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Film distributor Kino Lorber buys MHz Networks, boosts presence in streaming

New York-based film distribution company Kino Lorber is expanding its presence in the streaming space with the acquisition of North American digital broadcaster MHz Networks, the parent company of series-focused streamer MHz Choice.

Richard Lorber

Under the deal, Kino Lorber and MHz Networks will combine to form a new entity, Kino Lorber Media Group. The new company has more than 10,000 hours of programming under licence. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The teams at both MHz Networks and Kino Lorber will remain fully in place, said the companies, with CEO Frederick Thomas and senior VP of content strategy Lance Schwulst continuing to lead MHz Networks within Kino Lorber Media Group.

The move is an expansion of Kino Lorber’s digital strategy, which evolved in 2019 with the launch of its TVoD service Kino Now, a platform offering more than 1,500 film titles for digital rental or purchase.

Frederick Thomas

The company has since expanded into the AVoD space with the launch of its first free channel, Kino Cult, and more recently the launch of a Kino Lorber-branded YouTube channel.

The deal comes 13 years after Kino Lorber was officially formed following the merger of Kino International and Lorber HT Digital.

MHz Networks, which began as an extension of American Public Broadcasting, was an early mover in the boutique streaming space with the launch of SVoD platform MHz Choice in 2015.

The service carries series from around the world including titles such as A French Village, Wallander, Detective Montalbano, Beck and Paris Police 1900. Upcoming releases on MHz Choice include German kidnapping drama Enemies, Bordeaux-set detective drama Mongeville, French comedy Cheeky Business, female-led Italian crime dramas Petra and Voiceless, and South African dark family drama Waterfront.

“MHz’s track record of curating best-in-class series from around the world has helped it build one of the most loyal subscriber audiences in streaming,” said Kino Lorber president and CEO Richard Lorber.

“At a time when Hollywood mega-streamers are going bigger and broader, we like the idea of going deeper into specialised content to super-serve the most discerning audiences. Our highly curated approach helps us stand out from other streamers and makes MHz Choice the perfect companion platform for audiences seeking prestige entertainment in an accessible way.”

MHz Networks founder and CEO Frederick Thomas added: “Kino Lorber is the perfect fit to help take MHz to the next level. Their extensive library of new and classic international films will add an exciting dimension for our current and future subscribers.”

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