Walt Disney eyes German free-TV channel

Jörn Krieger | 24-09-2012

US media company Walt Disney apparently wants to buy German entertainment channel Das Vierte ('The Fourth').

With the takeover of the commercial free-to-air channel, the group also wants to reconsider its TV strategy in Germany, reports German industry portal DWDL.

In Germany, Walt Disney currently holds 60% in Super RTL and 31.5% in RTL II, and operates the subscription channels Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Disney Cinemagic.

Das Vierte is currently owned by Russian media manager Dmitrij Lesnewski, who acquired the channel from US media company NBC Universal in June 2008.

Through the purchase of Das Vierte, a German free-to-air channel would for the first time be completely in Disney's hands. It could be possible that the company wants to operate in Germany – like in other countries – a free-TV channel for children and families under the Disney brand in future and use Das Vierte as the foundation for this. A German version of Disney's sports channel ESPN might also be an option.

When asked about the deal by Rapid TV News, a spokesman from Disney's German office declined to comment.