Drive launches distribution arm, secures Netflix deal

Drive Media Rights will look to specialize in the distribution of factual and fact-ent programming, and is set to unveil its full slate of TV and digital content in Cannes. (Pictured: Drive joint MDs Lilla Hurst and Ben Barrett)
September 14, 2016

Drive Media Rights, a new distribution division launched by London-based coproduction and financing firm Drive, has inked its first sales deal with global streaming giant Netflix.

The SVOD has acquired Ronachan Film’s First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon, an hour-long documentary from director Angus Macqueen that originally aired on UK pubcaster Channel 4.

Netflix has picked up the worldwide rights to the film, excluding the UK, France and Germany.

Drive Media Rights will initially look to specialize in the distribution of factual and fact-ent programming. In the coming weeks, the firm is expected to unveil its full slate of both TV and digital content for next month’s MIPCOM market in Cannes.

The launch of the new division comes three years after Lilla Hurst and Ben Barrett (pictured), who share the title of MD, founded Drive in an effort to facilitate the production funding process through source financing and consultancy services. Its stable of clients includes Raw TV, Barcroft Productions, October Films, Blink, yap films and Lightbox.

Both Hurst and Barrett have previously run distribution businesses. Hurst previously served as MD of London-based distributor TVF while Barrett formerly held the title of MD for extreme sports and adventure firm Extreme International.

Further bolstering Drive Media Rights’ line-up is Laura Masson, formerly Zodiak VP of sales, who joined Drive as head of international sales in March. The shingle is further planning on boosting its sales team with additional hires.

“Following three years of strong growth, our aim is to provide a 360-degree funding, sales and distribution business for the best independent producers and the time is right to expand into content distribution,” said Hurst in a statement.

“Drive raised over US$10 million of funding for our clients last year, and our plan is to expand the offering to our existing clients while also offering both funding and distribution to others, with neither service being mutually exclusive,” added Barrett.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.