Germans make a splash at Mip

Economic crisis helps cable, VOD biz

BERLIN — With a slew of deals at the Mip TV programming mart in Cannes and a number of new pay TV channels ready to go on air, the Teutonic TV industry appears to be weathering the financial crisis better than others.

Autentic, a joint production and distribution venture established last year by Beta Film’s Jan Mojto and former Discovery Germany topper Patrick Hoerl, is set to launch a history channel.

The new outlet will carry both documentary and fictional fare with a focus on German history, Hoerl told Daily Variety.

Autentic is also developing an art and design channel for the international market; dubbed Andy, the pay outlet will be targeted at young auds.

Pointing out that the financial crisis is taking its toll on ad-driven commercial broadcasters, Hoerl said there were growing opportunities in pay TV and video-on-demand.

“It’s not a bad time at all. There are new possibilities. Broadcasters that rely 100% on advertising are vulnerable, but for those that can diversify revenue through subscribers, there’s a lot more stability and opportunity,” he said.

Beta Film, which boasts one of the largest programming libraries in Europe, is also set to launch two international pay channels — Code, which will offer primarily European crime drama, and Velvet, which will focus on romance and melodramas.

Autentic produces and distributes non-scripted content worldwide.

Company just inked major distribution deals with the U.K.’s Parthenon Entertainment and New York-based Lightworks Program Distribution.

Autentic will distribute Parthenon’s factual program catalog of more than 1,000 hours in Latin America and handle select programs from Lightworks’ catalog in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland and Luxembourg.

Rival company Bavaria Media Television, has sold the remake rights for French telenovela “Second Chance” to Lebanon-based company Charisma Prods., which will produce an Arab adaptation of the series for the Middle East and North Africa.

Skein follows a woman who has to start a new life when her husband abandons her after 18 years of marriage.

The groundbreaking deal is seen as part of a growing trend in which scripted Western formats are re-worked to cater to Arab audiences.

“I am confident that this series will set a new benchmark of quality and relevance for drama series in the Middle East,” said Charisma CEO Ayman Al-Zyoud.

France’s TF1 produced the original “Second Chance,” with Bavaria handling worldwide rights to the telenovela and the format.

Also finding new partners overseas, German pubcaster ZDF is co-producing an animated series based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic “The Jungle Book” with India’s DQ Entertainment Group. The series includes 52, 11-minute episodes plus a one-hour TV movie.

ZDF Enterprises will distribute the series in Europe (not including France, the U.K. and Ireland), the Middle East and Latin America.

France’s TF1 and NBC Universal in the U.K. are also partnering on the production.

Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, meanwhile, was hot for “Volcano,” Telepool’s disaster miniseries produced by Berlin’s TeamWorx and RTL Television.

The special effects driven two-parter, directed by Uwe Janson, depicts the state of emergency that ensues after a catastrophic volcanic eruption in the middle of Germany.

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