Babelsberg back on keeper list

Studio to remain part of Viv U's core business

BERLIN — Vivendi Universal has confirmed it will hold on to Studio Babelsberg, which is now looking to exploit synergies within the group.

“My plans for Studio Babelsberg have been affirmed,” said Thierry Potok, head of Babelsberg parent Vivendi Deutschland. “According to the proposal by (Viv U) chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou, Studio Babelsberg will remain part of the group’s core business.”

Potok said the decision provides security for the studio as well as its employees and clients and added that consolidation would continue.

Babelsberg is seeking to strengthen cooperation with other Viv U companies. “The Pianist,” which was shot at the studio and produced by fellow Viv U subsid StudioCanal, was a start, Potok said. Dubbing for StudioCanal’s U.K. comedy “The Guru” was recently done at Babelsberg, and similar projects are set to follow.

Potok said he would also seek to increase financing possibilities for projects that come to the studio. Babelsberg already has a financing agreement with the German state of Brandenburg. Vivendi Deutschland shelved plans for a film fund due to the “worldwide media and stock-market crisis,” which made the fund a hard sell.

The studio also wants more German productions at the facility and is aiming to expand its technical services and better integrate them into “customer-oriented packages.”

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