Last week Paris-based Banijay Entertainment announced it finalized the acquisition of UK prodco Zig Zag productions. Realscreen spoke with Zig Zag MD Danny Fenton and Banijay’s CEO Guillaume de Verges about the deal.
Ever since last year’s MIPCOM word has been out that Banijay Entertainment had its eye on a majority stake in Zig Zag. The deal was finalized last week, under which Zig Zag joins Banijay’s growing roster of companies which includes Scandinavian production unit Nordisk Film TV, Brainpool, U.S.-based Angel City Factory and a number of production companies in France, Russia and Spain.
The deal also includes the acquisition of Zig Zag subsidiary HooHah, a digital creative agency which specializes in short-form and branded content. Under the new deal Zig Zag plans to step up its expansion by looking at the potential of moving into new genres and potentially get funding for pilots and optioning ideas that the company wasn’t able to do when it was self-funded. ‘The positive of being part of that group is that they will hopefully give us more support in developing our projects and co-financing them as well,’ says Zig Zag MD Danny Fenton.
Though it’s early days, Banijay CEO Guillaume de Verges says Nordisk and Zig Zag both have new ways of thinking about the production process that will bolster Banijay’s presence on the global stage. ‘Both companies have creative talents and the desire to develop together a new model of production company and distribution in the media,’ he says. ‘Nordisk Film TV’s and Zig Zag’s ability to create and develop new successful formats are significant assets for our company.’
In 2010 Fenton says Zig Zag will continue to work primarily on factual programs in the UK and U.S. market while placing a heavier focus on formats which they hope to roll out through the other companies under Banijay’s umbrella.
Banijay, which launched in 2008, is on the look out for more acquisition possibilities. De Verges says the company is currently looking in the Netherlands and Benelux and is in discussions with some American companies. ‘We are looking for partners whose formats are able to be exported and adapted in the whole world, and who are willing to be involved in a globally-oriented group,’ says de Verges.