Telenor Media buys into U.S. Scandinavian channel

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OSLO -- Telenor Media, the Norwegian State owned multi-media and cable-TV company, has acquired a 35% stake in The Scandinavian Channel, a broadcasting company established in January to distribute programming sourced from Nordic public TV networks, in North America.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, The Scandinavian Channel (TSC) is currently broadcasting under a temporary agreement on the International Channel to 500,000 homes in America's east and mid-west regions, where the density of ethnic Scandinavians and Finns is greatest.

TSC is the dream-child of Meridian, which is owned by the U.S.-resident Norwegian financier Steinar Hybertsen, who is also CEO of TSC. Start-up costs are put at $25m to $30m.

"There are around 18 million people of Nordic origin in the U.S., and there is a receptive market for television programs with a strong Swedish, Danish, Finnish or Norwegian flavor," says TSC's Hybertsen.

Nordic public broadcasters NRK (Norway), SVT (Sweden), YLE (Finland) and DK (Denmark) are expected to join TSC's board and ownership structure when the channel begins first trial broadcasts.

"We are hoping to be fully operational by September. TSC will be distributed under single and collective agreements, and via cable-TV networks. Programming will include news, sports and a mix of light entertainment and popular Nordic soaps," says Hybersten.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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