ITV Ups Stake In Nordic VOD Channel Cirkus

U.K. broadcaster ITV has taken a majority stake in Nordic on-demand channel Cirkus.

ITV has been a minority shareholder in the biz since 2014 and has increased its investment “to support the channel’s future growth,” it says.

Cirkus launched in Sweden in December 2013 in partnership with ComHem, the country’s biggest cable operator, and Swedish DTT platform Boxer. The service showcases British TV series – dubbed the “Great British TV” SVOD offering — through program supply agreements with ITV Studios, Global Entertainment, BBC Worldwide, Endemol and All3Media International. Since its inception, it has also concluded deals with major pay TV operators in Norway, Finland and Iceland.

Cirkus has begun to acquire program rights on an exclusive basis and has already secured the exclusive on-demand rights to the latest seasons of BBC police click “Line of Duty” and upcoming ITV production “Victoria,” a new eight-part period drama that follows the life of Queen Victoria.

ITV has built significant scale in key creative markets around the world, creating and producing returnable programs and formats in entertainment, factual entertainment and drama as well as developing a global pay and distribution business. It has the distribution rights for a raft of top-notch Brit titles including “Poldark,” “Shetland,” “Vera,” “Endeavour” and “Lewis,” all of which are available to Nordic viewers via Cirkus.

“Cirkus is an important part of ITV’s international pay television distribution strategy,” said Martin Goswami, ITV director of pay and distribution. “We look forward to accelerating the growth of the business through investment in exclusive content rights and supporting its development as it expands into new territories.”

Cirkus’ Mark Bradford and Hugh Williams said: “ITV’s decision to step-up its investment is a tremendous vote of confidence for Cirkus. Being the Nordic on-demand TV business of one of Europe’s largest and most successful vertically integrated content and television businesses will strengthen our position in the market enormously.”

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