Comments Off on Banijay UK Partners with Creative Access to Launch Professional Development Programme for Under-Represented Freelancers
Banijay UK has partnered with Creative Access to offer a bespoke, year-long professional development programme aimed at TV freelancers from historically underrepresented communities who have previously worked at Banijay labels.
The scheme, which is aimed at mid-level freelance staff progressing through the creative industries, will offer training, networking, support and workshops.
During the twelve months, focus will be on areas including: developing leadership skills, owning mistakes and building confidence, building resilience & managing work life balance and financial literacy. Successful applicants will also be mentored by a senior industry professional for six months.
Bella Lambourne, Director of HR & Operations for Banijay UK, said: “It’s an incredibly challenging time for the TV freelance community, and we are acutely aware that people from historically marginalised communities are often at a particular disadvantage. Banijay UK is committed to providing support and opportunities to those in the industry who need it, and we very much hope the scheme will help people develop invaluable skills and gain further experience.”
Bibi Hilton, CEO Creative Access, added: “We’re thrilled to be teaming up with industry powerhouse Banijay. We all know that freelancers in the broadcast industry are all too often the lifeblood and the lifesavers of TV and film organisations. They’re the flexible extra resource we bring in when the workload suddenly increases and there’s no time (or budget) to hire; bringing with them incredible specialist skills to transform output, they’re the crew on a TV production set who make mind-blowing, award-winning work and in a lot of cases are quite literally the entire workforce. And yet, as our data shows, many employers are not treating their freelancers in this way. Access to career development programme such as this can and should be transformative for.”
Comments Off on Banijay UK takes stake in James Norton and Kitty Kaletsky’s ‘Rabbit Track Pictures’
Banijay UK today announced its investment in Rabbit Track Pictures, the London based TV & Film production company co-founded by film, TV and stage actor James Norton and scripted executive Kitty Kaletsky.
Rabbit Track Pictures launched in 2019 and has an impressive slate of diverse projects, including major scripted projects green lit for the BBC and for ITVX, alongside a raft of exciting developments across film and TV. Their first film, Rogue Agent, a thriller for Netflix starring Norton, was released in 2022.
By taking a stake in the business, via the Banijay UK Growth Fund, Banijay UK will enable Rabbit Track Pictures to build its team and accelerate its growth strategy, ensuring it can continue to acquire the best IP. The deal includes a first look with distributor, Banijay Rights.
Patrick Holland, CEO and Executive Chair of Banijay UK said: “James and Kitty have a truly impressive slate of projects and are incredibly ambitious for the growth of their business. We are so delighted that they have chosen Banijay UK as their partner; their passion, commitment, talent and belief are exactly the qualities we want to invest in. We can’t wait to start working together.”
James Norton said: “To be joining the Banijay family is such an exciting moment for us as a company. Patrick and his team have been incredibly welcoming and supportive already, and clearly share mine and Kitty’s values and ambition for the company. We can’t wait to jump into the rabbit hole with them and see where the next step of this adventure takes us!”
Kitty Kaletsky added: “When James first called me about running a company together, I was still fully living and working in Los Angeles. Little could we have imagined, when kick-starting Rabbit Track right before the pandemic, that just a few short years later, we’d be teaming up with such a huge and exciting partner as Banijay. We feel very lucky to be part of this family which will take our success to new levels and can’t wait to get going with Patrick and the whole group.”
James Norton is a leading film, television and stage actor and is Rabbit Track’s co-founder. James’ recent TV projects include Happy Valley (BBC/Netflix), McMafia (BBC/AMC), The Trial of Christine Keeler (BBC) and War and Peace(BBC). Film credits include Oscar-winning Greta Gerwig’s Little Women,Mr Jones directed by Oscar-nominated Agnieszka Holland, and Paramount’s upcoming Bob Marley biopic directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green.
He is currently starring in a sell-out, critically acclaimed stage production of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel ALittle Life.
Kitty Kaletsky has worked in senior roles at leading TV and Film production companies on both sides of the Atlantic including Archery Pictures and Black Bear Pictures, having started her career at Number 9 Films. Kitty lived for four years in LA, running Oscar-winning Black Bear’s TV department, and as a result has strong relationships both in the UK and Hollywood. Kitty is Managing Director of Rabbit Track Pictures and is responsible for running all creative and business aspects of the company.
