Scandinavian MTG to sell film library

'Conan,' 'Dirty Dancing' among titles

Scandinavia’s Modern Times Group (MTG) has put its 325-title film library on the market, sources said Tuesday.

The library, which includes U.S. broadcast rights to pics like “Dirty Dancing” and “Conan the Barbarian,” is expected to draw interest from companies such as Artisan Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which have been actively building up their catalogs.

Modern Times has retained Furman Selz to handle the sale, sources said. Furman reps declined comment, and Modern Times execs could not be reached.

Sources said the library has a significant number of titles available for licensing in video, pay and broadcast television in every major territory. The library is believed to have generated $10 million in revenue last year, but that figure could be at least doubled by licensing of all available titles.

Meanwhile, Modern Times Group said Tuesday its net sales rose 25% in its first quarter to $113 million and pushed its gross income up to $20 million from about $8 million a year earlier.

The growth in sales was attributable to all segments of MTG’s broad portfolio, with strong TV ad growth in Scandinavia and the Baltic States pushing up sales in the broadcast sector from $55 million in first quarter 1997 to $62 million in first quarter of 1998.

MTG’s broadcast interests include a chain of channels stretched across Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Share of the TV ad pie for TV3, the main MTG brand in those territories, ran from as high as 23% in Sweden to 48% in Estonia.

Sales rose 18% over figures a year ago at MTG Media Services, which houses companies like film outfit Spice/Sonet and MTG Media Properties, which owns the film library now on the market.

Plagued by currency fluctuations and internal changes, MTG has posted losses for several years, but this quarter it chipped away at them. Losses after financial revenue and expense dropped from $20 million in 1997 to $6 million in first quarter 1998.