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SPAIN

Top Spanish indies Lauren Films and Tripictures have renewed exclusive multi-pic deals with Spanish digital satcaster Via Digital.

Both, as did the lion’s share of Spanish distribbers, signed first group-pic deals with Via in 1997.

Lauren’s accord is on 51 features, many drawn from its preferential distribution agreement with Miramax Intl. Tripictures’ Via deal is on 17 pics.

GERMANY

A year after revealing plans to go public, German video heavyweight VCL Film + Medien said it will hit the Frankfurt stock exchange May 27.

Placing 1.2 million sharesrepresenting 23% of the company, VCL intends to use proceeds to expand its acquisition of top feature films as well as building up its video and DVD biz. It will also boost licensing activities in the television and film areas.

One of Germany’s leading indie video and DVD providers, VCL provides one third of all DVD titles on offer in the country and is planning to double that number by 2000.

INDIA

Modi Entertainment Network (MEN) launched Hallmark Entertainment Network and the Kermit Channel in India on May 6.

MEN has undertaken exclusive distribution rights for the two networks, which will have a special Indian feed with localized promos and graphics starting in June. There are no plans for Indian-language programming, however. MEN is expecting a penetration of around 7 million homes in the first year for the two channels.

AUSTRALIA

The 18-month countdown to Oz digital TV broadcasting is on, with the release last week of Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) digi-casting plans and calls for response submissions by the end of May.

The discussion papers and schedules set out digital channel allocations for capital cities and plans for major regional centers to start broadcasting on Jan. 1 2001.

Several channels were left unallocated in the draft documents, with many regional areas not skedded for digital broadcasting until January 2004.