The former head of RTL in Germany, Helmut Thoma, wants to launch his new TV project Volks TV in mid-March 2012.
The first contracts have been signed with regional TV broadcasters Hamburg 1, tv.berlin, NRW.TV, rheinmaintv and bw family.tv which reach more than 10 million households in total, Thoma told "Financial Times Deutschland".
The channels will take over Volks TV as a national framework programme while the share of regional and local content will be reduced to a few hours each day in return. The partners' in-house productions will be shown in the morning and early evening with Volks TV airing in the remaining hours.
The framework programme will be financed through advertising and sponsoring. Thoma hopes to win large brand producers and companies as advertising customers which have so far not shown much interest in regional TV. This would enable the broadcasters to tackle new revenue sources.
Thoma wants to finalise the financing of his new TV venture by February 2012. A private equity company has been won as an investor so far, Thoma said. He didn't elaborate on the programmes to be shown on Volks TV.
Besides Thoma, Volks TV is backed by Helmut Keiser, former managing director of NBC Europe and TV production company DFA. The German media authorities gave the green light to the venture in August 2011.