ITV Studios revamps distribution business; John de Mol exits deal

ITV Studios, the TV production arm of British commercial broadcaster ITV, is reorganizing its international distribution and commercial business, resulting in the phasing out of the Talpa Media brand and ...
October 1, 2019

ITV Studios, the TV production arm of British commercial broadcaster ITV, is reorganizing its international distribution and commercial business, resulting in the phasing out of the Talpa Media brand and the exit of John de Mol from his ITV Studios deal.

The new structure, which will be operational in January, consists of three divisions or “centers”: the Creative Network, Global Entertainment and Global Distribution.

The Creative Network, to be overseen by Mike Beale, will aim to boost creativity across the 36 unscripted format labels at ITV Studios. The focus will be on developing ideas with a global appeal and encouraging sharing of information across the group.

Meanwhile, Global Entertainment brings together international unscripted format sales and exploitation across the group. Global Entertainment will represent the catalogs of Talpa Media, Armoza Formats, Twofour and the existing ITV Studios unscripted format catalog. Talpa Global, part of Talpa Media, will be fully integrated into Global Entertainment to take the lead on the sales and exploitation of unscripted formats as they roll out around the world.

Talpa founder John De Mol has opted to not extend his earn out period resulting from ITV Studios’ acquisition of Talpa Media in 2015, and is choosing to focus on his Talpa Network broadcast operation. He will continue to offer managerial consultation up to April of next year.

“ITV Studios has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with John De Mol, since the acquisition of Talpa Media in 2015. We wish John well and look forward to continuing our partnership with him via the first look agreement between John and ITV Studios, in relation to future formats,” said a spokesperson for ITV Studios.

It is still unclear as to what impact the restructuring will have on the Armoza Formats and Twofour Rights businesses, which previously handled their own format sales.

Global Entertainment will handle format licensing including titles like The Voice and its spin-off’s The Voice Kids and The Voice Senior, Love Island, Hell’s Kitchen, Come Dine With Me, The Four, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, Four Weddings, I Love My Country and The Chase.

Finally, Global Distribution will focus on the international distribution of drama and the finished tape versions of all other ITV Studios programs.

As part of this restructuring, the Talpa Media brand will cease to exist, replaced by Global Entertainment, which will be led by Talpa COO Maarten Meijs and be based in the Netherlands. The production companies Talpa Netherlands (Talpa Content, Talpa Productions and Fictie), Mas Media and Vorst Media will all integrate into ITV Studios Netherlands, which will be led by Karin de Groot as CEO and Edwin van der Veen as COO.

The production companies Talpa Middle East and Talpa Germany will integrate into ITV Studios. Talpa Middle East will be renamed ITV Studios Middle East and continue to be led by Ziad Kebbi. Talpa Germany will continue to be led by Karsten Roeder.

ITV Studios COO David McGraynor will take on increased responsibility, with oversight of all commercial operations, including Global Entertainment and Global Distribution, with head of distribution Ruth Berry and Meijs reporting directly into him.

Meanwhile, president of international studios Maria Kyriacou has joined Viacom International Media Networks after nine years at ITV. As president for VIMN UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, she will have oversight of all its media networks and related businesses in 33 European countries, including Channel 5 in the UK.

“In line with ITV’s More Than TV strategy, this reorganization allows us to capitalize on the opportunity of a growing content marketplace, and to drive more value from our award-winning content,” said Julian Bellamy, managing director of ITV Studios, in a statement. “The centers of excellence strengthens ITV Studios potential to provide channel and platform partners with talked-about hit returning programs as well as building brands and franchises, in an increasingly competitive global market.”

(With files from Barry Walsh)

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