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Scandi channel set to launch

Fifty prodcos sign up to subscription/VOD operator

GOTHENBURG — A channel devoted to Nordic fare, Skandinavia, is set to launch later this year.

Based at Filmbyen outside of Copenhagen, the channel is repped by Niels Aalbaeck Jensen, currently at the Gothenburg Film Festival. Aalbaeck Jensen is signing up producers and directors for what he hopes will be an elite channel. “We want to broadcast the very best films that Scandinavia has to offer,” he said.

Skandinavia, which will have subscription and video on demand elements, aims to secure worldwide distribution.

Initially the channel will be dependent on library product, but it is also going to sign up new features for VOD. “Video on demand is the future,” Aalbaeck Jensen said. “It will not be many years before filmmakers like Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinter-berg make features directly for video on demand.

“We want to make quality TV for people who know and appreciate [Scandinavian] culture,” said Aalbaeck Jensen. “We will talk with companies in different countries regarding distribution via cable and we will sign on where we can get the best deals. I’ve been in talks with Murdoch’s channels and Microsoft, which is set to become the world’s biggest carrier for video-on-demand.”

Skandinavia is backed by two Danish investment companies, Vesterhavet, which has a net capital of €533 million, and CatPen, with a net capital of €79 million.

Some 50 prodcos have agreed to supply product in exchange for an equity stake, including Zentropa, Gota Film, Omega, Sweetwater, Clausen Film and Kinoproduktion.

The aim is to have up to 100 signed up before Skandinavia closes its lists on March 1. He is travelling to the Berlin Film Festival to sign up the remaining companies.

“I´ve talked to Svensk and to Nordisk, who have said that this is competition for them. They air their films through their own TV outlets. Yes, competition here, but not in other countries. We can cooperate outside of the Scandi countries,” he said. “If all goes well, we will be up and running before the end of the year.”

Anita Oxburgh, MD at Sweden’s Migma Film and chairman of the Swedish film producer’s association, was one of the first to sign on. She commented: “Every new outlet where we can get our films shown is something positive, and all we contribute is our product, which is already made. We have nothing to loose.”

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