Revs soar at Tele Munchen

German group in profit despite losses on TV webs

MUNICH — Herbert Kloiber’s Tele Munchen Group reported record revenues for 2003 of E217 million ($258 million) — up 20.5% over last year despite continuing losses from its fledgling channel Tele 5 in Germany and Austrian web ATV plus.

The privately held group, 55%-owned by Kloiber and 45% by Munich-based licensing company EM.TV (which is selling its stake), did not release profit figures on Monday. However, in an interview with German daily Die Welt, Kloiber said the company’s film and DVD license business generated the lion’s share of sales.

Tele Munchen also collected revenue from its 30% stake in terrestrial web RTL 2, which has been enjoying success with a new yearlong version of “Big Brother” and other reality formats like “Frauentausch,” a “Wife Swap” clone.

Kloiber made headlines last month after outbidding Germany’s leading broadcaster RTL Television for a $220 million package of Warner Bros. fare. Some of those programs may end up on the new channels Tele Munchen plans to launch on the digital platform being built by German cabler Kabel Deutschland, which is taking over all of Germany’s regional cable companies.

Kloiber, who claimed to have sold some 5,300 hours of programming in Germany last year, may need the extra outlets for his growing programming stockpile. RTL 2 managing director Josef Andorfer said last week he wants to curb the channel’s dependency on Kloiber, who has until now delivered about 60% of the web’s licensed programming.

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