Cisneros Television Group accelerated its move to become a
programming player outside of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula with its agreement
last month to partner worldwide with Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s Playboy Entertainment
The CTG-PEG joint venture, Playboy TV International LLC,
will own and develop Playboy-branded channels worldwide. It immediately gives CTG its
first footholds in Japan and the United Kingdom, territories where few, if any, Latino
players have a presence apart from syndicated programming.
What's more, Playboy TV International plans to launch
channels in Germany and South Korea this year.
"Both companies are hungry for international
expansion," Carlos Cisneros, CTG's chairman and CEO, said.
CTG owns or has stakes in nine channels, including two
joint ventures with PEG. It's looking to expand its programming slate, with a number
of announcements expected to come during 1999, Cisneros said. The company is eyeing music
"both for the delivery of content and the creation of content," he added. That
could build upon a budding partnership in Latin America with Canada's Chum Ltd. that
involves Chum's MuchMusic channel.
Comedy and science fiction are two other genres in which
CTG aims to expand, Cisneros said.
Playboy TV International LLC will be 80.1 percent owned by
CTG and 19.9 percent owned by PEG, although PEG has an option to increase its stake to 50
percent over the next 10 years. CTG will contribute $80 million and PEG will throw in $20
Playboy TV International will have 100 percent ownership of
the existing Playboy TV networks in the United Kingdom, Latin America and the Iberian
Peninsula. It will also own 19 percent of Playboy TV Japan, as well as 100 percent of two
international AdulTVision networks and two Spice-branded networks. The venture also has
the right to distribute a Spanish-language channel in the U.S.
"The deal lays the groundwork" to accelerate the
expansion of Playboy channels abroad, Christie Hefner, Playboy Enterprise's CEO,
said. The companies declined to specify other future markets.
Playboy TV International will pay Playboy Enterprises a
total of $100 million over the next five years -- $30 million of which will come when the
deal closes -- in exchange for Playboy's programming and trademarks.
The venture will be based in Miami Beach, Fla., CTG's
headquarters. However, it will function as an independent company whose executives will
report to a board with representatives from PEG and CTG, Cisneros said.
"We've demonstrated that Miami could serve as a
worldwide hub for entertainment," he added, further illustrating CTG's global