This deal is part of the Banijay UK £50m Banijay UK Growth Fund which allows the UK group to partner in high profile talent as well as investing in new businesses, to supercharge growth.
This is the seventh Growth Fund deal to be announced since it was launched in February 2023. Previous talent deals include a first look with scripted producer, Chris Sussman and a multi project deal with Scottish documentary director and producer Kevin Macdonald. The fund has also facilitated the acquisition of Mam Tor productions and investments in new scripted company Conker Pictures and North Wales based start-up, Ty’r Ddraig. It has also enabled DSP to grow the business launching DSP Films headed by Graeme McAulay to focus on premium documentaries.
Great Point helped launch Rabbit Track, along with fellow founding partner The Development Partnership, by providing seed investment via its Great Point Ventures EIS fund. Both Great Point Media and The Development Partnership remain shareholders in the company. Robert Taylor will remain a director at Rabbit Track Pictures.
Great Point has backed a number of early-stage creative businesses, funded over 200 projects and invested in excess of £500 million in film and television productions.
Tom Manwaring of Helion Partners provided Rabbit Track with M&A advice on the transaction. Victoria Kimber of Danworth Associates also assisted Rabbit Track in arranging and negotiating the partnership, and Harbottle provided legal counsel. Simons Muirhead and Burton provided legal counsel to Banijay UK on this transaction.
The Development Partnership sits within The Partnership Group. Formed in 2021, The Partnership Group is made of a number of agencies and production businesses. Sitting within the group are The Artists Partnership, The Development Partnership, Sayle Screen, Sara Putt Associates, OWN IT! And BE HEARD VOICES. The ethos of the group is supporting artists in the pursuit of the highest quality of work.
James Norton is represented by The Artists Partnership (Agent Saskia Mulder), WME and JSSK law.
Comments Off on Banijay UK backs Tommy Bulfin and Kim Varvell start up
BBC Commissioning Editor Tommy Bulfin and Apple TV+ Drama Commissioner Kim Varvell are setting up ‘Conker Pictures’ a business focussed on making popular and distinctive scripted series for the UK and global audiences.
The highly respected duo have extensive production and commissioning experience having been behind many of the most successful dramas in recent years.
In his role at the BBC, Tommy has overseen some of the division’s biggest shows including The Tourist, Kudos’ SAS Rogue Heroes, Normal People and Peaky Blinders. Further Executive Producer credits include The Gold,Line of Duty, Conversations with Friends, Marriage, Beyond Paradise and Dublin Murders.
Kim joined Apple TV + in 2020 and has been responsible for developing and commissioning a raft of global dramas with recent productions including upcoming thriller Hijack starring Idris Elba, Sharon Horgan’s Bad Sisters, and Suspicion starring Uma Thurman.
Prior to this, Kim was at New Pictures where she developed and executive produced Des starring David Tennant for ITV and as Head of Development for the company oversaw a raft of developments and productions, including White House Farm for ITV, Requiem for BBC One / Netflix and The Innocents for Netflix.
With Banijay UK investment, led by CEO Patrick Holland via the recently announced UK Growth Fund, the start-up will begin hiring full time staff and investing in their development slate.
The deal includes a first look deal with distributor Banijay Rights and supports Banijay’s wider strategy to strengthen and evolve its scripted offering.
Patrick Holland, CEO of Banijay UK who led the deal said: “I couldn’t be more delighted to announce this investment in Kim and Tommy’s new company from the Banijay UK Growth Fund. As commissioning editors, they have overseen some of the most distinctive dramas in recent years. They share wonderful instincts for talent and possess a restless energy to produce the very best shows. And they always think of the audience. Together they make a formidable pair and, with Banijay’s support, I have every expectation that Conker Pictures will thrive and grow.”
