Zone Vision looking to Turkey, Israel ops

TV distrib looks to venture from European soil

PRAGUE — Central European distrib Zone Vision is extending its horizons.

The London-based company, which got its start selling programming in Poland in 1990 and began offering its own theme channels two years ago, has launched two channels in Turkey since the beginning of June and will launch another in Israel on Sept. 1. The moves mark the first of Zone Vision’s plans to expand beyond Europe.

Turkey receives adult channel Private Blue and Reality TV, a fly-on-the-wall docu channel that is a joint venture with UPC. Two more channels are headed for Turkey: femme-oriented Romantica and a local version of E! Entertainment, a joint venture with E! incorporating a local program block.

Expanding service in Israel

Israel will get Euro film channel Le Cinema (which already runs in Hungary and Poland) and Reality. The company is also looking at distributing the Russian-language version of Romantica in Israel, targeting the nation’s large expatriate community.

The new territories are part of an aggressive expansion over the past few months with the introduction of Reality TV into six Central European countries. It launches in Russia on July 1, with Czech Republic and Slovakia next in line.

Zone Vision entered Bulgaria with three channels in early June, debuted Romantica and Reality in Hungary a month earlier, and introduces E! in Slovenia in September. Zone Vision reaches some 20 million homes.

CEO and founder Chris Wronski told Daily Variety the company is on the verge of extending its reach even further.

“We’re in advanced discussions with the South African digital platform M-sat, and we’re looking to take Reality and Romantica into India by the end of the year,” he said.

Zone Vision recently announced its intention of a listing on Nasdaq. The company has been valued at $300 million and is jointly owned by its four directors, with Wronski as the majority shareholder. It estimates $20 million in revenues and $1.9 in profits this year.

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