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By | October 10, 2001

      The uncertainty surrounding the future of VIVA ZWEI, the ailing sister service of the German music channel VIVA, has been ended by the news that the Cologne-based broadcaster will revamp the service into the interactive pop music channel VIVA+ at the beginning of next year. VIVA+’s operating company VIVA Plus will then be a joint venture between VIVA Media (51 per cent) and AOL Time Warner (49 per cent), VIVA having recently entered into a partnership with the US company to re-launch VIVA ZWEI.

      VIVA Plus will also manage all of VIVA Media’s digital assets, including VIVA’s web sites in European countries in which VIVA operates sister channels, while Turner Broadcasting System, AOL Time Warner’s television network group, will oversee the company’s stake in the new venture. As a result of the deal, VIVA+ will receive prominent promotion on the AOL Germany online service, and AOL Time Warner and VIVA Media will both promote each other’s properties and platforms as well as sell advertising for VIVA Media and the new company.

      Commenting on the plans, AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald M. Levin said: “This transaction is an important piece of AOL Time Warner’s international growth strategy. VIVA+ gives us a significant presence in Europe’s largest cable television market and positions us for additional growth as the German cable market upgrades to digital”. VIVA chairman Dieter Gorny meanwhile said that he expects VIVA+ to break even in three years but declined to reveal any financial details. Meanwhile the media authorities still have to approve the plans.

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