Kino Lorber Acquires International TV Streamer MHz Choice

Kino Lorber
(Image credit: Kino Lorber)

NEW YORK—The international film distribution company Kino Lorber has announced the acquisition of global media company MHz Networks, parent of streamer MHz Choice, a North American SVOD service dedicated to international television series.

“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,” Kino Lorber president and CEO Richard Lorber said. “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."

“Kino Lorber is the perfect fit to help take MHz to the next level,” MHz Networks founder and CEO Frederick Thomas said. “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 companies reported. 

MHz Networks 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 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. 

The acquisition of MHz Choice represents Kino Lorber’s latest, and largest, expansion into the streaming marketplace.

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, the company said. 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.