MGM, TPS pact France

Lion chomping 2-hour block of Cinefaz channel

PARIS — MGM and France’s Television Par Satellite digital platform have signed an agreement giving MGM a two-hour branded slot on TPS’ new cinema channel Cinefaz, which launched Wednesday.

Deal, unveiled in Paris late Wednesday, strengthens links between the studio and TPS. MGM already had an output deal with the digital platform.

For MGM, the branded slot, which will air on Saturdays, provides a degree of profile without repeating the unsuccessful and costly experience of launching a complete thematic channel such as its MGM Gold in Asia.

Pact was announced by Jim Griffiths, MGM Worldwide Television Distribution president, and Guillaume de Posch, head of programming at TPS.

The MGM block will be made up of such series as “The Magnificent Seven” and “Dead Man’s Gun,” rather than feature films, which cannot be aired on Saturday primetime in France.

De Posch told Daily Variety that MGM pics will be present on TPS’ other film channels, with Cinestar carrying firstruns and Cinetoile broadcasting MGM classics.

“I first suggested the idea of a branded slot three years ago,” noted de Posch. “Now that MGM has grown its library and we wanted to launch a fourth cinema service, the time was ideal for this agreement.”

Like all majors who pact with TPS, MGM has an option to take a maximum 15% stake in TPS Cinema, which repackages the thematic film channels and pay-per-view service Multivision.