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Greek Antenna turns to distribution

Greek commercial broadcaster Antenna TV is turning to international distribution as a way of riding out the country’s current financial crisis.

Greek television advertising revenue has fallen 63% since 2007 amidst the country’s financial collapse, leaving many broadcasters struggling to survive.

Antenna TV, the commercial broadcaster which airs local versions of Dancing with the Stars and X Factor, is looking at alternative ways of growing revenue including international distribution of its catalogue for the first time.

Nick Pawsey, Antenna’s acquisitions manager, told C21: “We’ve been producing drama and comedy series in Greece for 20-plus years now so we have a huge catalogue.

“We looked at this and thought ‘it’s sitting there, we can generate some revenues from rerunning it on the station in Greece, but what can we do as well as that?’

“We went through the catalogue and selected 15 series that are long running and successful in Greece but we also think may be able to travel successfully.”

Pawsey points to the success of Turkish series in the international market in recent years as grounds to believe Greek television can sell well in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Discussions with distribution companies about potential third party agreements are ongoing in a number of territories.

The slate will be headlined by two telenovelas: Karma (148×60′); and Lola (202×60′), based on Argentinean series Lalola about a chauvinist magazine editor who is turned into a woman by a witch he dumps after a one night stand are the telenovelas.

Two drama series are also among the hightlights: Crete-based romantic drama Stab In The Heart (42×60′) and high-school dance series Steps (20×60′).

Launching channels in other more prosperous territories is another technique that has been employed by Antenna, and may be again. In 2009 the broadcaster bought Fox TV in Serbia from News Corp, rebranding it as Prva TV and increasing its primetime audience from 9% to 23%.

Pawsey said other such ventures were being considered and to “watch this space.”

Several Greek series, starting with Stab In The Heart, will air on Prva this summer to help build their international reputation.

Pawsey said: “We’re hoping that helps to kick things off and show that Greek series can work outside of Greece – get some hard ratings and success stories and use that as a springboard into other markets.”

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