Europes Zone Vision Eyes More Countries

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London-Programmer Zone Vision Enterprises Ltd., with its primary focus on Central Europe, is looking to expand into some major new markets, executives said.

The company, based here, distributes several of its own channels, as well as a bundle of networks, among them Discovery Channel, VH1, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, E! Entertainment Television and Hallmark Entertainment Network. It's also expanding into the United Kingdom, Greece and Israel.

Zone Vision CEO Chris Wronski said that while Central Europe is the heart of the company's operations, it is increasingly looking to different territories for distribution deals.

"There are opportunities outside of these regions, and over the past 12 months, we [have been expanding] with channels like Reality TV and our adult channel, Private Blue, in the United Kingdom," he said.

Direct-to-home platform British Sky Broadcasting Group plc currently carries a late-night block of Private Blue programming. At the same time, Wronski said, U.K. cable operators are "quite positive" about potential carriage.

Private Blue is one indication of how Wronski hopes to give an established genre-erotic programming-a new spin. He said a niche exists for what he called "high-quality erotic content," which is able to command a premium subscription rate.

With all of its proprietary channels, including Private Blue, Zone Vision deliberately avoids competing with its client networks, instead tapping undeveloped themes.

A case in point is its joint venture with United Pan-Europe Communications N.V., Reality TV, which is comprised of real-life, action-based programming. Wronski said Reality TV-as well as Zone Vision's European movie channel, Le Cinema-will be carried on planned Israeli DTH platform YES.

In Greece, he said, Zone is close to securing deals with the Multichoice Mega TV DTH and cable platform.

"We are looking at how many channels we can place there, but it will certainly be one or two, Reality TV being one," Wronski added. The other could be Romantica, Zone Vision's soap channel.

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