Das Vierte plans winter relaunch

Russian media entrepreneur Dmitri Lesnevski, who acquired German film and series channel Das Vierte from US media concern NBC Universal at the beginning of June, wants to make visual and content changes to the service.

“I want to give the channel a new face in January 2009 or perhaps even earlier,” the 38-year old told German news agency dpa. Lesnevski, who apparently paid €13 million for the channel, wants to convert Das Vierte into a general interest service screening news, entertainment shows and the German premieres of series. Additionally, he wants to give the channel a new design and improve the picture quality, which he says is currently “not optimal”.

Lesnevski says he is not planning any more acquisitions of a similar scale in Germany. “There are two large commercial broadcasting groups competing against each other in Germany,” said Lesnevski. “It’s difficult to hold out against them with small niche channels. That’s why we want to develop Das Vierte into a general interest service so that we can be successful in the German TV market.” Lesnevski is currently negotiating with producers and rights holders in Germany over material for the relaunch.

NBC Universal sold Das Vierte in order to concentrate on its pay-TV services. The channel, launched in September 2005, reaches around 90% of German television households via cable, satellite and ADSL.