German programming giants Bavaria Film and Telepool are merging their world sales divisions to form Global Screen, one of the largest distribution companies in Europe.

New entity will handle worldwide distribution of theatrical and TV programming outside German-speaking European territories.

Based in Munich and with an authorized capital of €3 million ($4 million), Global Screen will launch in January and make its international market debut at the Berlinale’s European Film Market.

Rolf Moser, managing director of licensing division Bavaria Media, and Telepool topper Thomas Weymar will serve as Global’s managing directors. Moser and Weymar will be in charge of acquisitions, with the former also handling commercial matters and the latter overseeing programming distribution.

“With this distribution team and our professional network we will become big enough to stand our ground in the highly competitive program market, and still remain small enough to individually take care of our clients,” Weymar said.

Global Screen will essentially take over the responsibilities and operations of Bavaria Film Intl. and Cinepool, Bavaria and Telepool’s current international theatrical sales units. Thorsten Ritter, head of Bavaria Film Intl., will oversee Global’s international theatrical sales.

Both Bavaria Film and Telepool are majority owned by affiliates of pubcaster behemoth ARD.

Bavaria Film holds distribution rights of its own productions, and of productions from ARD affils WDR, BR, SWR and MDR.

Telepool distributes movies and TV programs from ARD affiliates BR and SWR, Swiss broadcaster SRG, ARD’s acquisition and production arm Degeto, commercial broadcaster RTL and various rights owners from Germany and abroad.

The existing libraries and program licenses will remain with the shareholders but will now be marketed internationally by Global Screen, which will also acquire and distribute new film and TV rights.Bavaria Film Group managing director Matthias Esche said: “This joint venture on equal terms will strengthen our international market position. In this way, a wide range of programs from various sources can be bundled and distributed in an effective manner.”

Moser added, “Global Screen will not only continue the success story of its two shareholders, which bring in the combined experience of almost 100 years in foreign distribution, but will also receive a significant boost by joining of forces.”