US distributor Kino Lorber and First Look Media have formed a joint-venture that will encompass their respective North American streaming services, MHz Choice and Topic.
Kino Lorber, the majority owner, will oversee both MHz (which it acquired late last season) and Topic. Topic Studios will not be part of the joint-venture. Both services give American audiences access to international TV series like MHz’s Detective Montalbano or Topic’s The Killing. Under the joint venture, the management of the services is overseen by MHz Networks’ founder Frederick Thomas. Topic general manager Ryan Chanatry, and acquisitions director Jennifer Liang will provide consulting during the transition period. Lance Schwulst will oversee the programming for Topic and MHz Choice. He is MHz Networks senior vice president for content strategy. Monica Bloom, vice president of marketing for Topic streaming, will be the chief marketing officer of both services. Richard Lorber, president and CEO of Kino Lorber, said: “We are excited to partner with First Look Media in order to build on the strong SVOD brands they have created through Topic streaming. We’re proud that we can now offer two of the best streaming services for international films and series. This is a strategic investment by Kino Lorber, which will strengthen Topic streaming and the MHz Choice service in their complementarity. It will also create new synergies for our world-class film business. We are excited to partner with Kino Lorber in this new joint-venture, which will allow us to firmly position ourselves in the growing market for specialty streaming services.