EM.TV, inks pact with First Asia

Kirch converts $1 billion loan it made to Speed into co. shares

CANNES — German kidvidder EM.TV has inked a $3.5 million three-year rights and co-production deal with Hong Kong’s First Asia Entertainment.

FAE is to co-produce more than eight new series from EM.TV’s catalog. Agreement also gives FAE rights to more than 100 hours of kiddie fare from its vast Junior brand catalog for Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan for the next 12 years.

For EM.TV, the deal provides a valuable partner to help with the development and production of a series of projects, according to Patrick Elmendorff, president of EM.TV’s TV distribution.

FAE sees growing auds for kiddie content. “The strong increase in population in these five territories and the high proportion of children have led to major demand for cartoon programs,” explained FAE chief exec Shao Tze Khoo.

Loan shift

In related news, media giant Kirch has officially converted the $1 billion loan it made to Speed, the Formula One motor racing holding company it owns with EM.TV, into company shares.

The convoluted deal, which saved the cash-strapped EM.TV back in March, now increases Kirch’s stake in Speed, which holds 75% of Formula One marketer SLEC, to 58%.

EM.TV still retains 17% but is expected to sell it to Kirch in the next few months.

In return for its Formula One holdings, EM.TV is set to receive Kirch’s 50% stake in the companies’ joint Junior catalog, which includes new toons as well as classics like “Bugs Bunny,” “The Flintstones” and “Scooby-Doo.”

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