Unscripted

Discovery buys UK indie Betty

Discovery Communications has acquired its first UK indie producer, buying Betty - the prodco behind formats such as Freaky Eaters, Beauty and the Beast, Food Hospital and Country House Rescue - for an undisclosed sum.
November 7, 2011

Discovery Communications has acquired its first UK indie producer, buying Betty Рthe prodco behind formats such as Freaky Eaters, Beauty and the Beast, Food Hospital and Country House Rescue Рfor an undisclosed sum.

The 10-year-old indie, which is run by CEO Liz Warner, head of production Sophy Walker and creative director Walter Iuzzolino, will gain “a global infrastructure and investment to maximize and expand its creative output worldwide,” it said in a statement.

Betty will continue to operate independently from its London headquarters and all of its current staff will be retained in the new arrangement. Warner said the deal “gives us the freedom to be a thriving UK producer and gives Discovery the benefit of our increasing number of formats and series for their international business.”

Discovery Communications, meanwhile, said the deal was part of several key initiatives it has in the works, which include broadening the programming focused on its flagship lifestyle network, TLC, which is now in 100 million households internationally.

To date, TLC in the U.S. has commissioned two runs of Betty’s BBC3 series Freaky Eaters, and under the agreement Betty will develop and produce new ideas and formats for Discovery’s full portfolio of factual and lifestyle channels. In addition, Discovery will have the option to acquire formats from Betty that have previously been produced from the company’s programming library.

Lee Bartlett, Discovery Communications’ executive VP of global production management, business and legal affairs, said: “This is a global deal, and Discovery looks forward to providing the infrastructure and resources of our global platform of 142 networks in 210 countries to enable Betty to extend its content to our channels in the U.S. and around the world.

“We are looking forward to Betty infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with award-winning storytelling that will be seen on TLC and Discovery’s channels around the world.”

Finance firm Clarity and Wiggin Solicitors advised Betty’s shareholders on the deal, while HRO Grant Dawe acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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