Marenzi will be based in Beverly Hills and London. The hire comes on the heels of IMG’s success in handling international TV sales for the AMC/BBC co-production “The Night Manager,” which was produced by WME clients Ink Factory.
IMG already has a well-established sales infrastructure for handling sports- and fashion-related programming, among other unscripted productions. The boom in the global demand for high-end scripted series makes expansion with traditional entertainment programming a natural move for IMG.
“IMG is uniquely positioned to handle our clients’ global sales needs across all forms of content. We are proud of our recent successes, and see a tremendous growth opportunity for high-quality scripted and non-scripted entertainment programming,” said IMG Media president Ioris Francini. “We are fortunate to have Gary join us to lead this initiative.”
Marenzi has a long resume in international TV sales. He headed Paramount International TV for years and later worked for MGM Worldwide TV. Most recently, he’s worked as a consultant through his Marenzi & Co. shingle.
“I look forward to crafting and delivering the highest quality entertainment experiences for our clients worldwide,” Marenzi said. He reports to IMG’s Francini and WME’s Chris Rice.
Competition to acquire sales rights in major global territories will be fierce as the largest media congloms are increasingly focused on controlling those rights soup-to-nuts as content licensing becomes a bigger piece of the profit picture for networks and studios. Netflix is casting a big shadow over the international marketplace in pushing hard for global rights on its original series to fuel the growth of its rapidly expanding SVOD platform.
“Night Manager” was an unusual situation where producers brought clout to the table in negotiations with AMC and BBC by owning the rights to the 1993 John le Carre novel on which the mini is based. That gave Ink Factory the ability to retain sales rights in some key markets.
The expansion of IMG into international program distribution has raised some eyebrows in Hollywood as it might lead to potential conflicts of interest for WME in repping clients in deals with studios and networks while a sibling subsidiary could wind up working with or competing against those companies.
From WME/IMG’s perspective, however, IMG’s expansion will benefit clients by offering distribution options in certain situations for lower fees than the majors would charge.