Disney to Acquire German Network Das Vierte
Disney will soon be expanding its presence on German television, as the company recently got approval to acquire the German free-TV network Das Vierte. The German TV channel, which Disney acquired from Russian media executive Dmitry Lesnevsky for an undisclosed amount, was previously owned by NBC/Universal.
Das Vierte will become Disney’s first free-TV channel in Germany that the company completely owns. Currently, Disney operates Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD and Disney Cinemagic in Germany, which are all pay channels. The company also has a 50% stake in the leading free kid’s channel Super RTL, a 31.5% share with Herbert Kloiber’s Tele-Munchen Group in the free-to-air channel RTL II, and an indirect stake in Germany’s A&E Channel.
While Disney’s current plans for the channel have yet to be revealed, there has been some speculation on what Disney may do with the network, which currently only has a 0.2% share of the German audience. Disney may transform the channel into a German version of its sports network ESPN; another possibility is for Disney to sell its share in Super RTL and develop the network into a family entertainment channel.