London and LA-based Content Media Corporation and Chinese media entrepreneur Bruno Wu are partnering in a multi-layered deal that will in part see Content acquire the Beijing-based Alive Group of companies from Wu’s Seven Stars Media. Alive is active in China across TV production and distribution; feature film production and theatrical distribution; digital distribution of English-language programming; music rights; advertising and marketing services; and sports programming under the Tiger Sports brand. The deal involves an unspecified direct equity investment by Seven Stars into Content Media. It will also place Wu on the Content board as chairman. Seven Stars vice-chairman, Alex Cherepakhov, will be a non-executive director. Huw Davies, who had been chairman, is stepping down.
This is the latest in increasing tie-ups between Hollywood and China, and the most recent project involving Wu, who has his hands in several deals. Under this one, Content will distribute its own library of film and TV properties through the Alive Group to the Chinese market. It will also offer producers direct distribution opportunities in China through Alive subsidiaries. In the reverse, Content will handle international distribution of certain rights owned by the Alive Group. One of the first commercial activities of the new venture is Team China, a 10-hour martial arts reality show made for CCTV5. Wu is hot on martial arts and when we sat down in Cannes about a year ago, he was bullish on Tiger TV, a mixed martial arts channel he was backing. In other Cannes-related news, the new Alive Group will work on the May theatrical release of Grace Of Monaco in China. Wu is an exec producer on the movie that is opening the Cannes Film Festival on May 14. The Alive Group is also developing TV formats that include Wheel Of Fortune and will work with Content Television to bring new shows to the Chinese market. Content’s current TV slate includes such titles as Gillian Anderson thriller The Fall and HBO Asia’s Serangoon Road. Its movies include Steve McQueen documentary The Man & Le Mans; Don’t Knock Twice from The Machine director Caradog James; and Ali Larter horror pic The Diabolical.
Other participants in the unspecified equity raise include Content non-exec directors Jeff Sagansky and Franz von Auersperg; Content Media Corp CEO John Schmidt and other members of the management team.