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Kirch makes classic investment for new pan-Euro music channel

Germany’s Kirch Group plans to invest several hundred million dollars in a pan-European classical music channel, which it plans to launch some time next year in Europe.

Kirch Group managing director Gottfried Zmeck told the German trade magazine Text Intern that the diversified media group’s music production subsidiary, Unitel, would launch a commercial channel to exploit the 800-plus hours of classical music programming in its libraries.

The group is in discussions with unnamed domestic and international partners about joining the venture, the magazine reported. The plan calls for the channel to broadcast concerts, classical music specials and related programming 24 hours a day, though perhaps not that long in the startup phase.

The timetable calls for submitting a German license application this autumn, though it is unclear how regulators will react.

Kirch perch

Kirch owns stakes in two commercial webs and one pay channel. Leo Kirch’s son, Thomas, owns stakes in the PRO 7 Group, which includes two more channels.

Should regulators try to block the licensing of Unitel, the Kirch Group is prepared to consider setting up shop outside German borders, Zmeck said. The long-term goal, he added, was to launch the channel globally since the nature of its programming was little hindered by linguistic differences.

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