Film distribution Kino Lorber acquires international TV series streamer – Media Play News | Episode Movies

Thomas K Arnold

Kino Lorber announced on November 3 that it has acquired global media company MHz Networks, parent company of streamer MHz Choice, a leading North American SVOD service for international television series.

The newly merged company, Kino Lorber Media Group LLC, now has more than 5,000 titles with more than 10,000 hours of programming under license, making it one of North America’s premier destinations for international series and films. The acquisition of MHz Choice marks Kino Lorber’s latest and largest expansion into the streaming market.

“MHz’s track record of curating best-in-class series from around the world has helped build one of the most loyal streaming subscriber bases,” said Richard Lorber, President and CEO of Kino Lorber. “At a time when Hollywood mega-streamers are getting bigger and broader, we like the idea of ​​going deeper into specialized content to cater to the most discerning audience. Our heavily curated approach helps us differentiate ourselves from other streamers and makes MHz Choice the perfect companion platform for an audience seeking prestige entertainment in an accessible way.”

“Kino Lorber is the perfect cast to take MHz to the next level,” said Frederick Thomas, founder and CEO of MHz Networks. “Their extensive library of new and classic international films will add an exciting dimension for our current and future subscribers.”

MHz Networks began as an extension of American Public Broadcasting with an initial television offering consisting of international news, documentaries, foreign film and series content. The company was one of the early entrants into the boutique streaming arena with the launch of SVOD service MHz Choice in 2015, converting on-air buyers of DVDs of its international television programming into a large and loyal digital subscriber base.

Popular series include A French Village, Wallander, Murder In…, Detective Montalbano, Beck, and most recently, Paris Police 1900.

Upcoming releases from MHz Choice include German kidnapping drama Enemies, Bordeaux-based detective series Mongeville, French retro comedy Cheeky Business, female-led Italian crime dramas Petra and Voiceless, and The Dark Family drama “Waterfront”, the first series of MHz Choice from South Africa. The entire staff of MHz Networks and Kino Lorber will remain in place, with CEO Thomas and SVP Content Strategy Lance Schwulst continuing to lead MHz Networks within the Kino Lorber Media Group.

The Lorber cinema has been known for decades for its extensive home video library and theatrical releases of famous art house films and has received seven Oscar nominations and countless other awards in 10 years. In 2019, the company first expanded into digital with the launch of its TVOD service, Kino Now, which Indiewire dubbed “the iTunes art house,” offering more than 1,500 curated films from its library for digital rental or purchase.

The following year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company launched a “virtual cinema” offering, Kino Marquee, which offered independent art house cinemas a lifeline by providing a vehicle for digital revenue while cinemas were physically closed. For this pioneering achievement, Kino Lorber received a Special Award from the New York Film Critics Circle.

In 2021, Kino Lorber entered the AVOD arena with the launch of its first free channel, Kino Cult, specializing in new and rare genre films. The company has since expanded into AVOD with the recent launch of its own Kino Lorber channel on YouTube, offering a rotating selection of hundreds of popular art house hits from its core library built over 40 years. The acquisition of MHz Choice represents Kino Lorber’s largest acquisition since the merger of Kino International and Lorber HT Digital in 2009, and its largest expansion into streaming to date, as part of its efforts to continue using digital as a core element of its distribution strategy.

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