Channel 5 has launched a new distribution company, Channel 5 International, headed by former managing director and vice-president of Warner Bros International Television (UK) Richard Milnes.

Milnes has been appointed chief operating

Channel 5 has launched a new distribution company, Channel 5 International, headed by former managing director and vice-president of Warner Bros International Television (UK) Richard Milnes.

Milnes has been appointed chief operating officer of the new venture with a remit to exploit and develop C5's existing catalogue of international rights and to search out new sources of co-production.

To support the drive, C5 controllers have pledged to commission a greater number of co-productions in a bid to bolster its output.

Reporting to C5 director of programmes Dawn Airey and director of legal and business affairs Colin Campbell, Milnes will recruit a small team to be based at C5's Covent Garden offices.

C5 has retained some international rights to shows, which have been handled through other distribution outfits such as Itel and Pearson International.

But Milnes said his first move would be to sort out which rights C5 owns and see which are worth buying back.

Milnes said he was currently unable to reveal which programmes C5 had international rights to because clearance lawyers are checking the new division's slate.

Milnes said he would work alongside indies to see which programmes have international potential and added: 'Depending on the deal with (indies), they will get a share. With the experience I bring I can maximise revenue for producers. I think the channel has great potential.'

The first market Milnes will attend for C5 will be Monte Carlo in February.

He said, like Channel 4, C5 had not set up a distribution department when it launched because it had been concentrating on establishing the channel in the UK.

Milnes, 56, resigned from Warner Brothers UK last October after eight years at the company. He joined C5 this week.