CBS and Viacom have officially agreed to merge, with Bob Bakish to lead the combined company.
Bakish will lead ViacomCBS Inc. as president and CEO. Joe Ianniello will serve as chairman and CEO of CBS. The all-stock merger creates a combined company with more than $28 billion in revenue.
The combined entity will house a portfolio of consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, as well as one of the largest libraries of IP, spanning every key genre and addressing consumers of all ages and demographics. This library comprises 140,000-plus TV episodes and 3,600-plus film titles. The combined company will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production.
Existing CBS shareholders will own approximately 61 percent of the combined company and existing Viacom shareholders will own approximately 39 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.
CBS All Access is planning to bring children’s programming to the service, including exclusive original series and more than 1,000 episodes of library content.
CBS All Access has teamed up with DHX Media and Boat Rocker Studios to license its first two original children’s series.
It has ordered new seasons of DHX Media’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, produced with Sony Pictures Animation, and Boat Rocker’s new Danger Mouse, produced with BBC Children’s Productions.
CBS All Access will add more than 1,000 episodes of library children’s programming, including the classic Danger Mouse series from Boat Rocker Studios and DHX titles such as the classic Inspector Gadget, The Adventures of Paddington Bear, Madeline and Heathcliff.
Following through on its promises to offer a bundle of its streaming services, Disney confirmed it will roll out a bundle of Disney+, Hulu’s basic on-demand tier and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month.
The pricing is identical to the rate for the most popular Netflix subscription. The bundle will offer a $5 discount from the cost of subscribing to the platforms individually. It also adds a live sports element to a bundle package, which will enable cord-shavers and others re-examining their pay-TV docket one more option. It takes effect with the launch of Disney+ on November 12.
ITV Studios (ITVS) has acquired Israeli format creator and distributor Armoza Formats. The company, founded by Avi Armoza, has more than 100 shows in its catalogue including primetime singing format The Four, gameshow Still Standing, and primetime studio entertainment series I Can Do That!, which has aired in over 25 countries.
The deal will see Armoza Formats become part of ITVS’ Global Creative Network, headed up by Mike Beale, with the company continuing to be based in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli firm will continue to develop and source new formats, and also work with producers within the ITVS group on their projects in development. ITVS labels will exclusively produce all newly-developed Armoza formats in territories within which it has a presence.
The company’s catalogue includes third-party formats such as Dance Revolution, and shows developed in-house such as The Four, which aired on US broadcaster Fox. It has also sold to Lithuanian broadcaster LNK TV, as well as Brazilian broadcaster Record TV and Greece’s Antenna TV.
Armoza’s shows will join a growing raft of formats under the ITVS umbrella, including reality-skewing Love Island, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, and The Voice.
UK broadcasters ITV and the BBC will launch their joint streaming service BritBox in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The UK service will cost £5.99 (US$7.50) a month for programmes in HD that viewers will be able to stream ad-free across multiple screens and devices.
Programmes recently broadcast on ITV and the BBC, such as "Love Island", "Famalam", "Cleaning Up" and "Gentleman Jack", will be made available on the service, as will older programmes like "Gavin & Stacey", "Victoria", "Happy Valley", "Broadchurch", "Les Miserables", "The Office" and "Benidorm".
It will also provide content from other British broadcasters and production companies.
In addition, BritBox is commissioning a range of original series made exclusively for the service. The first new show is expected to be commissioned soon and made available to BritBox viewers in 2020.
Source: C21 Media
Vivendi's Canal+ continues its expansion into Africa with the acquisition of Nigerian production studio ROK. It will give the company a production foothold from the continent to feed into its Nollywood TV and Nollywood Epic channels.
Founded by actress Mary Njoku, ROK is Nigeria's largest production house and with over 500 movies and 25 TV series since its founding in 2013 and under the umbrella of Jason Njoku's SVOD IROKOtv. Through ROK, Njoku has expanded Nollywood’s formula for producing films on low budgets, largely shot on location in Nigeria, that connect with African audiences wherever they are. One of ROK’s more recent popular productions is Ojukwu, a period series set in an 1800s Nigerian village, in which Njoku directs and acts.
Under the deal, ROK will continue to create unique content for IROKOtv, ROK’s four existing channels — three on DSTV and ROK Sky in the U.K. — as well as Canal+’s Africa and global channels.
The ability to reach a larger network of African consumers on the continent and internationally is another acquisition play for Canal+. Nollywood online content has proven the ability to find demand anywhere Africans are, including diaspora populations abroad. IROKOtv’s top-three streaming countries are Nigeria, the U.S. and the U.K., according to a company spokesperson.
Sources : Techcrunch / Hollywood Reporter
Newen, the Paris-based media company owned by TF1 Group, has acquired a majority stake in Reel One, a leading production and licensing company specializing in TV films for the North American and global markets.
Based in Montreal with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One develops, finances, produces and sells TV films and series. The company, whose credits include the series “Detective McLean,” generates 90% of its revenue outside of Canada, Newen said.
