RTL Netherlands grabs Tien

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AMSTERDAM -- RTL Netherlands has acquired TV channel Tien (formerly known as Talpa) from Dutch media tycoon John de Mol, a Talpa Media spokesman confirmed Tuesday. De Mol's company Talpa Media will become a 26.3% shareholder of RTL Netherlands.

RTL Netherlands has been in negotiations with De Mol since last May. According to RTL Netherlands CEO Fons van Westerloo, his company will launch a fourth channel -- following RTL4, RTL5 and RTL7 -- aimed at a female audience, which will air most of the former Tien programs.

In addition, RTL will buy the broadcasting rights for the Dutch soccer league, considered to be Tien's most valuable piece of programming.

In a statement, John de Mol said that RTL made the best offer. "Our programs will score much better in the RTL concept. Also, our goal to operate on different media platforms will have more results since RTL had more to offer than one channel."

It is uncertain whether RTL Netherlands will also take over Tien's highly paid TV stars. Van Westerloo, however, stated that his channel already has made an offer to Linda de Mol, Jon De Mol's sister, to present some programs.

Tien has been struggling with ratings since its launch. A market share of 10% seemed beyond its reach, with the latest ratings showing an average share of 6%.
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