MGM TV launching sixth HD channel overseas
Network set for Spain; unit also inks sales on 'Teen Wolf'More MIPCOM news
CANNES -- The Lion may be hobbled at home, but on the Cannes Croisette during MIPCOM he paces at a healthy clip.
Despite all the debt and cash-flow problems Stateside, the TV division of MGM continues to ink deals and extend its channel reach around the globe.
On Tuesday, MGM's networks president Bruce Tuchman will unveil the sixth HD channel launch abroad -- this one in Spain.
Tuchman also said his overall portfolio of 24 branded channels and several joint ventures now reach 100 million subs worldwide -- and, more crucially, enjoyed their best revenues and profits ever this fiscal year.
On the programming front, the TV team under co-presidents Gary Marenzi and Jim Packer are mining the library to come up with "populist global concepts."
The latest is "Teen Wolf," which rides the wave of interest in all things "Twilight"-like and which will air Stateside on MTV. It has wrapped deals abroad so far with MTV in Canada, Seven in Oz, Televisa in Mexico and AXN in Asia.
"A lot of people want to work with us," Marenzi said, pointing out that his TV unit has tried to make a virtue out of not having enormous overhead or infrastructure. "We can turn on a dime, and because we three talk to each other constantly, we can take advantage of opportunities in one territory or another quickly, without a lot of paperwork or meetings."
The revenues and cash flow from TV licensing are, per the threesome, greater than what's coming in from DVD at this point. They declined to put a precise figure on it, but rather stressed that once the Lion's ownership question is resolved, they'll easily be able to scale up and produce more content. (The entire TV and channels team worldwide is 150 staffers.)
"We try not to let the white noise around MGM affect us," Marenzi said.