CANNES — FremantleMedia Enterprises announced sales for drama series “The Strip” and “Merlin” to Germany’s RTL at Mipcom on Monday.
Oz crime skein “The Strip” took the top spot in its time period in its recent preem on Australia’s Nine Network.
On Sunday, Fremantle disclosed sales for “Merlin” to Mediaset in Italy, SvT in Sweden and NED in the Netherlands. The show had previously been sold to NBC in the U.S., CTV in Canada and Network Ten in Australia.
“Merlin,” which has been winning its timeslot on the U.K.’s BBC One on Saturday evenings, will be the first British series to be shown in broadcast primetime in the U.S. in 35 years.
Launching the Fremantle slate Monday, CEO Tony Cohen spoke of the economic difficulties affecting all major markets.
Although he admitted that being part of a privately owned conglomerate, Bertelsmann, offered a certain element of security in such troubled times, he added, “We’re not going to be any more immune than anyone else would.”
However, he said, they would be taking a number of measures to shore up the company. There would be more money for program development and the company’s talent fund, he said. The focus would be primetime programs.
“I think the middle ground will start to disappear,” he said. “The market is going to split. (Primetime) is where the spending will be.”
There would also be investment in adjacent businesses, such as merchandising, gaming and live events, he said.
The company will also look to make more strategic acquisitions over the next year, similar to the 20% stake it recently purchased in Australian shingle Beyond.
Cohen said the strength of its global network — which comprises operations in 22 countries — would also help it survive the economic downturn.
“No other company in the world has a network as strong as we do, and we’re going to work hard to keep that so,” he said.