Kino Lorber merges MHz Choice & Topic, acquires ‘Babylon Berlin’

Babylon Berlin (Source: Kino Lorber)

US distributor Kino Lorber is merging its streaming services MHz Choice and Topic to create one international series streamer to serve the US and Canada.

The move comes less than a year since Kino Lorber acquired a majority stake in Topic, forming a joint venture to operate it with owner First Look. Topic will essentially be merged into MHz Choice with newly combined streamer retaining the latter’s brand.

The service will be overseen by Kino Lorber COO Martha Benyam, with Lisa Schwartz, Kino Lorber chief revenue officer, overseeing distribution and partnerships. Lance Schwulst, EVP of content strategy will continue to oversee programming and Monica Bloom, who joined Kino Lorber from Topic, will continue to serve as chief marketing officer.

MHz Choice will carry European dramas and mysteries, along with Nordic noir crime and thriller titles. Among the titles available on the expanded streamer will be the German show Babylon Berlin, which it has acquired. The first season will launch on MHz Choice in April, while the show’s fourth season will make its North American premiere on the streamer on 25 June. Kino Lorber already distributes Babylon Berlin in the home entertainment market.

The series will sit alongside other international titles including The Killing, The Bridge, Detective Montalbano, The Sea Beyond, Pagan Peak, A French Village, Spiral and Beck.

Existing MHz Choice and Topic subscribers will transition to the new service over the next several months, with the combined libraries available to them at the current MHz Choice price of $7.99 per month.

“MHz Choice is now the ultimate destination for those who love international series, and especially European mysteries and Nordic noir,” said Ed Carroll, president of Kino Lorber Media Group.

Babylon Berlin is one of the crown jewels of television, a period drama whose timeless themes transcend geography and language in the way shows like A French Village, Downton Abbey or Mad Men have all around the world. We anticipate our subscribers will enjoy the early seasons of Babylon Berlin as well as the premiere of season four.”

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