purveyor of Dutch indie movies, Film1 also features premium titles from DreamWorks, Fox, Paramount, MGM and Warner Bros. The group also has an on-demand service, Film1 Go.

“The acquisition of Film1 marks a key move into the Dutch market and underlines our continuec commitment to grow our highly successful and diverse suite of channels across Europe,” said Kate Marsh, SPT’s exec VP of networks in Western Europe. “Film1 complements and expands our successful networks portfolio, and we are looking forward to working with all our partners to continue to build on the success of the Film1 proposition.”

Niall Curran, president of Liberty Global’s media investments group, said the company looked for a “new owner (such as SPT) which would be focused on building on a strong portfolio of channels.”

All five Film1 channels will continue to be carried on Liberty Global’s Ziggo and Dutch cable operator UPC Nederland.

Announced in the run-up to MipTV, the pact has yet to receive regulatory approval. Once the sale is complete, the Film1 business will report to Marsh.

SPT  is already well established in Western Europe, with operations in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K. and Ireland.

Last year, SPT acquired U.K. group CSC Media and became the U.K. market’s fifth-biggest pay TV player in terms of commercial ad views.

Sony Pictures Television’s international networks portfolio includes 148 channel feeds across 178 countries.

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