German TV Station Nears Deal for Warner Bros. Program Rights
BERLIN (AP) _ The German television station RTL said Tuesday it was near agreement on buying the rights to 50 Warner Bros. films and 500 hours of programming.
RTL, owned by the powerful Bertelsmann media group, is in vigorous competition with the Kirch-Gruppe, owner of rival station SAT-1, which owns the German rights to thousands of Warner Bros. movies.
RTL spokeswoman Rebecca Lieb said attorneys for the companies have worked out a film deal but it still must be approved by RTL shareholders.
She said the company does not dispute reports the deal is worth an estimated $250 million.
RTL recently acquired the rights to films from the U.S. studios Columbia, Tri-Star and Universal.
RTL and the Kirch-Gruppe are each heavily investing in rival digital satellite decoders with an eye toward grabbing the nascent interactive television market.
The decoders, which have the capacity to deliver home-shopping service, videos on demand and access to the Internet, were introduced at the biennial Berlin Electronics Show.