Constantin, Polyphon forming TV venture

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German indie production powerhouse Constantin Film is building on its already booming TV business by forming a joint venture with Studio Hamburg unit Polyphon Film und Fersehgesellschaft, the companies said Tuesday.

The 50-50 venture, called Polyscreen, will be based in Munich and, pending regulatory approval, will set up shop in January.

"This joint venture is an important step in the expansion of our TV production capacity," Constantin Film CEO Fred Kogel said. "And I have known (Polyphon managing director) Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt for many years now. I respect him as a producer and it was also my desire to work with him."

Kogel and Meyer-Burckhardt will co-head the production company, which aims to produce telefilms and entertainment formats.

Traditionally a film firm, Constantin has seen massive growth in its TV division, which includes production units Rat Pack, Constantin Entertainment, Olga Film and Moovie -- the art of entertainment.

In the first three quarters of the year, revenue from TV production jumped 66% to €91.1 million ($121 million), 43% of Constantin's overall revenue.

Meyer-Burckhardt and Polyphone are best known for their high-end, older-skewing dramas for Germany's public broadcasters, a profile that complements the younger demographic targeted by such productions as Rat Pack's telenovela "Lotta In Love" and fairy tale spoof "Maerchenstunde" or Moovie's gay-themed sitcom "Bewegte Maenner."

Polyphon producer Nina Klamroth will head fiction production at Polyscreen, while the company's entertainment division will develop and produce formats in cooperation with Constantin unit Constantin Entertainment.
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