Kim Varvell and Tommy Bulfin added; “We have been friends and colleagues for many years and it has long been our ambition to work together again. United by our mutual love of high quality, popular drama series and our shared passion for shows enjoyed by a wide audience, we are absolutely thrilled to find a home with Banijay UK, who have a rich history of delivering hit shows, beloved by viewers worldwide. We have had the good fortune to work with some of the brightest and best talent in the UK over the past few years and are excited to build on these strong relationships in our new home at Conker Pictures. We are delighted to be doing this with Patrick and the entire Banijay team.”
Comments Off on Banijay UK Appoints Chief Operating Officer
Banijay UK has appointed Sarb Nijjer to the newly-created Chief Operating Officer role. She joins from the BBC, where she is Finance Director for BBC Content. In this role, she provides leadership and insight for content spend across network TV, iplayer, Sport, Children’s & Education and Audio and Sounds.
Following a busy twelve months, which has seen the launch of the Banijay UK Growth Fund, the acquisition of RTS-nominated drama company, Mam Tor, commissions including Big Brother (ITV), Survivor (BBC One), Deal or No Deal (ITV), SAS Rogue Heroes s2 (BBC One) and Three Little Birds (ITV), the Chief Operating Officer will ensure Banijay UK continues to focus on future growth and investment in talent and creativity.
In her new role, Sarb will be responsible for driving forward the Banijay UK strategy alongside CEO and Executive Chairman, Patrick Holland, as well as managing collaborations across the wider Banijay group, developing business relationships with key customers, and working closely with the 27 production companies in the local footprint to deliver their strategic aims.
With Banijay UK’s continued focus on growth, she will also play a vital role in future investment opportunities, whether through traditional M&A means, or start-ups, via the recently-announced Banijay UK Growth Fund.
Sarb’s appointment completes Banijay UK’s top executive team, which includes Director of HR & Operations, Bella Lambourne, Chief Financial Officer, Derek O’Gara and General Counsel, Jacqueline Moreton.
Patrick Holland, Banijay UK CEO and Executive Chairman, said: “This is a newly created role at Banijay UK. In the COO, I wanted a senior business leader to help drive the strategy, growth and collaboration needed to take the UK group to the next level. Sarb has an exceptional business brain, has shown terrific leadership at the BBC (where she helped keep the channels vibrant during COVID), possesses exciting entrepreneurial instincts, and perhaps, most importantly, understands the nuances of the development process and how to support creatives. She’s also a delightful human being and we are really looking forward to her joining a great senior team at Banijay UK.”
Sarb Nijjer added: “I’m thrilled to be joining Banijay UK as COO and am looking forward to collaborating with the talented team there to drive innovation and growth across the UK business. Entrepreneurialism runs strong through the group’s production community, and I’m excited about the future opportunities with partners and key talent across our industry that are likely to arise as a result. I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved as a team in BBC Content over the last five years, and it’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked for such a world-class creative business.”
Comments Off on Banijay UK Creates £50 Million Fund to Further Drive Growth
Banijay UK today announces a £50m fund which will supercharge growth for the UK group over the next 3-5 years.
£50m has been earmarked by global content powerhouse, Banijay, which will allow UK CEO Patrick Holland to invest in up-and-coming businesses, to enable existing labels to grow into new genres by adding key creatives and to pursue partnerships with high profile talent.
This initiative sits alongside, and is additional to, continued M&A activity in the UK.
With a focus on scripted, reality, premium documentaries and factual entertainment, the fund will broaden Banijay UK’s genre portfolio and be strategically invested in companies and talent which complement the current business.
The growth fund will be used primarily to take minority stakes in emerging businesses which fit these priorities, hire new creative leaders into existing businesses to grow into new genre areas and also provide start-up funding for new labels.
Patrick Holland, CEO Banijay UK; “This is a powerful initiative designed to identify and nurture the most important resource in our industry; talent. Banijay is run by producers for producers, and I want this fund to enable our businesses to invest in creative entrepreneurs who grow the next generation of great ideas and amazing IP. This is a major commitment to the UK market from Banijay Group and I cannot wait to announce the first tranche of investments both in individuals and in new fledgling businesses”
Marco Bassetti, CEO Banijay added; “Banijay is a home where creative ambition is both encouraged and supported. Across the group, we continue to invest in schemes and drives to grow our pipeline, our talent base, and our position on the content world stage. In Patrick, we have a leader with a clear strategic vision and through this fund, we have no doubt he can further amplify the UK group, leaning into new opportunities, which can broaden and strengthen its existing offering.”
