Vienna-based prodco Terra Mater Factual Studios, a division of Red Bull, has inked a global, multi-year deal with ZDF Enterprises-owned producer/distributor Off the Fence which will see the latter distributing the Austrian company’s present and future television catalog.
Under terms of the partnership, which launches April 1, Off the Fence will representing Terra Mater’s library of specialist factual, wildlife, history and science content at the 2019 MIPTV market in Cannes.
Terra Mater’s current factual programming highlights include the 50-minute one-off special Whale Wisdom, which traces marine biologist and four-time Emmy-award winning director Rick Rosenthal on a journey to measure the latest science on whales against his own observations; Borneo: Earth’s Ancient Isle (1 x 50 minutes), exploring one of the most biodiverse places on Earth; and The Sun: Inferno in the Sky (1 x 50 minutes), showcasing the latest developments in solar research.
Since its inception in 2011, Terra Mater has produced more than 180 hours of premium quality factual content, and won more than 250 international awards, including Wildscreen’s Golden Panda, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s Grand Teton and New York Festivals’ Grand Award.
Off the Fence, meanwhile, will celebrate its 25th anniversary at this year’s MIPTV market months after being acquired by ZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm for German pubcaster ZDF. In that time, the Amsterdam-based studio has accumulated a catalog of more than 6,500 hours of premium unscripted content. The company also runs Bristol, UK and Amsterdam-based production outfits from which it has produced 500-plus hours of content and gathered more than 80 international awards. In October, Off the Fence revealed that it had partnered with Irish-headquartered technology company Axonista to launch the WaterBear Network, a video-on-demand service with content aimed at improving the planet.
CBS has taken full ownership of cable network Pop TV after acquiring Lionsgate’s 50% stake in the channel.
The terms and financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Pop will continue to be under the leadership of its current president Brad Schwartz. Although Lionsgate has sold off its share in the general entertainment cable net, it intends on supplying original content, like the upcoming series Florida Girls, to the platform.
In March 2013, CBS purchased half of then-named TV Guide Network (TVGN) for a reported $100 million from One Equity Partners. Meanwhile, Lionsgate came to own Pop as part of a deal from Macrovision (now Tivo Corp.) for a reported $255 million in 2009.
In September 2014, CBS and Lionsgate announced that TVGN would be relaunched as Pop in the first quarter of 2015, with a focus on pop culture content following the rebrand. The refresh included more than 400 hours of original content, including the series Rock This Boat: New Kids On The Block, which revolved around a boat cruise hosted by famed boy band New Kids on the Block, while The Story Behind followed the genesis of TV’s iconic shows.
Canal+ Group has launched its own stand-alone streaming service in France, Canal+ Séries, priced at €6.99 per month.
Canal+ Séries will feature a mix of Canal+ Creations Originales, including "Spiral", "Hippocrate", "Versailles", "Platane" and soon, "Vernon Subutex", along with future Canal+ dramas. There will also be international series, including "Killing Eve", "The Story of The Lost Child" and "Catastrophe". From launch, Canal+Séries will also carry "Deadly Class" exclusively, followed by the new season of "Gomorra".
The offering will include series from Showtime, such as "Billions" and "SMILF"; FX, including "Pose" and "What We Do in the Shadows"; and STUDIOCANAL, among them "The Lawyer" and "Moscow Noir". Also among the offering will be "The Americans", "Sons of Anarchy", "24", "Dexter", "The X-Files" and more.
Available at launch via myCANAL and OTT, the offer will eventually be distributed on all platforms currently carrying Canal offers.
TF1-owned French production giant Newen has continued its expansion into Europe by acquiring a majority stake in the Belgian prodco behind Netflix dramas Undercover and Hotel Beau Séjour.
Newen has acquired 60% of Belgium-based De Mensen for an undisclosed fee, following similar deals for Tuvalu Media in the Netherlands and the Danish producer of The Bridge.
De Mensen is the largest independent production group in Belgium, comprising the main firm, led by Cath Luyten, Ben Crabbé and Tom Wae; Skyline Entertainment, which it acquired in 2014; Brussels-based French fiction specialist Les Gens (fka Stromboli Pictures); coproduction specialist Gardner and Domm; and The New Flemish Primitives.
Initially an unscripted and formats specialist, De Mensen has moved into drama production in recent years, most notably with crime drama Undercover, which it produces along with Dutch Filmworks and local broadcaster VRT. More recently, it worked on supernatural drama Hotel Beau Séjour for Netflix, Arte and local network Eén.
