Disney offloads Italian chnls

Rose Major

Disney is selling two TV channels to the management of Jetix Italy, pay service GXT and free-to-air K2. The company is also making available to the new venture part of the former Jetix Europe kidsí free-TV library.

GXT targets young males and is distributed exclusively on Sky Italia, while K2 targets children 4 to 14 and is available both on satellite and digital-terrestrial. GXT is in 4.7 million homes and K2 in 8.5 million homes via DTT and 6.5 million through satellite distribution.

Of the two channels, GXT is the longer-running, launching in May 2005. K2 is brand new, launching only this month. However, the channel has a two-hour window on analogue-terrestrial TV which gives it valuable distribution and exposure.

A team led by Francesco Nespega, managing director of Jetix Italy since 2003, is undertaking the buy-out and wil continue to manage Jetix until it rebrands as Disney XD after the summer. The team has bought 100% of the Disney subsidiary owning the channels, which will now be known as Switchover Media.

The new company will also seek to launch new channels for the Italian market as well as operating as an independent channel provider.

Switchover Media management includes Francesco Nespega, Managing Partner; Giorgio Rossi, Partner, Commercial Development and Marketing; Giuliano Tranquilli, Partner, Programming and Content Development; and Annalisa Muratori, Partner, Finance and Administration.