1864 film still

Scandi company is in post with epic war drama '1864'

LONDON — FremantleMedia, producer and distributor of global TV brands like “The X Factor,” “American Idol” and “Got Talent,” has continued its push into the scripted biz by inking a deal to acquire a majority stake in Miso Film, a leading Scandi drama production company.

FremantleMedia will take a 51% holding, with the option to acquire the remaining stake in the future. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Miso was founded in 2004 by producers Jonas Allen and Peter Bose, who had previously worked at Swedish shingle Yellow Bird on crime series “Wallander.”

Miso, which is named after Bose’s cat, is based in Denmark, but operates across Scandinavia. It focuses on high-end primetime TV series and films for the international market, such as Ole Bornedal’s epic war drama “1864″ (pictured), which is in post. “1864,” which will be produced both as a miniseries and a feature film, is Denmark’s biggest ever production, with a budget of $31 million.

Miso made its reputation with crime thrillers, such as “Those Who Kill,” which has been picked up by A&E Networks for a U.S. remake, “Dicte,” which has been a hit on Denmark’s TV2, Sweden’s TV4 and Norway’s TV2, and long-running skein “Varg Veum.”

Miso also has produced feature films, like Danish thriller “The Candidate,” and co-produced other films, like the Norwegian World War II resistance drama “Max Manus,” which was the biggest box-office success ever in Norway, and the English-language pic “Ginger and Rosa.” Its latest film, “Danny’s Doomsday,” is in post, and will be ready for release in fall 2014.

Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO FremantleMedia, commented: “This is an important milestone in building our primetime scripted business and strengthening our position in the Scandinavian market. Jonas and Peter’s talent and strong track record in producing high-end drama, together with their current slate, makes Miso Film a perfect fit for FremantleMedia, and complements our existing high-end scripted business in the U.S., Germany and Australia.”

Allen and Bose commented: “Partnering with FremantleMedia is an important step forward in Miso Film’s growth strategy. We strongly believe that FremantleMedia will be a key driver in Miso Film’s further expansion in the Scandinavian market, and release the full potential of the company’s productions internationally.”

FremantleMedia is a division of Europe’s biggest broadcasting network, RTL Group, which in turn is controlled by media conglom Bertelsmann.

FremantleMedia’s strategy is to diversify its activities, which currently are focused on gameshow and talent-show formats, and produce more premium scripted content and digital products.

At Mipcom TV market in October, Frot-Coutaz said: “Scripted is a channel-defining genre, and it also builds a library. This business is about owning IP and building libraries, and anything where you’re building a library, you know in the long run it will be valuable.”

She added, “Right now, 30% of our revenues are scripted. If in five years it could be 50%, I’d be happy with that.”

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