As one of Europe’s leading entertainment groups, Constantin Film is expanding its television business in Germany as well as abroad.
With a broad and diversified portfolio and various subsidiaries, the group works with every major broadcaster in Germany: ZDF, ARD, RTL, ProSieben and Sat.1.
Today it produces series, movies, entertainment shows and scripted reality formats for leading broadcasters at home and, increasingly, globally. The company has set up joint ventures in more than a dozen countries where it produces versions of hit formats.
Constantin does not publicize overall revenue by segment, but Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin’s head of film and television, says as a general rule, the group’s feature film business accounts for more than 50% of sales, with TV production making up the rest.
“Television is a very important part of our business. Especially the international part of our entertainment television division has become more substantial over the last years,” Moszkowicz says.
The company operates two main TV units — Constantin Television, which focuses on fictional series and TV movies, and Constantin Entertainment, which specializes in entertainment and scripted reality formats.
In addition, Constantin subsidiaries also produce television fare. Besides feature film productions such as “Vicky and the Treasure of the Gods” and “We Are the Night,” Munich-based Rat Pack, run by Christian Becker, produced recent works such as “The Secret of Loch Ness” for local broadcaster Sat.1 and ProSieben’s “Funny Movie” series, comprising spoofs of well-known films.
Berlin shingle Moovie, run by Oliver Berben, produces solely for television, including the upcoming “Verbrechen” (Crime), a six-part miniseries for ZDF based on the bestselling book by author and Berlin defense attorney Ferdinand von Schirach, and ZDF’s long-running crime drama movie series “Rosa Roth” as well as ARD’s recent TV movie “Der verlorene sohn” (The Lost Son), about a young German convert to Islam.
Constantin Television, meanwhile, has been growing fast since launching in 2006 in an effort to bundle the production activities of scripted fare such as sitcoms, series, miniseries and movies.
Headed by Robin von der Leyen, Kerstin Schmidbauer and Fritz Wildfeuer, Constantin Television produces the hit daily soap “Dahoam is dahoam” for regional pubcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk as well as the new RTL action series “Die draufgaenger,” about two mismatched Dresden cops.
Along with other key subsidiaries, including Polyscreen and Olga Film, Constantin’s scripted fare covers the entire spectrum.
Constantin Entertainment, meanwhile, continues to grow internationally with its focus on scripted reality shows and entertainment formats.
“We’re not selling those formats, we’re really doing joint ventures with local partners,” says Moszkowicz. “We’re producing the formats that we develop within those countries. And that is getting bigger and bigger.”
The company, headed by Ulrich Brock, Otto Steiner and Onno Mueller, boasts more than a dozen international joint ventures in various countries, including Russia, Poland, Turkey, Israel and Abu Dhabi.
In addition to such scripted reality shows as Sat.1’s crime skeins “Lenssen & Partner” and “K11,” Constantin Entertainment also produces court show “Richter Alexander Hold” (Judge Alexander Hold) for the web.
Such skeins have become hits abroad. In Poland Constantin Entertainment Polska produces “Judge Anna Maria Wesolowska” and “Family Court” for TVN.
Likewise, Istanbul-based Constantin Entertainment Turkey produces “Ceza mahkemesi” (Criminal Court) for Turkish web Kanal D.
Other shows include Greek and Serbian versions of “Home Makeover” as well as “Greek Idol” and “Croatian Idol” — versions of the popular “Idols” format.
Constantin Film is an integral part of the Constantin Medien group and shares the same chief exec as the umbrella group as well as its immediate parent company, Swiss media giant Highlight Communications: Bernhard Burgener serves as CEO of all three companies.
Highlight has owned 100% of Constantin Film since 2009, when it took the company private following a squeeze-out of minority shareholders. Constantin Medien owns 47.3% of Highlight.
While the two companies have not officially merged, they are both run by Burgener and thus operate as a cohesive conglom.
Media mogul Leo Kirch, who died in July, was the largest single shareholder in Constantin Medien but played a passive role in the group’s day-to-day operations.
At Constantin Medien’s annual general meeting on July 19, company executive and shareholders observed a minute’s silence in memory of Kirch.
“Dr. Kirch, one of the leading figures in the German and international media industry, passed away last week on 14 July at the age of 84. We at Constantin Medien also have a lot to thank Leo Kirch for. He was a close friend to our company, helping and supporting it, and for me personally, for many years, he was a business friend who was fair and someone one could rely on,” Burgener said.
Constantin Medien continues to focus on film as well as sports.
Its Sport1 division operates the free-TV sports channels Sport1 (formerly DSF) and Sport1 HD as well as the pay outlet Sport1 Plus in addition to online and mobile activities.
On the various platforms, Sport1 offers premium sport programming such as national and international soccer, basketball, ice hockey, boxing and motor sports.
With 92% network coverage, the free TV channel reaches 33 million households throughout Germany.