CBS Pacts with RTL Group for Asian Channels

Partners will launch 2 entertainment outlets in fast-growing markets

CBS Corp. is pushing into the Southeast Asian TV market in a pact with RTL Group to launch two entertainment channels in more than two dozen fast-growing territories.

The first of the channels, dubbed RTL CBS Entertainment, is set to launch in September. Both channels broadcast in English and local languages.

The Singapore-based venture of the Eye and the Euro TV giant will be named RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network, with a management team reporting to a board comprised of execs from RTL Group and the CBS Studios Intl. unit headed by the Eye’s global distribution prexy Armando Nunez.

The partnership with RTL gives the Eye access to that company’s vast international footprint and its roster of hit global formats. RTL CBS Entertainment will present a mix of  shows including RTL-produced “The X Factor,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” as well as Eye-produced series ranging from dramas like “Elementary” and “Under the Dome” to “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Entertainment Tonight.”

The second channel, RTL CBS Extreme, will focus on action-adventure skeins (“Hawaii Five-0,” “NCIS: Los Angeles”), reality competition shows and extreme sports. It’s skedded to bow in the spring.

Among the 29 target markets for the HD channels are Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. CBS and RTL are aiming for a mix of cable, satellite and IPTV distribution deals.

“This is another opportunity to use CBS’ internationally successful content to be part of a new channel venture in one of the world’s fastest growing TV regions,” Nunez said in announcing the deal. “It’s even better to do it with a best-in-class partner such as RTL Group.”

Said Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO of RTL Group: “We are delighted to team up with CBS Studios International. By joining forces with such a renowned global partner, we are continuing our tried-and-tested build strategy, expanding our business to more countries in Asia with high growth potential.”

RTL’s owner Bertelsmann raised $1.8 billion through the sale of a 17% stake in RTL in April to fund expansion. Bertelsmann chief exec Thomas Rabe plans to spend up to $3.98 billion over three years as the company seeks to lessen its reliance on Europe and traditional media outlets.

“Our goal is to make Bertelsmann a faster growing, more digital and more international company in the years ahead,” Rabe said at the time.

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