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We Are Family: Consolidation in the UK

It's an incestuous little business, this non-fiction industry. And that's especially true in Britain, where consolidation has run amok these past few years. Many of the companies that made our Global 100 are part of bigger media concerns, and in some cases, they're related.
April 1, 2006

It’s an incestuous little business, this non-fiction industry. And that’s especially true in Britain, where consolidation has run amok these past few years. Many of the companies that made our Global 100 are part of bigger media concerns, and in some cases, they’re related.

Consider Ten Alps as a prime example. The company was founded in 1999 by Alex Connock, Bob Geldof and Des Shaw, and has continued to grow exponentially ever since. (After all, it should be big, the company name is ‘planet’ spelled backwards – well, almost.) Ten Alps non-fiction holdings include 3BM Television, Brook Lapping/Teachers TV, and Blakeway. (Bolding indicates inclusion on the G100.)

Over at distributor/going media concern All3Media, non-fiction holdings include Cactus TV, Lion Television and North One Television. FremantleMedia boasts Talkback Thames, Be Happy, and Grundy. RDF Media is connected to Radar TV and IWC Media. The Television Corporation can lay a claim to Mentorn, Sunset+Vine, Folio, as well as Redback Films. And, at press time, talk began circulating that TWI planned to buy both Tiger Aspect and Darlow Smithson.

Some pundits have said that consolidation will continue in the UK as congloms buy up more indies. The real question is: when do all those independent spirits get fed up and leave to start new companies? That’s the cycle of life.

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