Irish prodco Screentime ShinAwiL is parting ways with Banijay Group three years after the Paris-based media company took a stake in The Voice of Ireland producer.
Speaking on a Realscreen London panel this morning (September 30), Larry Bass - CEO of Screentime ShinAwiL – said the Belfast-based The Voice of Ireland prodco was taking back control of the company following a share buyback from Screentime and, effectively, Banijay, which took a stake in ShinAwil through its 2012 acquisition of Screentime Australia, for which the Irish producer was an affiliate.
Following the buyback, Screentime ShinAwiL will revert to its original name, ShinAwiL.
Bass called the decision to go solo an “amicable exit” and said it was based on Screentime ShinAwiL’s interest in scripted production, ” which wasn’t something that Banijay technically wanted to do from our point of view,” explains the exec.
Secondly, the company is looking to grow in the UK, and questioned Banijay’s ability to help them expand into the market following the July merger with Zodiak.
“Banijay has a fantastic group of production companies in the UK, so the desire to grow our efficiency in the UK simply wasn’t there,” he said. “There was no requirement for that, and it also let us have the ability to say, ‘Let’s just part ways here and go off and do what we do.’”
The exec says the two parties will still work together on copros and distribution, and has two shows in the pipeline so far.
“We are very pleased to continue our successful distribution agreement with ShinAwiL in Ireland and look forward to announcing further mutually rewarding productions in the coming months,” said Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay Group, in a statement.
Bass formed ShinAwiL Productions in 1999, and served as MD for three years before entering a JV with Screentime Australia in 2003 and forming Screentime ShinAwiL. Company credits include MasterChef Ireland, You’re a Star and Teenage Kicks.
The company opened its first UK office in Belfast in 2009. Bass tells realscreen that the producer is also planning to open shop in London in the coming months.
“We’re going to base it around production so we’re in discussion with various broadcasters around shows and the rest will flow out of that,” said Bass.