MTG Sells Hungarian Free-TV Channels to Sony


STOCKHOLM/LONDON: Modern Times Group (MTG) is selling off its Hungarian free-TV operations, comprising the channels VIASAT3 and VIASAT6 and the catch-up service Viasat Play, to Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Hungarian competition authority, and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015. The 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.

VIASAT3 features blockbuster movies, hit TV shows and original productions. Its lineup includes The Devil Wears Prada, the Harry Potter movies, The Blacklist and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. VIASAT6, meanwhile, targets a young male audience with popular movies, action and comedy series. Offerings include Bates Motel and American Horror Story, along with classics such as the Jaws and Saw movies.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG's president and CEO, commented, “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.”

Lyle Stewart, the senior VP of SPT Networks in CEEMA, said: "This deal clearly strengthens SPT Networks’ position in the Central European market and we are focused on further growing our business over the coming year, building on the considerable success our channels and digital services have already had.”
John Rossiter, the general manager of SPT Networks, Central Europe, added: “This acquisition is a big milestone in our plans to boost SPT Networks’ audience share in Hungary and across the CE region as a whole, allowing us 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.”