Comments Off on Banijay UK acquires CHLOE producer Mam Tor Productions
Banijay UK has acquired Mam Tor Productions, the high-end drama producer founded by renowned producer Tally Garner.
With a focus on high end, contemporary and original returning series, and working predominantly with new talent, women and other underrepresented groups, Mam Tor’s latest series, six-part original drama CHLOE, was a hit for BBC One earlier in the year and subject to a pre-sale bidding war before being acquired by Amazon Prime Video.
Mam Tor Productions is the first company to be acquired by Banijay in the UK since it acquired Endemol Shine in 2020 and its first scripted acquisition in the UK. The deal was led by Banijay UK CEO Patrick Holland. Banijay Rights will have a first look deal on all future projects as part of the deal.
Patrick Holland, CEO, Banijay UK said of the deal; “‘I’m so excited to be welcoming Mam Tor to Banijay UK. Tally is an exceptional talent who has developed a brilliantly curated slate, working with some of the most exciting writers. ‘Chloe’ was a superb piece that Banijay Rights were able to partner on and our investment in Mam Tor builds on that brilliant relationship.
I want Banijay UK to be a home where great talent get to make their very best work so Tally and Morven, her head of development, are truly welcome. We can’t wait for the next chapter of Mam Tor’s journey and are delighted to help facilitate that.”
Marco Bassetti added, “Talent sit at the heart of this business. From brilliant talent, brilliant ideas are born, and in growing our collective, we strive to further strengthen our world-class portfolio of IP. Tally is a great addition as we continue to build our capabilities in the scripted space, and we welcome her to the group.”
Tally Garner, CEO, Founder and Executive Producer at Mam Tor said “Banijay Rights and Cathy Payne are the most amazing partners for CHLOE that I could have wished for, and Morven and I are absolutely thrilled to be joining the Banijay UK team and their utterly inspirational CEO Patrick Holland. We love our projects so much, and with his expertise and support are truly excited to begin the next chapter for Mam Tor with Banijay UK.”
Mam Tor brings together a highly qualified management and development team that has decades of experience in identifying, nurturing, developing and producing high quality original drama for television. Tally Garner founded the company in 2014. Prior to this she was founder and Head of Film and TV at Cuba Pictures following a decade as a literary agent at Curtis Brown. Producer credits include Boy A, winner of five Television BAFTAs and Broken, winner of Best Film at the BIFAs. She also exec-produced London Road and the seven-part adaptation of bestselling novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for BBC1.
The team includes Head of Development, Morven Reid, who prior to joining Mam Tor in 2019, was Senior Script Editor in Continuing Drama at BBC Scotland, Script Editor at the BFI Film Fund and held Script Editing roles within Drama Republic and Bad Wolf. Development Executive Rachel Harvey joined from the BBC drama commissioning in 2021 where she worked on projects including The Responder and Red Rose.
Mam Tor will sit alongside scripted businesses in the UK group including Kudos, Tiger Aspect, Double Dutch, Shiny Button, Blacklight and Douglas Road.
The deal was brokered by Jeremy Gawade of Lee and Thompson.
Comments Off on 2023 Date and 20+ Participants Announced for Third Annual London TV Screenings
The organisers of the annual London TV Screenings have today announced it will return from Monday 27 February to Friday 3 March 2023.
Following the huge success of the first in-person event earlier this year, attended by more than 500 international buyers, the third annual Screenings will see the founding distributors of the annual event – All3Media International, Banijay Rights, Entertainment One (eOne), Fremantle and ITV Studios – joined by a further 17 partners signed up to take part to date. These include: Abacus Media Rights, About Premium Content, Beyond Rights, Blue Ant Media, Bossanova Media, Cineflix Rights, DCD Rights, FIFTH SEASON, Hat Trick International, Keshet International, NBCUniversalFormats, Paramount Global Content Distribution, Passion Distribution, Red Arrow Studios International, STUDIOCANAL, TVF International, Warner Bros. International Television Production.