Newen, the maker of costume drama series “Versailles,” is already well-positioned in French-speaking markets with production banners such as Capa Drama and Telfrance. It should benefit from Reel One’s high volume of English-language productions. This year, for instance, Reel One is expected to deliver more than 75 TV movies, including crime thrillers, romantic films and Christmas specials.
Reel One founder and CEO Tom Berry will continue to hold a minority stake in the group and will continue in his role as CEO.
Newen delivers 1,000 hours of programming per year and boasts a catalogue of more than 5,000 hours of programs internationally. Newen previously acquired Nimbus in Denmark, Tuvalu and Pupkin in the Netherlands, and De Mensen in Belgium. It also has a presence in Canada through the animation company BlueSpirit.
Reel One is currently working in Britain on an adaptation of “Team Chocolate,” the award-winning drama series produced by De Mensen. It’s volumes have experienced double-digit growth recently. The company will now have access to Newen’s vast library of content for remake opportunities.
WarnerMedia has named its soon-to-launch streaming service HBO Max and unveiled its programming slate, which will include 10,000 hours of content ranging from classic comedy Friends to new original shows.
The streamer will house series including Batwoman and Katy Keene from Warner Bros TV, which will debut on The CW and then be added to the US network’s own OTT platform. HBO Max will then be able to offer the shows 30-days prior to the premiere of the series’ second seasons.
The service, which is set to be beta-launched later this year and rolled out fully in the Spring, will also offer access to shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars.
It has already ordered a raft of original series, including an adaptation based around Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, true-life drama Tokyo Vice, and romantic comedy Love Life starring Anna Kendrick. Greg Berlanti is also onboard four movies to be offered via the streaming platform, while Reese Witherspoon’s prodco Hello Sunshine has been tapped to produce two features. Further details are yet to be revealed.
Programming from HBO will also be offered, with the premium US cablenet’s forthcoming slate including shows such as Stephen King’s The Outsider, as well as series from sibling networks such as TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.
Pricing details for the service have not yet been revealed, although Disney recently said its streaming offering would come in at $7 month – around half the price of a similar Netflix subscription. AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, which unveiled its management team in March, also already offers standalone service HBO Now, which costs $15 in the US and is available from multiple cable operators.
The streamer’s launch comes at a time of huge competition in the streaming market, with Disney, NBCUniversal and Apple all preparing to enter a market that has to date been dominated by Amazon Prime and Netflix. The latter has been particularly hit as media giants pull back content for their own OTT services, with Netflix losing an output deal for shows from the The CW, which is owned by Warner Bros and CBS, earlier this year. It is now also preparing to lose the entire library of Friends, reputedly one of its most popular shows, after HBO Max paid around $400 million for rights over five years.
Source: TBI Vision
Viacom’s BET Networks has teamed with Tyler Perry to create a subscription streaming service that combines the prolific auteur’s library of movies and TV shows with BET’s programming vault.
The service dubbed BET Plus will bow in the fall with a handful of original series and productions and a deep library offering that will be enhanced by other properties in Viacom’s portfolio. There was no word yet on a monthly price for BET Plus, which is set to debut in the fall.
BET Plus joins a parade of subscription VOD offerings set to rollout during the next year or so. Although the marketplace is getting crowded, BET Networks president Scott Mills said the company sees opportunity in a streaming offering targeted to the audiences for BET and Perry’s productions. Viacom said BET Plus would feature more than 1,000 hours of content at launch.
The comedy series “First Wives Club” will premiere on BET Plus, after originally being developed for Viacom’s linear Paramount Network cabler. Viacom said the service’s original content slate will include a new series from Perry and a separate series from producer Will Packer.
Viacom’s move on BET Plus comes as the company is believed to be circling merger talks with CBS Corp., it’s corporate sibling under the Redstone family umbrella. BET Plus is seemingly the kind of niche streaming service that could easily tuck in to the CBS All Access SVOD platform that the Eye has been building up since 2014.
ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery have launched Joyn, their joint-venture free streaming service described as the largest in Germany, and have partnered with major local and international broadcasters to stock up on content.
Viacom International Media Networks is among those to have signed a deal with Joyn, which will add the US group’s content to its library in the coming weeks, including reality TV shows, comedy series and animation from Viacom networks MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have also boarded the service with content from affiliates, including Das Erste, One, Tagesschau 24 and ARD-Alpha, as well as all of ARD’s regional channels. ZDF affiliates KiKA, Phoenix, 3sat and Arte, operated in cooperation with other broadcasters, are also available.
The app offers a total of 55 TV channels, among them ProSiebenSat.1 outlets and Discovery channels such as Food Network. Also on offer will be Discovery’s automotive outlet MotorTrend, with further thematic channels to follow. The app likewise carries local channels Sport1, Welt and others.
The service’s on-demand library features original series, shows and exclusive previews, including more than 40 TV series, such as "Grey’s Anatomy" and local comedy series "Jerks", starring Christian Ulmen and Fahri Yardım.
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