The Berlin-based media giant will continue to distribute Lionsgate films in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in the new multi-year agreement, the companies say this morning. The output deal begins in Germany on November 20 with the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. It also will include the upcoming Johnny Depp film Mortdecai, and the live action Power Rangers films. Under the previous arrangement, Studiocanal “was a major contributor to The Hunger Games franchise’s evolution into a global phenomenon,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman say in this morning’s release. The second film in the series, Catching Fire, “more than doubled the box office performance of the first Hunger Games film in Germany.”
Concurrently, Studiocanal Germany extended its TV licensing deal with ProSiebenSat.1 which serves free TV channels in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland. Lionsgate releases will become the “centerpiece” of the TV arrangements, the companies say.
Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Group is bolstering its digital and production business with the acquisition of a 20% stake in Collective Digital Studio. The U.S.-based multichannel network produces, distributes, and markets video content via digital platforms. ProSieben, which made the acquisition through subsid Red Arrow Entertainment, says CDS gets about 1 billion video views per month on its 600 channels and has more than 100 million subscribers. Its properties include The Annoying Orange and Video Game High School. It also develops formats in the action, beauty & lifestyle, comedy, kids & family, and music genres. The acquisition follows a raft of U.S. investments by Red Arrow which recently bought Say Yes To The Dress maker Half Yard Prods, and also owns Kinetic Content, Fabrik Entertainment and Left/Right Prods. Via the CDS stake, ProSieben/Red Arrow will have access to the rapidly growing global online video market and a roster of international talent. Last year, ProSiebenSat.1 formed its own multichannel network in Germany, Studio71, where its current web production activities are bundled. Under the new deal, Studio71 will receive video content from CDS and marketing will be handled in-house by SevenOne Media. Red Arrow and CDS will also back online talent and develop new content verticals. Red Arrow will provide support for content distribution.
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ITV’s UK Hit ‘Broadchurch’ Coming To BBC America In August
ITV’s hit contemporary drama Broadchurch is set to debut on BBC America at 10 PM August 7. The series, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, was created and written by Chris Chibnall. It’s set in a quiet seaside town following the shocking murder of a young boy and focuses on the impact the crime has on the community when everyone becomes a suspect. The most tweeted-about UK drama ever, the show had Britain rapt over its eight-episode run and set off a “Who shot J.R.?”-type frenzy as it progressed. Broadchurch is a Kudos and Imaginary Friends co-production that’s distributed by Shine International. ITV ordered a second season back in April.
Douglas Trumbull Receive Locarno Film Festival Honor
Director and special effects veteran Douglas Trumbull will receive the Locarno Film Festival’s first Vision Award — Electronic Studio. The new prize is designed to highlight and pay tribute to a professional whose creative work behind the scenes, as well as in their own right, has contributed to opening up new perspectives in film. The 66th edition of Locarno will screen films Trumbull worked on including Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life as well as his own Silent Running. Trumbull will also offer two masterclasses. The Locarno fest runs August 7-17. Read More »
Private equity firms Permira and KKR are said to be working with JPMorgan Chase on options for their 53% stake in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media. The firms could sell to another company or on the open market, Bloomberg reports, and potential bidders could include Time Warner, Comcast and News Corp., The Financial Times said. News of a potential sale comes amid increased movement in the German broadcast sector as companies compete in a contracted ad sales market. In December, Discovery Communications said it was acquiring ProSieben’s SBS Nordics operations for $1.7B and last week, media giant Bertelsmann said it was considering reducing its stake in FremantleMedia owner the RTL Group. KKR and Permira acquired their ProSieben stake for 3.1B euros ($4.2B) in 2006, at the peak of the buyout market, but have had to write down their investments since. ProSieben’s stock has jumped by more than 20% since the beginning of 2013, giving the company a market value of 5.6B euros ($7.6B), according to the FT.
Discovery Communications is widely expanding its footprint in Europe with the purchase of 12 TV networks and 19 radio stations in the Nordic countries. The company is also working on a strategic alliance with France’s TF1, as Deadline reported yesterday. The combined deals mark a roughly $2B investment by Discovery to increase its international reach. The deal for the SBS Nordic operations with Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 brings general entertainment, scripted and sports programming to Discovery’s suite of services for the first time. Via the TF1 deal, Discovery would take an initial 20% stake in pan-European sports network Eurosport as well as buying into some of TF1′s branded channels. Below are two press releases, the first outlining the SBS Nordic deal and the second on the TF1 alliance:
(Silver Spring, Md.) – Discovery Communications today announced a definitive agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Group to purchase the company’s SBS Nordic operations for a total enterprise value of approximately $1.7 billion (€1.325 billion). The acquisition of SBS Nordic includes 12 television networks in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, among other assets, and further solidifies Discovery’s long-term growth in the strong Nordic TV markets. The deal also expands Discovery’s brand portfolio by adding general entertainment, scripted and sports programming to the company’s suite of services for the first time. The transaction is subject to regulatory review and is expected to close in early 2013. Additionally, Discovery also announced that its Board of Directors has approved a $1.0 billion increase to its existing stock repurchase program.
“SBS Nordic has a fully distributed portfolio of dual revenue stream networks with a terrific management team that will expand Discovery’s footprint across the Nordic region, which includes some of the most well-penetrated and stable TV markets in the world,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. “Individually, and taken together, the acquisition of SBS Nordic, our pending strategic partnership with TF1 through the acquisition of a minority stake in Eurosport, and the increase in our share repurchase program are all complementary to our long-term growth strategy of delivering sustained operating results, creating strong organic growth through investment in content, brands and talent, and returning capital to shareholders.”
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