The participating distributors will once again work together to offer expertly curated sessions featuring exclusive content and the opportunity to connect with world-class on and off-screen talent.
A London TV Screenings spokesperson said: “In 2022, The London TV Screenings cemented its position as a key, in-person destination for the global content community. Attendees are now guaranteed a completely London-based schedule packed full of sessions in which they will see and hear everything they need to know to make the right investments in programming for the year ahead.”
Clients from all major markets, including the US, Europe, Australia, China, Africa and the Middle East, attended the 2022 Screenings. More than 15 live events were held offering exclusive first looks and “deep dives” into some of the most hotly-anticipated formats, scripted and non-scripted content.
World-class talent such as Aidan Turner (Poldark, The Suspect) and
comedian/presenter Michael McIntyre were in attendance, as well as writer George Kay (Lupin, Killing Eve); executives Dan Baldwin Managing Director, Hungry Bear, Jake Lushington EP, World Productions, Patrick Spence, ITV Studios and Martin Haines & Karen Wilson, co-MDs of Kudos, part of Banijay UK.
For more information, please visit our website: www.londonscreenings.tv
Comments Off on Banijay Hires Patrick Holland for Top UK Role
Banijay today announces the appointment of producer/ commissioner, Patrick Holland, as Banijay UK’s Executive Chairman. Commencing the role at the beginning of Q2, he joins from the BBC, where he most recently served as Director, Factual, Arts & Classical Music.
In his new post, he will lead the UK’s burgeoning portfolio of 20 premium unscripted and scripted production labels, which comprises Dragonfly, IWC, Kudos, RDF, Remarkable, Shine TV, Tiger Aspect, Workerbee, Yellow Bird UK and Zeppotron. Banijay UK CEO, Lucinda Hicks, will report to Holland, and will work alongside him, continuing to grow the UK business. As Executive Chairman, he will report to Banijay’s Chief Executive Officer, Marco Bassetti, while working closely in-territory with group COO, Peter Langenberg.
Marco Bassetti, Banijay comments: “With unrivalled knowledge of the UK market following a hybrid producer/commissioner career, Patrick couldn’t be better placed to take on the reins of the business and join our global collective of creative entrepreneurs. Sitting at the helm of a portfolio of best-in-class talent, there is huge opportunity to further grow the pipeline of premium programming and build on Banijay UK’s existing track record – we look forward to seeing the local group further soar under his direction.”
Holland added: “Banijay UK represents an extraordinary group of companies, led by some of the very best creatives in the business, so it is hugely exciting to be asked to take on this challenge. The range and quality produced across the labels is unparalleled and, together with the hugely talented Lucinda Hicks, I’ll do all I can to help their continued growth and development. I’ve had six wonderful years as a commissioner at the BBC, but the scope and ambition of the new role made the return to production irresistible.”
Patrick became Director of Factual, Arts & Classical Music in April 2021. Previously, from March 2017, he was Channel Controller of BBC Two, following his earlier appointment as Channel Editor in July 2016.
During his time at BBC Two he oversaw the revitalisation of the channel as an essential cultural force, re-inventing history and documentary output (Once Upon a Time in Iraq, The Detectives, Hospital, Murder 24/7, The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty, House of Assad, Blair and Brown, 9/11 Inside the President’s War Room, The Last Survivors, Forensics) and working with commissioning teams to develop a raft of factual entertainment successes (rejuvenated Top Gear and Sewing Bee with Joe Lycett, Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr, Race Across the World). Under his leadership the channel built an unparalleled pipeline of series that graduated to BBC One, finding even larger audiences and achieving greater impact. It was also during this time BBC Two won the channel of the year awards in 2020 and 2021 at the Edinburgh TV Awards and Broadcast Awards.
BBC Two also saw a rejuvenation of its scripted and entertainment titles. Motherland, Alma’s Not Normal, The Other One and Don’t Forget the Driver were major comedy commissions. Mash Report, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and The Ranganation represented a major refresh of the comedy entertainment titles on the channel. In drama, Motherfatherson, Black Earth Rising, The Salisbury Poisonings and Giri/Haji saw bold new tones and challenging authorship at the heart of the schedule.
