In a strategic realignment described by FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz (pictured) as “a very powerful shift,” the company will retire its FremantleMedia Enterprises brand and create a stand-alone, global division for distribution as well as kids and family entertainment.
All other digital, licensing, sponsorship and other ancillary activities will be under the auspices of the company’s regional production operations, while a new digital and branded entertainment division will be created.
David Ellender, CEO of FME, will be appointed as CEO, FremantleMedia International and Kids, overseeing the new distribution and family entertainment division. He will report directly to FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz. Sander Schwartz will continue to lead the kids and family entertainment division and will report to Ellender.
The company says a head of digital and branded entertainment will be announced soon.
“This is a very powerful shift in our company’s structure that we believe will significantly strengthen our core business activities, while also better positioning us to capitalize on growth opportunities for the future,” said Frot-Coutaz in a statement. “We have a built a formidable expertise in extending our market-leading brands both on and beyond the television screen, through licensing, sponsorship, digital activities and other valuable commercial ancillaries. By transferring these skills into our local production businesses, we create a far more direct and seamless integration between our production efforts and the commercial activity surrounding our hit shows.
“Not only will this bolster and enhance our creative development process, but it will also give us the ability to manage and grow our brands in a far more holistic way, creating added value and the opportunity for even greater engagement with viewers around the world,” she added.
There is no word yet on how many staff will be affected by the move.
The announcement comes as FremantleMedia’s parent company, RTL Group, revealed that its majority owner, German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, is considering a reduction of its shares held in the company, while maintaining a qualified majority of approximately 75%. The Guardian reports that Bertelsmann aims to unload a €2 billion (just over US$2.7 billion) stake in the European broadcast company, which would reduce its stake from 92.3% to somewhere around the 75% mark.