Warners enhances global VOD

Branded services division to distribute content on various platforms

Warner Bros. International Television Distribution took a big step into the new-media landscape with Tuesday's formation of a branded services division that will operate Warner TV channels around the world on an array of platforms.

Announcing the move, WBITD president Jeffrey Schlesinger said the unit will use the latest technological developments including digital cable, IPTV, PC and mobile delivery.

The move is an expansion of WBITD's previously announced plan to launch Warner Bros.-branded VOD channels around the world.

As part of the initiative, WBITD will this week launch a Warner TV-branded subscription VOD service in Germany with ProSiebenSat.1 Group's Maxdome, the largest German VOD portal.

Titles to be featured on the service include "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "The Last Samurai" and "The Matrix Revolutions" as well as such television series as "ER," "Friends" and "Nip/Tuck."

Additionally, WBITD is launching an English-language, Warner Bros.-branded channel featuring movies and television series in India in collaboration with Turner Entertainment Networks Asia.

To oversee the business operations of the new unit, WBITD has named 14-year company veteran Malcolm Dudley-Smith to the newly created position of executive vp business management, branded services.

Dudley-Smith was WBITD's executive vp sales and business development for Canada, Latin America and Asia. He will continue to report to Schlesinger.

Tuesday's international move followed the announcement Monday by Warner Bros. Television Group of several new domestic digital initiatives, including the launch of two ad-supported broadband networks, theWB.com and KidsWB.com. (partialdiff)