Prior to joining BBC Two, Patrick was Head of Commissioning, Documentaries. During his tenure new returning brands Ambulance, Reported Missing, The Real Marigold Hotel and Hospital were all developed and commissioned. Exodus; Our Journey to Europe won the BAFTA, RTS and Peabody Awards.
Before joining the broadcaster, Patrick was managing director of one of the UK’s biggest factual independent production companies, Boundless (part of Fremantle Media UK) and prior to that, Director of Factual at Ricochet. In 2020 he was the Advisory Chair of the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Comments Off on EPIX, Banijay Rights Take SAS: Rogue Heroes to US
Premium network EPIX today announced it has acquired the major new six-part limited series SAS: Rogue Heroes from global distributor Banijay Rights.
In a deal negotiated by Banijay Rights’ Matt Creasey, EVP Sales, Co-Productions and Acquisitions, the acquisition marks the first international deal for SAS: Rogue Heroes.
Produced by Kudos and Nebulastar for EPIX and BBC, SAS: Rogue Heroes is a dramatized account of how the world’s greatest Special Forces unit, the SAS, was formed under extraordinary circumstances in the darkest days of World War Two. Based on Ben Macintyre’s best-selling book of the same name, the series centers on David Stirling, an eccentric young officer, who is hospitalized after a training exercise gone wrong. Convinced that traditional commando units don’t work, Stirling creates a radical plan that flies in the face of all accepted rules of modern warfare. He fights for permission to recruit the toughest, boldest, and brightest soldiers for a small undercover unit that will create mayhem behind enemy lines. More rebels than soldiers, Stirling’s team is every bit as complicated, flawed, and reckless as it is brave and heroic.
SAS: Rogue Heroes is developed for television and written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Taboo, A Christmas Carol) and will be directed by Tom Shankland (The Serpent, The Missing), with Stephen Smallwood (The Serpent, Patrick Melrose) as producer. The series is executive produced by Karen Wilson, Martin Haines and Emma Kingsman-Lloyd for Kudos, and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. Commissioned by the BBC, SAS: Rogue Heroes will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK.
Connor Swindells (Sex Education, Vigil) will play David Stirling, with Jack O’Connell (Skins, The North Water) as Paddy Mayne, Alfie Allen (Jojo Rabbit, Game of Thrones) as Jock Lewes, Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk, The King) as SAS Founding member Mike Sadler, and Sofia Boutella (Modern Love, Atomic Blonde) as Eve. Dominic West (The Wire, Appropriate Adult) will play Lieutenant Colonel Wrangel Clarke.
“Steven Knight and Kudos have created a gripping historical drama that complements EPIX’s lineup of elevated, cinematic storytelling,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX & President MGM Scripted Television. “We’re delighted to be teaming up with Banijay Rights to give this series an exclusive home on EPIX for the American audience.”
“SAS: Rogue Heroes is a masterstroke of a series from the visionary Steven Knight, packed with a stellar cast who bring this fantastic story to life. We are thrilled that EPIX have come on board to take this fantastic drama to a wider US audience,” said Matt Creasey, EVP Sales, Co-Productions and Acquisitions, Rest of the World, Banijay Rights.
Martin Haines, Co-Managing Director of Kudos added: “EPIX is a perfect partner that shares our vision and ambition. We are delighted they are our US partners on this epic show.”
The series will also star Amir El Masry (Industry, The One), Theo Barklem-Biggs (The First Team, Carnival Row), Corin Silva (The Bay, Emmerdale), Jacob Ifan (Bang, The Accident), Dónal Finn (Cursed, The Witcher), Jacob McCarthy (The Last Summer, A.P. Bio), César Domboy (Outlander, The Walk), Michael Schaeffer (Chernobyl, The Salisbury Poisonings) and Miles Jupp (The Great, The Durrells).
Commissioned by the BBC, SAS: Rogue Heroes will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK.
Comments Off on Banijay UK backs home grown talent with launch new scripted start up Double Dutch
Banijay UK are backing leading drama producer Iona Vrolyk in her own label, Double Dutch.
