New York, NY – November 3, 2022 – Award-winning international film distribution company Kino Lorber announced today its acquisition of global media company MHz Networks, parent of streamer MHz Choice, the leading North American SVOD service dedicated to international television series.
The newly combined company, Kino Lorber Media Group LLC, now has over 5,000 critically acclaimed titles comprising more than 10,000 hours of programming under license, making it the leading North American destination for high quality international series and movies. The acquisition of MHz Choice represents Kino Lorber’s latest, and largest, expansion into the streaming marketplace.
Kino Lorber President & CEO Richard Lorber said, “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. 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 said, “Kino Lorber is 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 the large and loyal digital subscriber base it maintains today. The streamer cemented its reputation and popularity by programming some of the most distinctive and compelling series from around the world, including hits like 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, with CEO Frederick Thomas and SVP of Content Strategy Lance Schwulst continuing to lead MHz Networks within Kino Lorber Media Group.
Kino Lorber has been known for decades for its industry-leading home video library and theatrical releases of celebrated arthouse films, garnering seven Academy Awards® nominations in ten years and hundreds of other accolades. In 2019, the company first expanded into digital with the launch of its TVOD service Kino Now, which Indiewire called “the arthouse iTunes,” offering over 1,500 carefully curated films from its own distinguished library for digital rental or purchase. The following year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was first to market with its “virtual cinema” offering, Kino Marquee, hailed as a lifeline for independent arthouses in providing a vehicle for digital revenues while movie theaters were physically shuttered. For this pioneering effort, Kino Lorber was honored with a Special Award from the New York Film Critics Circle. In 2021, responding to the opportunities in AVOD, Kino Lorber launched its first free channel Kino Cult, which specializes in acclaimed new and rare genre films. The company has since expanded in AVOD with the recent launch of its own Kino Lorber channel on YouTube, offering a revolving selection of hundreds of popular arthouse hits from its core library built up over 40 years. The acquisition of MHz Choice represents Kino Lorber's largest acquisition since the 2009 merger of Kino International and Lorber HT Digital, as well as its biggest expansion into streaming to date as part of its efforts to further embrace digital as a core part of its distribution strategy.
About Kino Lorber
With a library of over 4,000 titles, Kino Lorber has been a leader in independent art house distribution for 40 years, releasing 35 films per year theatrically and garnering seven Academy Award® nominations in nine years. The company also brings over 350 titles yearly to the home entertainment and educational markets through physical and digital media releases. With an expanding family of distributed labels, Kino Lorber handles releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Milestone Films, Cohen Media Group, Greenwich Entertainment, Artsploitation, Palisades Tartan, Menemsha Films, Raro Video, and others, placing physical titles through all wholesale, retail, and direct-to-consumer channels, as well as digital distribution of its own titles through licensing to over 25 OTT services including all major TVOD and SVOD platforms. In 2019, the company launched its arthouse TVOD channel Kino Now, which features over 1,500 titles from the acclaimed Kino Lorber library. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Kino Marquee initiative was launched, pioneering "virtual cinema" releases of arthouse films with revenue shares that allowed audiences to support almost 500 local independent theaters. Kino Lorber was honored with a Special Award from the New York Film Critics Circle for this effort. In 2021, the company launched Kino Cult, an AVOD channel specializing in new and rare, acclaimed genre films. Most recently, the company expanded its AVOD offerings with the launch of the Kino Lorber arthouse channel on YouTube.
About MHz Choice
MHz Choice, the evolution of the original MHz Networks television service, offers viewers in the U.S. and Canada access to a library of the best television mysteries, dramas, comedies and documentaries subtitled in English through its subscription streaming service, which will soon also include a selection of distinguished arthouse films from Kino Lorber’s library and new release titles. Select MHz content is also available on DVD and on its free ad-supported service MHz Now, available on Samsung TV Plus and Plex. Newcomers to MHz Choice are offered a free 7-Day Trial. For more information, go to mhzchoice.com.