Biarritz Rendez-Vous: MHz Choice Preps October Re-Launch (EXCLUSIVE)

SVOD platform positions as one of U.S.’s biggest buyers of Euro TV series

BIARRITZ, France – MHz Choice, the soon-to-re-launch U.S. SVOD service, is readying Season 5 of gritty Gallic French cop drama “Spiral,” which made history in France as Canal Plus’ first hit original series production, as one flagship series to power up clients to its new service.

The SVOD platform plans a mid-October re-launch.

Emerging as one of the U.S.’s biggest buyers of European series, MHz Choice’s other flagship buys run from milestone Canal Plus skeins – violent Gallic procedural “Braquo,” Seasons 1 and 2 – to softer detective dramas, such as the Sicily sun-drenched modern classic “Detective Montalbano,” starring Luca Zingaretti (pictured), “Camilla Lackberg’s “Fjallbacjka Murders,” a murder mystery set in a idyllic Swedish fishing village, rife with jealousy, passion and homicide; and pubcaster France 3-backed Word War II series, now at five seasons, about a village on the French-Swiss border in German-occupied France, bought from 100% Distribution.

Usually buying rights for both the U.S. and Canada, MHz Choice will offer about 3,000 hours of subtitled procedurals, dramas, comedies and some documentaries, Lance Schwulst, MHz Choice VP, content strategy, said at Biarritz Rendez-Vous, run by TV France Intl. (TVFI).

That includes, for any U.S. drama buff, some mouthwatering prospects such as violent Dutch series “The Godless”; and French pre-Revolution historical procedural “Nicolas Le Floch.”

Also on MHz Choice’s German sitcom “Crime Scene Cleaner,” and from Italy, court drama “A Case of Conscience,” “Borsellino: The 57 Days,” again with Zingaretti as an anti-Mafia judge; two-part TV movie “Cesare Mori,” about the real-life 1920s Mafia nemesis; Beta-sold two-hour procedural “Anatomy of Evil,” set in Vienna; and two Zodiak Rights-repped shows, Sweden’s “Annika Bengzton: Crime Reporter, from “Milennium” trilogy producers Yellow Bird; and Le Havre-set Gallic buddy cop series “Blood on the Docks.”

Effectively a re-launch after one aborted attempt, MHz Choice’s bow is scheduled for October. The new service marks the latest move from MHz Networks, a Washington-based news-focused public broadcaster specializing in international content which has moved progressively into fiction TV entertainment with “Detective Montalban” and also launched a DVD distrib op, MHz Networks supplies content, sometime show blocks, to 30 U.S. affiliates.

It also operates U.S. national channel MHz Worldwide, available as a digital programming choice for U.S. PBS stations.

“I’m more proud of acquiring and curating MHz Choice than anything else I have done in my career,” said Schwulst.

Incorporating content to which MHz Networks already had rights, “it’s more like HBO Now than Netflix,” he said.

MHz Choice will be available on TV via an Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku streaming media player. There will also be an Android App. “We hope within a year’s time, MHz Choice will be available on most platforms in the U.S,” Schwulst added.

He added: “This is niche product and it needs a niche platform to distribute it. It can’t get lost among the latest studio releases.”

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