The new label will capitalise on Iona’s reputation for developing and producing popular, original, returning series and her excellent relationships with top writing talent.
Iona joined Tiger Aspect in 2013 and during her time with the company has developed and produced a range of successful, returning series for UK broadcasters. Her credits include Cuffs (BBC One), The Good Karma Hospital (ITV) and Intergalactic (Sky One).
Working closely and having enduring relationships with a range of established and up and coming writers, Iona’s most lasting collaboration is with UK showrunner Julie Gearey.
They first worked together on hit shows Secret Diary of a Call Girl (ITV 2) and Prisoners’ Wives (BBC One) before developing and executive producing Cuffs (BBC One) and most recently Intergalactic (Sky One). Through Double Dutch they are keen to build on their reputation for delivering high-end, entertaining and character-led series.
Lucinda Hicks said; “Start-ups are hard, we all know that, but when you have exceptional talent like Iona at the helm, the decision to just go for it is made easy. She has a rock-solid reputation for delivering popular, returning titles. She understands how to be commercial but won’t compromise on creative ambition. Writers love working with her and so do we.”
Iona Vrolyk added; “I am enormously excited to be launching Double Dutch at such a dynamic time in our industry. Double Dutch will focus on delivering high-end character-led original series. Julie Gearey and I already have exciting developments underway and I can’t wait to build a new slate of projects with the many wonderful writers that I have worked with in the past, as well developing new relationships too.”
Comments Off on Banijay Recruits Chief Commercial Officer
Banijay today announces the appointment of Owain Walbyoff as Chief Commercial Officer. Based in London, his newly devised role spans licensing, merchandising, gaming, gambling and music, and will commence on 1 September.
Walbyoff has spent almost 20 years working across sales and management in the licensing, media and technology space. In his most recent role in thetechnology industry, he oversaw licensing, R&D partnerships, and marketing activity, working with brands like LVMH, and Formula 1.
Elsewhere, in 2018, Walbyoff provided consultancy to ITV, helping with strategy and business development across its gaming, gambling, and app portfolio. He also worked with the licensing team there on its vast IP offering. Prior to this, he was Managing Director for Endemol Shine Group’s global licensing business. There he took care of sales and operations for gaming, gambling, licensing and merchandising across its 20-country-strong footprint. Marrying TV sponsors to branded commercial products, he directed record multi-territory licensing deals for brands like Deal or No Deal.
Reporting to Banijay’s COO, Peter Langenberg, Walbyoff will devise and execute the group’s overarching licensing strategy to drive market penetration and revenue growth. Tasked with maximising monetisation opportunities across the business’ extensive and high-profile IP portfolio, he will manage all teams across merchandising, brand licensing, gaming and gambling and music.
Peter Langenberg comments: “Owain has an incredibly strong track-record in the commercial space. With a CV spanning multiple genres and industries, he brings a wealth of knowledge across all disciplines and, having inked a number of stand-out deals in his career, we have no doubt he will be invaluable in strengthening our IP monetisation efforts moving forwards. As we build one of the world’s largest content catalogues, we were after a strong entrepreneurial and commercial mind to lead in this area and in him, we have found just that.”
Owain Walbyoff comments: “In some ways, it feels like a return and in others, a new, exciting adventure. With an abundance of world-renowned, commercially viable assets, a healthy pipeline of new IP and the most talented combined team, I feel privileged to be leading this department through its next phase. Historically, this portfolio has already performed incredibly, so let’s see where we can take it to next.”
The Banijay portfolio which Walbyoff will now represent comprises Masterchef, Deal or No Deal, Peaky Blinders, Temptation Island, Survivor, Tipping Point, Big Brother, Operation Triunfo, Simon’s Cat, Mr Bean, The Biggest Loser, Ready Steady Cook, Black Mirror, Miss France, Eat Well for Less and Crystal Maze.
Banijay today reveals a revised executive structure for its UK holding, following the recent acquisition of Endemol Shine Group. From September, former ESG Chief Creative Officer, Peter Salmon, will lead Banijay UK as Executive Chairman, with former territory Chief Operating Officer, Lucinda Hicks, by his side, taking up the post of Chief Executive Officer.
