RTL launching digital niche channels


COLOGNE, Germany -- German commercial broadcaster RTL Television is moving into the digital sphere with the launch of three digital niche channels.

The startups are named RTL Crime, RTL Living and Passion and are scheduled to launch Dec. 1 on tividiSAT, the satellite platform run by pay TV group Arena.

The channels also will be offered through regional cable operators iesy and Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg as part of Arena's tividi family pay TV package. The RTL channels will be made available as Internet Protocol Television through high-speed Internet providers HanseNet and T-Com, RTL said.

The channels will largely offer repeats of series and films that air on RTL's free-to-air flagship channel. RTL Crime will feature detective series, including long-running police hit "Alarm for Cobra 11" as well as such U.S. shows as "C.S.I: Miami" and "Miami Vice." Films including Tony Scott's "True Romance" will be featured in uncensored, director's-cut versions not before seen on German commercial TV.

RTL Living will feature DIY, cooking and makeover shows from RTL and sister channel Vox, while Passion, a joint venture between RTL Television and production house UFA Film & TV, will program round-the-clock telenovelas and daily soaps.

"Exciting detective shows, emotional daily series and real-life coaching formats are the key programming elements of the RTL family," RTL managing director Anke Shaeferkordt said.

Klaus Holtmann, former strategy and mergers and acquisitions executive at RTL Television, will oversee operations at all three channels.