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Warner Bros to distribute CME titles

Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the media outfit that operates a number of free-to-air commercial broadcasters and production companies across Central and Eastern Europe, is set to move into program distribution following its acquisition by Time Warner, parent company of Hollywood studio Warner Bros.

CME is set to hook up with Warner Bros International Television Distribution, the company’s international sales arm, to sell its raft of locally produced dramas, comedies and formats.

Time Warner recently acquired 31% of CME for US$241.5 million, with the acquisition closing last month.

Petr Dvorak, SVP, broadcasting, CME, says: “The next step is distribution. I think after the economic crisis we may try to sell our fiction and non-fiction formats abroad. There is a good chance to distribute them through Time Warner, which is an investor in CME.”

CME produced 28,000 hours of original local content in 2008 across its seven territories including Czech Republic, Romania and Ukraine. It has had success with series such as hospital drama Ordinace v Ruzove Zahrade (Rose Garden Medical), which originally aired on Czech Republic’s Nova, and Slovakia’s Markiza TV crime drama Mesto Tienov (City of Shadows).

Its latest big format launch is The House of Dreams, which follows ten couples as they build a house and compete with each other over who gets to live in it.

CME operates a number of production companies including Romania’s Mediapro, which was set up CME CEO Adrian Sarbu.