Moving forwards, Salmon will oversee the UK’s burgeoning portfolio of 25 unscripted and scripted production labels, with a focus on content and creativity, while Hicks will run the business’ day-to-day operations. In their new roles, the pair will work in unison to devise and implement the country’s integration plans in order to combine the entities by the end of 2020.
Banijay UK represents a powerhouse of productions which includes MasterChef, Young Wallander, Grantchester, Tipping Point, Mr Bean, Ambulance, Big Brother, Good Karma Hospital, Dickinson’s Real Deal, The Island with Bear Grylls, Eat Well for Less, Location, Location, Location, Scott Squad and Hunted. Catering for every genre and every taste, the combined operation brings together a multitude of indies and a host of the country’s leading creative entrepreneurs. In its new capacity, the business will continue to drive collaboration and creativity to bring the best and most innovative IP to local buyers, and Banijay’s clients worldwide.
Richard Johnston, current CEO of Endemol Shine UK, will leave the business as a result of the restructure. Johnston was appointed CEO in January 2015 having overseen the merger of the Endemol and Shine companies in the UK. During his time as CEO of the UK group, he has driven an expansion strategy, overseeing years of consistent growth. Under his leadership, the UK group has seen growth across the board but notably within the scripted business, SVOD revenues and regional production. The business has also achieved industry-leading gender pay and diversity results.
Marco Bassetti, Chief Executive Officer, Banijay Comments: “The UK is now one of our biggest markets, with a plethora of multi-genre labels and an incredible catalogue that has travelled the globe. With this scale we needed robust leadership, which spanned both the creative narrative of the group, as well as the operational one. Already heavily engaged in the country’s business and tapped into much of its network, Peter and Lucinda were in a prime position to take the group through the next stage of its journey. Brimming with IP and some of the best minds in the business, I’ve no doubt Banijay UK, with them at the helm, will continue to be at the epicentre of devising original and innovative brands, which get the world talking. I’ll finish by thanking Richard for his incredible dedication, commendable service and significant hard work in putting the UK group and its labels in such great health.”
Peter Salmon comments: “It’s a great moment to land one of the biggest production jobs in the world. Having worked across our UK slate from a global perspective for nearly five years, I know how exciting the shows and producers are. In Banijay UK we have an unrivalled network of creative talent, a multi-regional footprint, first-class formats and a world-beating catalogue – an incredible advantage moving forward.
In Lucinda Hicks I also have a terrific partner – bright, hard-working and a lot of fun. Together, we are dedicated to building an inclusive and ambitious operation, where our teams have the support, direction and leadership they need but also the autonomy and freedom necessary to deliver the best ideas on the planet. The future here is very bright and given our producers have really shone throughout lockdown – they’ve been clever, innovative and resilient – I’ve no doubt we can go on to do great things together.”
Lucinda Hicks comments: “It’s great to be combining this tremendous talent, entrepreneurialism and IP under one roof. It has been a pleasure working with Richard over the last few years. The power of our brands and the appetite for them globally has made ESUK such an exciting place to be, which is now bolstered further with more creative leaders and amazing IP. I look forward to working with Peter to build a combined creative portfolio renowned for its standout, world-class titles, driving innovation and originality and being at the forefront of positive change in the industry.”
Salmon joined Endemol Shine Group in 2016, and as CCO, oversaw the creative operations across the business worldwide, championing new ideas and accelerating the roll-out of the group’s brands across all platforms globally. Previously, he held senior leadership positions at the BBC, Channel 4, Granada TV and The Television Corporation. He is also celebrated as co-inventor and founder of Sport Relief, now a £200m charity, and Executive Producer of Aardman Animations’ Oscar-winning production The Wrong Trousers.
Hicks, who reports to Salmon, was appointed COO of Endemol Shine UK in March 2015. Prior to this she was joint MD at Dragonfly, having previously fulfilled a number of commercial, strategic and operational roles at Shine Group, Channel 4, FremantleMedia, and the BBC.
Johnston began his television career in 1996 when he joined Bazal Productions,the independent production company established by Sir Peter Bazalgette. He later became part of Endemol where he went on to hold a number of senior positions including Joint Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.