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Sony dives in with Dolphin

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has expanded its network presence in the UK after acquiring five channels operated by Dolphin TV.

Movies4Men, Movies4Men+1, Movies4Men2, Movies4Men2+1 and Men&Movies – all available on the Sky and Freesat platforms – will be merged into SPT’s existing UK networks business, which comprises Sony Entertainment Television UK (SET) following its launch last April.

The male-skewing channels, which offer war, western, action movies and television series, will continue to operate as they for the time being, with no immediate plans for them to be rebranded, according to a spokesman. However, the acquisition could represent a future opportunity for SPT to introduce its action/adventure brand AXN into the UK.

SPT’s UK networks division is led by Kate Marsh, senior VP broadcast and channel development.

As part of the deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, SPT has also taken a majority stake in Dolphin’s advertising sales business as part of its Europe-wide strategy to build its ad sales operations. SPT already has sales businesses in Romania and Croatia through a joint venture with Cable Direct. Customers including Al Jazeera and Fox.

Dolphin’s ad sales business will continue to operate under the same name and management team, led by MD David Goffin, who will now report to Eddie Nelson, SPT’s senior VP networks for EMEA.

“Increasing our foothold in the UK is an important part of our EMEA growth plan,” said Nelson. “As a well established specialist in the UK’s multichannel market, Dolphin is an ideal fit for SPT as we develop our channel portfolio and focus on expanding Dolphin’s market share of advertising sales.”

Goffin added: “SPT is a great strategic fit for our own channels and our advertising sales business. The UK sales market is rapidly evolving and this allows us to invest in our core areas of spot and teleshopping sales.”

SPT’s channel merger with Dolphin brings the number of networks it operates across EMEA to 46 in 52 territories and 19 languages.

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