Sweden’s TV4 has joined the worldwide list of broadcasters that are shutting down their distribution units. Stockholm-based distribution company TV4 International is now in talks with other distribs – SVT Sales (the sales arm of pubcaster Sveriges Television) among them – to find a home for its catalog.
The head of TV4 International, Ingrid Arai, revealed news of the division’s closure in January, but said exact details – including when TV4I will shutter – were still being hammered out when RealScreen went to press. Arai will remain with the terrestrial channel.
TV4I’s closing is part of an overall shakeout under way in northern Europe’s doc market. Patrick Nebout, manager for international coproductions at SVT, notes, ‘SVT [Sales] is now the only [distrib] selling docs in the Swedish market.’
Citing the takeover of Norwegian pubcaster NRK’s international sales division by Denmark’s TV 2 (see RealScreen, April 2002), Nebout notes TV4′s move seems to be part of a trend. Consolidation of distribution operations, he says, ‘is something that is happening in the overall industry in Scandinavia.’
However, at the same time that TV4I is closing its doors, TV4 is boosting doc acquisitions with a new 50-minute slot on Wednesday nights, explains Stephen Morbray, a TV4 commissioning editor.
‘We’ve essentially doubled the amount of slots for acquisitions,’ he says, factoring in a preexisting 9 P.M. slot on Wednesdays and a recently signed agreement with Discovery Europe for a Sunday-night slot.
Morbray says he will launch the new 11 P.M. slot this month and it will run for 20 weeks.