Mini Movie International Channel, a short-movie company owned by founder of Russian TV channel REN TV and film producer Dmitri Lesnevski, agreed to acquire German free-to-air TV channel Das Vierte from NBC Universal. The deal, whose value is estimated at up to EUR 50 million, was said to be financed by bank debt.
In May 2008, Luxembourg-headquartered Mini Movie International Channel launched MiniMovie.com that allows watching globally acquired short films and comedy shows over the Internet.
Dmitri Lesnevski commented on the acquisition: “We plan to launch and develop Mini Movie as an international short film channel in different markets, but we are planning to continue to grow Das Vierte as a general-entertainment channel. Our intended programming will include German films and shows, along with Hollywood movies. We also have plans to produce our own TV series, programs and shows.”
Das Vierte, which was launched in 2005 as an entertainment channel, has 1 percent share of German audience. The channel covers 90% of German population. The German TV advertising market is valued at almost EUR 9 billion per year.
In 2005, Dmitri Lesnevski and his mother Irene sold their 30% stake in Russian free-to-air TV channel REN TV to RTL Group of Germany for estimated $42 million. In 2003, Dmitri Lesnevski-produced movie “The Return” won the Golden Lion award at Venice International Film Festival.