Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPT) has reached an agreement with Liberty Global to acquire the Film1 group in the Netherlands.
Liberty Global had to sell the Film1 premium channel business after acquiring cable operator Ziggo. The Film1 premium channels compete with the three HBO channels and the HBO Go TV everywhere service. HBO is a joint venture between Ziggo and HBO Europe.
Under the deal, SPT will fully own and operate the five premium pay TV channels under the Film1 umbrella along with its Film1 Go service, pending regulatory approval. The move marks the second time the studio invests in the Dutch premium pay TV market – Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Television International and UPC were the original investors in the Cinenova movie channel, which failed to make an impact on the market.
“The acquisition of Film1 marks a key move into the Dutch market and underlines our continued commitment to grow our highly successful and diverse suite of channels across Europe,” said Kate Marsh, SPT’s EVP, Networks, Western Europe.
“Film1 complements and expands our successful Networks portfolio and we are looking forward to working with all our partners to continue to build on the success of the Film1 proposition.”
“When approaching the sale of Film1 as part of the group’s acquisition of Ziggo, we wanted to ensure the new owner would be focused on building on a strong portfolio of channels” said Niall Curran, president of Liberty Global’s media investments group. “We are pleased that Film1 will be in good hands under Sony’s ownership”.
All five Film1 channels will continue to be carried on Liberty Global’s Ziggo and UPC cable tv platforms in the Netherlands.
The five Film1 channels include Film1 Premiere, Film1 Action, Film1 Comedy & Kids, Film1 Spotlight and Film1 Sundance, and feature movies from Dreamworks, Fox, Paramount, MGM and Warner Bros. as well as independent fims. The Film1 Go service is available to all Film1 channel subscribers on PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Film1’s competitor HBO has the rights to movies from Universal, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures International, Dutch Film Works and the various Disney studios as well as HBO Originals.
Once the sale is complete, the Film1 business will report to Marsh, expanding Sony Pictures Television Networks’ Western Europe footprint which also includes Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and Ireland. Last year SPT acquired CSC Media, making SPT the No. 5 cable/satellite/multichannel player in the UK market in commercial ad views.
Sony Pictures Television’s international networks portfolio includes 148 channel feeds, which are available in 178 countries reaching more than 1.28 billion cumulative households worldwide.