Entertainment One completes acquisition of Sierra Pictures

Entertainment OneEntertainment One has completed the purchase of the remaining stake in feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures, in which it first invested in 2015. As part of the move, Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg have joined the company as president of film and executive VP of film and global operations, respectively. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sierra Pictures has backed the likes of “Tully,” “American Animals,” and the upcoming adaptation of James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces.” In his new role, Meyer will oversee all film content across eOne, while remaining CEO of Sierra/Affinity, the international sales company that is wholly owned by eOne. Schaberg will also continue as COO of Sierra/Affinity in addition to taking on his new role at eOne. Sierra/Affinity will remain independently operated.

eOne’s CEo Darren Throop said, “Welcoming Sierra to eOne is an important next step in our strategy to increase our direct involvement and ownership in content. Together, we will continue to build strong relationships with high-profile creative talent domestically and abroad”.

Canada, Toronto & USA, Beverly Hills, CA

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Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. acquires The Weather Channel

Entertainment StudiosEntertainment Studios, one of the largest independent producers and distributors of film and television with nearly 160 million aggregate subscribers across the US, has acquired The Weather Group, parent company of The Weather Channel television network and Local Now streaming service. Byron Allen, founder and owner of Entertainment Studios, purchased the Weather Group through his company, Allen Media LLC, from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and Comcast/NBC Universal.

The Weather Channel is one of the largest cable television networks not owned by a major conglomerate and is the nation’s only 24-hour source of national storm coverage. Harris Poll has ranked The Weather Channel as the “TV News Brand of the Year” for eight years in a row. The network recently launched a community platform, weloveweather.tv, to create a two-way dialogue with fans.

Allen said, “The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives. We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & Atlanta, GA

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Park Group and Studio Squared merge to form Tilt Creative + Production

Tilt CPFilm and video production firm Park Group and the content specialists from Studio Squared have merged as Tilt Creative + Production, a fully integrated creative and production firm formed to assist national and local clients with creation of traditional and digital video content.

Park GroupUnder the terms of the merger, Park Group founder Dave Trownsell and partner Stacy Murphy will hold a minority share of TiltCP, which is majority owned by former S2 president Ron Carey. Carey will serve as CEO of the combined entity, which employs just under 40 people.Studio Squared

“Combining as one allows us to concept a creative idea, produce that idea, edit that idea and pull it off through the efficiencies we gain by keeping the entire process in-house,” says Carey, who served as a senior vice president at The Martin Agency before joining S2 in 2014. “Content is proliferating across a number of traditional and digital channels and screen sizes, so we have built TiltCP to deliver a high volume of quality, creative content that remains reflective of every client’s brand.”

The Park and S2 merger comes as content demands for global brands are shifting away from traditional channels and moving onto a variety of digital platforms, streaming services, social media sites, and mobile devices. With the newfound demand comes the need for a high volume of creative production that must be met with speed and efficiency while still maintaining quality and ensuring that the client’s brand is accurately presented in the final product.

“As we have for over thirty years, our team will continue offering full-service production for television, film, and traditional advertising and marketing needs,” Trownsell says. “As we looked to the future of our industry, we recognized that we must also evolve and combine creative, strategy, production and post-production under one roof to offer clients a leaner and more responsive model to meet their needs.”

Founded in 1986, Park Group has become one of the largest media production groups in Virginia, offering national clients turnkey production and post-production services. S2 was formed by The Martin Agency in 2008 to produce digital point-of-sale, in-store advertising for major retailers and other businesses. The company was taken private this year by Carey, and several previous S2 employees have joined TiltCP. Clients include Walmart, Audi, Capital One, Ferguson Enterprises, and others.

USA, Richmond, VA

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