German Beta Cinema takes stake in UK sales company Cornerstone Films

Beta CinemaGerman production and distribution outfit Beta Cinema has acquired a minority stake in Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder’s London and LA-based international sales outfit Cornerstone Films. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The two companies will partner on commercially-driven English-language films, combining Beta’s production and distribution operations with Cornerstone’s sales activities – the aim is for the joint alliance to create a stronger foothold for both outfits across the global marketplace.

Recent deals struck between the two outfits include Cornerstone’s sales title Georgetown, directed by Christoph Waltz, which Beta will distribute in Germany. Beta also recently acquired a stake in renowned German film and TV production company X-Filme (Babylon Berlin), which has previously worked closely with Cornerstone.

X-Filme’s Uwe Schott and Beta’s Dirk Schuerhoff said: “We’re very excited to announce our partnership with Cornerstone Films, with whom we have collaborated successfully on various projects during the past years. The partnership is a strategic and creative fit that will allow us to continue to produce ambitious and daring international cinema.”

Germany, Munich, UK, London & USA, Los Angeles, CA

Viacom acquires online conference VidCon

ViacomAmerican multinational media conglomerate Viacom has acquired VidCon, host of the world’s largest multi-day conference for the global online community.

With more than 30,000 attendees and 80-plus sponsors (including, for many years, Viacom), at its flagship Anaheim event, VidCon has become the largest multi-day conference of its kind and cemented itself as a leading event for the worldwide online video community. And while VidCon has already carried this momentum into events in Amsterdam and Melbourne, Viacom’s global network of platforms and properties give it the resources to further increase that reach both internationally and within the United States.

Jason Jordan, Viacom executive vice president of Multiplatform Strategy and Operations, said, “VidCon has become the foremost gathering place for the passionate online video community, and the access to talent, experts and education that VidCon provides for attendees is unparalleled. We’re excited to partner with the team to help achieve their vision and expand VidCon’s reach around the world while maintaining the grassroots energy and authenticity that makes the experience so unique and special to so many.”

USA, New York, NY & Missoula, MT

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The Social Chain Group acquires The Football Republic from FremantleMedia

Social Chain GroupSocial media marketing agency and media publishing house The Social Chain Group has acquired a network of sport social media channels, The Football Republic, from FremantleMedia. The deal will see TFR’s brands such as The Full Time Devils become a part of Media Chain – The Social Chain Group’s social media publishing house. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition will increase Media Chain’s sport network reach by more than 2.5 million, taking the company’s global sport network to over 17 million followers, adding to its SPORF network. Launched in 2015 by Shotglass Media, the digital arm of FremantleMedia UK, TFR has built a large fan base with three million followers across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Kat Hebden, managing director at Shotglass Media, said, “We launched The Football Republic because we saw a gap in the market for football entertainment content that served a young, digitally savvy audience. We believe Media Chain will provide a great home for these communities to continue to flourish.”

UK, Manchester & London

Meredith Corporation completes acquisition of Time Inc.

MeredithMeredith Corporation has completed its acquisition of Time Inc., with February 2018 the first day of operations for the combined company. Time Inc. shareholders received $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion originally announced on 26 November 2017. Meredith also announced fiscal 2018 second quarter and first half results.

Meredith Corporation Chairman and CEO Stephen M. Lacy said, “With this acquisition, we are creating a premier media and marketing company serving 200 million American consumers that’s positioned for growth across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile, and social platforms. The combined portfolio joins the rich content-creation capabilities of many of the media industry’s strongest national brands with a powerful local television business that is generating record earnings.”

USA, New York, NY & Des Moines, Iowa

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Mediawan acquires 3 major French production companies

MediawanMediawan, an independent European audiovisual content platform, is planning to acquire majority stakes in three production companies: Makever, Mon Voisin Productions and Storia Television (the company created to take over EuropaCorp’s TV business, excluding US series).

Under the terms, Mediawan (i) has acquired, through the Storia Television subsidiary, part of EuropaCorp Television’s business, and (ii) would purchase majority stakes in Makever and Mon Voisin Productions subject to the finalization of the transactional documents and to the usual conditions precedent for these types of transactions. All of these transactions could be finalized during the first quarter of 2018.

These companies gather together numerous major projects in France and internationally. They would allow Mediawan to continue supplement its premium content offering and expand its production volumes, as they represented revenues of over €50 million in 2017. Mediawan is thus strengthening its position in European independent production, notably by becoming the leading French producer of TV fiction.

Pierre-Antoine Capton, Mediawan’s Chairman of the Board, says: “These strategic investments in EuropaCorp TV, Makever and Mon Voisin Productions would be another milestone in the implementation of Mediawan’s strategy. With an extensive offering of premium content combining fiction, animated content and documentaries, Mediawan is in the best position possible to meet the substantial market demand.”

France, Paris

9 Story Media group acquires Out of the Blue Enterprises

9 Story9 Story Media Group has acquired Out of the Blue Enterprises, a leader in children’s media across content creation, TV production, digital applications and consumer products. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2005 by Blue’s Clues co-creator Angela Santomero and former Nickelodeon executive Samantha Freeman, Out of the Blue is best known for the Emmy-nominated literacy series Super WHY; the Mister Rogers Neighborhood inspired Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; and the interactive art adventure program Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios. Out of the Blue also owns the legacy toy brand Colorforms, named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Toys of All-Time, and the company is in production on a new animated series based on the classic brand.

9 Story and Out of the Blue have previously worked together on the hit animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which 9 Story produces and distributes internationally with The Fred Rogers Company in association with Out of the Blue. The two companies have also worked together on Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios, which Out of the Blue produces and 9 Story is the animation partner. Both series are currently in production on new seasons.

Vince Commisso, President & CEO of 9 Story Media Group, said: “Out of the Blue has a proven track record in developing unique and beloved brands for a preschool audience. Joining forces broadens our development capabilities, increases our consumer products reach and extends our presence in the U.S.”

Canada, Toronto & USA, New York, NY

Schneps Communications acquires Noticia Long Island

SchnepsSchneps Communications, the parent company of the Long Island Press, has acquired Noticia, a Spanish-language media company with more than 150,000 readers online and in print. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1991 by William and Vicky Diaz whose daughters Silvana (now the publisher) and Cinthia became co-owners in 2009, the newspaper covers and circulates in the counties of Nassau & Suffolk. It ran Hispanic networking events and a scholarship fund, Fundación Hispanoamericana, for many years. It is now the largest Hispanic family-owned multimedia news organization in the area.

Victoria Schneps-Yunis, president and founder of Schneps Communications, said, “We’re very proud to have acquired Noticia and the very special people who have built it the past 26 years. This will offer an unparalleled opportunity for clients who want to reach the Hispanic/Latino audience in New York City and Long Island.”

USA, New York, NY