Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks has reached an agreement to acquire the Hungarian VIASAT3 and VIASAT6 TV channels from international entertainment group MTG (Modern Times Group). Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The two channels will expand the current portfolio of SPT brands in Hungary, which already includes the AXN, AXN White and AXN Black linear channels as well as two digital services: AXN NOW and AXN Player. The completion of the transaction will be subject to Hungarian regulatory approval.
Lyle Stewart, senior vice president, SPT Networks, CEEMA, said the deal clearly strengthens SPT Networks’ position in the Central European market, with the company focused on further growing its business over the coming year, building on the considerable success its channels and digital services have already had.
John Rossiter, General Manager, SPT Networks, Central Europe, described the acquisition as “a big milestone” in its plans to boost SPT Networks’ audience share in Hungary and across the CE region as a whole, allowing it to establish multiple strong brands in the market. “The VIASAT channels stand for high quality programming and make a great addition to our existing portfolio,” he stated.
Following the acquisition, SPT Networks will have a 6.4 per cent audience share of the commercially important 18-49 demographic in Hungary, making it the fourth biggest cable/satellite/multichannel operator in the country.
VIASAT3 features blockbuster movies, hit TV shows and original productions – including The Devil Wears Prada, the Harry Potter movies, The Blacklist and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – and enjoys popularity among women aged 18-39. VIASAT6 meanwhile targets a young male audience with popular movies, action and comedy series ranging from Bates Motel and American Horror Story to popular classics such as the Jaws and Saw movies. Both channels are carried by the main cable and satellite operators in Hungary.
MTG’s pay-TV channels Viasat Explore, Viasat History and Viasat Nature, are not part of the agreement, and will continue to be available to viewers in Hungary through a variety of distributors.
“Our Hungarian channels were our first free-TV operations to be launched outside Scandinavia and the Baltics. We are proud of what has been achieved by the Hungarian team and are confident that the new owner will achieve further success with the business. We are focusing our European Free-TV Emerging Markets business on our scale and leading media houses in the Baltics, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic,” commented Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG President and CEO,