Screentime Expands

Aussie producer sets up U.K. unit with ECM

SYDNEY — Australian production house Screentime has launched a U.K.-based TV distrib company, Screentime Partners, as a co-venture with execs from Blighty distrib ECM.

Chris Bonney, who led a management buyout of ECM, will be chief exec of the new banner.

Screentime Partners will sell formats and finished nonfiction programming. Screentime’s dramas will continue to be repped by its present distribs.

ECM has been in financial difficulty for the past year after losing the backing of Procter & Gamble, which had funded many of its productions.

The relationship with Screentime began when ECM sold the Oz company’s “Popstars” format to broadcasters in Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Bonney approached Screentime two months ago after deciding to pursue a management buyout. Screentime co-founder Des Monaghan will be chairman of Screentime Partners.

Bonney will sit on the board with chief financial officer David Asher and Screentime’s Bob Campbell. Senior programming execs Tom McClelland, Maria Rakhmatullina and Belinda Ronalds will join the new outfit, which will be based in London.

Screentime Partners’ initial clients will include 12 Yard, Tokyo Broadcasting System/Bellon and Cee.tv.

“This is a key development for the Screentime group,” Monaghan said. “We’re delighted to be joining forces with an excellent team. Screentime Partners will launch a number of new formats in the coming weeks. The company will complement our other operations in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.”

“The critical success factor for a TV program distribution operation is to be strategically underpinned by a world-renowned creator/producer,” said Bonney. “The relationship with Screentime strengthens our already strong list of existing producer partners and provides a strong platform for creating new relationships in the near future.”