Elisabeth Murdoch sets sights on continent
LONDON — After building Shine Group into a U.K. powerhouse, Elisabeth Murdoch is now looking to conquer Europe.Shine will set up its first operation on the continent with the launch of Shine Germany in July. The move is part of an international expansion push that aims to plant the Shine flag in France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Australasia. Company aims to compete head-on with Europe’s largest media outfits as well as Hollywood’s majors by producing local-language TV fare in a range of territories. Shine chair-CEO Murdoch called the international expansion plan “key to the next phase of our development.” Shine Germany, which will have offices in Munich and Cologne, will be run by Axel Kuehn, former senior VP of programming for German channel RTL 2. Executive producer Holger Rettler will act as deputy CEO. The Teutonic subsid aims to produce German-language programming for Europe’s largest TV market. Kuehn and Rettler have previously worked with execs from Shine in setting up Shine and Reveille-owned shows in the German market. Shine, which owns several London-based production companies, as well as the Los Angeles-based Reveille and distributor ShineReveille Intl., has in the past decade blossomed into the U.K.’s second biggest indie. In the past year, Shine has increased revenues by almost 50% — from £146 million ($211 million) to $312 million. In announcing Shine Germany, Murdoch said the company intends to pursue startup business opportunities and possible acquisitions in its target expansion markets. Comparing Rettler and Kuehn to the clutch of entrepreneurial execs who run the various Shine units, she praised the pair as “like-minded.” “Our intention is to look for people who match our beliefs and culture to form new bases for the Shine Group internationally,” Murdoch added. Rettler and Kuehn first worked together at German shingle Tresor in 2003, making “Supernanny” for RTL plus “Do It Yourself S.O.S.” and “Besser Essen” for ProSieben. Kuehn also set up international formats “Bratcamp” and “Popstars” in Germany, closing the deal for Tresor to produce “Bratcamp” (“Teenager ausser Kontrolle”) for RTL and making the deal that moved “Popstars” from RTL2 to ProSieben.