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Fox World, SBS in prod’n pact

Entity to make programs for Scandinavian, Dutch-speakers

AMSTERDAM — European channel launcher SBS Broadcasting has inked a deal with News Corp.-owned Fox World for a northern European production company.

Still unnamed entity will churn out format-based and other entertainment programs for Scandinavia, Dutch-speaking Belgium and Holland, Central Europe and Switzerland.

SBS chief operating officer Markus Tellenbach tells Variety that the new company would be a major plank in SBS’ strategy, “allowing us to play format production in all directions, whether it be an idea inspired by a U.S. or European hit.”

The 50/50 venture will be managed by a board of Fox and SBS execs, including Tellenbach and Grant.

The all-stock transaction gives News Corp. one of the largest stakes in SBS, which will commission the new company to deliver 13 episodes of at least three local versions of Fox’s U.S. hit “Temptation Island.”

SBS estimates it could spend as much as $800 million on local production in the next five years, and wants half of that to be turned into a rights library that will feed multiplatform revenue streams.

Competitive pressure from Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group, one of the world’s richest content banks and SBS’ rival in several territories, is a key factor in developing the pact.

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