Source: C21 Media
UK viewers are to be offered a local rival to Netflix after pubcaster the BBC and commercial operator ITV confirmed plans to launch a streamer together.
The two organisations have been discussing a joint service for several years but today confirmed they are in the “concluding phase of talks” to establish a “transformational” streamer to be known as BritBox, which will launch in the second half of the year.
It will offer the “biggest collection” of British content available on any streaming service, ITV and the BBC said, adding that originals specifically for BritBox would also be ordered from UK production companies.
The UK-facing service will offer British boxsets and original series, the broadcasters said, revealing details of the service on the same day that ITV unveiled its annual results. Profits for 2018 were up 13% to £567m (US$750m).
ITV and the BBC already operate an international version of BritBox, which was launched with AMC Networks in 2017 and offers an array of UK content and original programming to more than 500,000 subscribers in the US and Canada.
Source: C21Media / BBC News
Netflix is continuing its push into African originals with its latest order, the South African teen series “Blood & Water.”
The series, which is directed by Nosipho Dumisa, follows a local teen who discovers her family’s secret past while navigating the complicated world of a South African high school.
The news comes two months after Netflix announced its first African original, “Queen Sono,” starring veteran South African thesp Pearl Thusi (“Quantico”) as a secret agent fighting crime while dealing with her messy personal life. Last week the streamer also announced its acquisition of South African drama “Shadow,” about an ex-cop with superpowers, which will be released globally as a Netflix Original March 8.
“Blood & Water” features an up-and-coming local cast and will be produced by the Gambit Films. Daryne Joshua and Travis Taute will be writing and co-directing with Dumisa, with Bradley Joshua and Benjamin Overmeyer on board as producers and Simon Beesley as lead editor.
Global streamer Netflix has cancelled The Punisher and Jessica Jones, removing the final traces of Marvel Television series from its platform.
The culling of the shows, the two remaining Marvel properties on Netflix, marks the end of a five-year licensing relationship between the SVoD giant and the Disney-backed entertainment outfit.
Speculation has surrounded the future of Marvel productions on Netflix since Daredevil’s termination, with many viewing the cancellations as a signal of OTT battle lines being drawn ahead of Disney launching its own streamer, Disney+, later this year.
The Mouse House signalled its SVoD intentions in 2017 when it announced it would be withdrawing its movies from Netflix a little under a year after its exclusive licensing deal with the streamer had begun.
Commenting on Netflix’s decision, Marvel Entertainment chief Jeph Loeb wrote an open letter reassuring fans that this would not be the end for the characters and that they may live on in another home.
Source : C21 Media
The factual streaming service CuriosityStream has secured some $140 million in private placement funding to bolster its global growth.
CuriosityStream will use the funds, in addition to its other revenue sources, to boost spending on factual programming, drive technological advancement in content discovery and market the service globally.
At the end of 2018, the service—launched by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks—reached 1 million paying subscribers. It also saw its content library grow to more than 2,000 titles.
UK pubcaster the BBC and U.S-headquartered cable giant Discovery are reportedly set to launch a natural history streaming partnership, according to reports from UK press outlets The Financial Times and The Telegraph.
Under the proposed deal, BBC would license international streaming rights to its natural history output to Discovery, which would own the service, including back catalog event series hosted by internationally renowned nature presenter Sir David Attenborough. The service, according to the reports, would not be available in the UK or China.
Discovery Inc. networks including Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet should also contribute programming to the service.
The deal comes as the two parties negotiate the breakup of UKTV, the British multi-channel broadcaster owned jointly by BBC and Discovery.
Talk of Discovery launching an SVOD service has been frequent since the finalizing of its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, and its moves in the sports area, including the acquisition of Eurosport and its recent grab of multi-platform and global television rights outside the U.S. for PGA Tour properties. This move, however, would strictly concern natural history content, according to the reports.
Source: RealScreen / The Financial Times / The Telegraph
ZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm of German public broadcaster ZDF, has kicked off the new year by acquiring shares in Nadcon Film, the German film and TV banner that co-produced upcoming Berlinale opener “The Kindness of Strangers.”. The deal gives it a 49% stake in the business.
Nadcon Film, which was founded in 2012 by Peter Nadermann, one of the pioneers of the Nordic Noir genre, and Constantin Film, specialises in co-producing first-class film and television projects mainly with international partners. Nadermann will remain the managing director of the German company following the takeover.
Source: Broadband TV News
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