Kino Lorber has acquired MHz Networks, the owner and operator of subscription streaming outlet MHz Choice and a specialist in bringing international TV series to North American audiences.
After the transaction, Kino Lorber Media Group has more than 5,000 titles and 10,000 hours of programming, much of it prestige and arthouse fare. It is the biggest push yet into streaming for Kino Lorber, which was formed in 2009 after Lorber HT Digital acquired and merged with Kino International, though it has has had a presence in streaming with transactional VOD purveyor Kino Now and virtual cinema hub Kino Marquee. The company has been a fixture of the festival circuit and Oscar season in recent years, releasing films like Martin Eden, Bacurau and Taxi.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Kino Lorber President & CEO Richard Lorber said the sensibilities and business strategy of MHz are a fit with his company. “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,” Lorber said. “At a time when Hollywood mega-streamers are going bigger and broader, we like the idea of going deeper into specialized 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 called Kino Lorber “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.”
MHz Networks began as an extension of American Public Broadcasting, with an initial television lineup that featured international news, documentaries, foreign films, and serialized content. The company was one of the earliest entrants to the boutique streaming arena with the launch of the SVOD service MHz Choice in 2015, converting on-air buyers of DVDs of its international TV programming into a digital subscriber base. Series released by the service include A French Village, Wallander, Murder In…, Detective Montalbano, Beck, and, most recently, Paris Police 1900. MHz Choice’s upcoming releases include German kidnapping drama Enemies, Bordeaux-set detective series Mongeville, retro French comedy Cheeky Business, female-led Italian crime dramas Petra and Voiceless, and the dark family drama Waterfront, MHz Choice’s first series from South Africa.
The entire staff of both MHz Networks and Kino Lorber will remain in place after the acquisition, with CEO Frederick Thomas and SVP of Content Strategy Lance Schwulst continuing to lead MHz Networks within Kino Lorber Media Group.