The Mipcom TV programming mart in Cannes remained a hotbed of industry activity as major players continued to flog international expansion plans, worldwide programming sales, wide-ranging rights acquisitions and strategic partnerships.
MGM Worldwide Networks announced the launch of a Spanish-language HD version of its MGM Channel in Spain. MGM has operated a standard-def channel for the past six year that is distributed across the country’s cable and IPTV platforms and it’s hoping to mirror its success with the HD outlet. The new channel will offer an HD simulcast of the existing 24/7 broadcast, offering a broad selection of contemporary and classic films from the MGM library.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment and the U.S.’s BASE Productions inked a multi-year distribution deal giving ITV Studios worldwide rights (excluding the U.S.) to formats and series, including weird phenomena skein “Mystery 360.”
BBC Worldwide scored its largest volume sale ever in Russia with a slew of deals with a number of broadcasters in the country.
Fox Television acquired a number of top titles, including spy drama “Spooks,” “Married Single Other” and “Silent Witness.”
Channel Five picked up “Sherlock” plus 225 hours of mixed genre programming; the Kultura channel nabbed 84 hours of programming including “History of Science,” “Wonder of the Solar System” and “Lennon Naked”
BBC Worldwide has sold some 800 hours of entertainment across Eastern and Central Europe.
NBC Universal took sci-fi hit “Primeval S1-3” for its Russian/CIS/Baltic feed; RTR2 in Russia, Ukraine’s First Automotive and Kazakhstan’s Astana channels all drove off with “Top Gear,” and Estonia’s ETV and RTV Slovenia bought “Mistresses” and “Sherlock.”
In Slovakia, Slovak TV bought a 52-hour package, including programming for their BBC Earth branded slot.
BBC Worldwide also licensed more than two-dozen TV titles to Australian free-to-air digital channel 7TWO. Comprising more than 500 hours of content, ranging from comedy to food and lifestyle programs, including “Are You Being Served?,” “All Creatures Great and Small” and “The Hairy Bikers Cookbook.”
In a separate deal, BBC Worldwide Australia sold more than 26 hours of programming from the Beeb’s Natural History Unit to Australia’s Nine Network, including “Frozen Planet” to Channel Nine. Other natural history programs will air on Nine’s new digital platform GEM. Also included are “Wild South America: Andes to Amazon,” “Wild Caribbean” and “Life of Mammals.”
Likewise finding buyers for nature programming was Discovery Communications, which closed deals with broadcasters in France (TF1), Italy (RTI-Mediaset), Spain (La Sexta) and Greece (Alpha TV), for a combined 200 hours of content. Hot-selling titles included “Deadliest Catch,” “Man vs. Wild,” “I Was Bitten,” “Untamed and Uncut” and “Nostradamus.”
Dutch production and distribution group Off The Fence inked a number of content deals with leading African broadcasters, including Wananchi Programming for its new Zuku Afrika and Zuku Life channels launching this month in East Africa; Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, South African broadcaster On Digital Media and Germany’s Autentic, which operates several channels in South Africa. Among the more than 500 hours of programming were titles such as “Equator,” “Shamwari — A Wildlife,” “Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World,” “Extinction Sucks” and “Surviving Alcatraz.”
Singapore-based August Media Holdings has agreed to a strategic partnership with Singapore animation house Scrawl Studios. As part of the deal, Scrawl will collaborate with August Media to co-produce and act as a service partner on several animation properties. The agreement initially includes three co-productions valued at a total of $18 million, among them new versions of “George of the Jungle” and “Mr. Magoo.”
Separately, Scrawl is partnering with Malaysia’s Ed-Online Technologies and the U.K.’s Bryant Whittle to co-develop and co-produce the animated pre-school series “Red, Yellow & Blue,” while fellow Malaysian shingle Animasia Studio is joining Hong Kong’s Agogo International and Neptuno Films in Spain to co-produce 2D animated action adventure series “Kung Fu Chicken.”
In addition, Animasia as well as fellow Malaysian animation specialists Backbone Entertainment and Les Copaque have each signed distribution deals for the Latin American and Hispanic markets with Latin Media Corporation in the U.S.
Australian children’s entertainment company SLR Prods. is developing its first live-action series, “Dream Dogs,” an adaptation of Aimee Harper’s popular book series about a little girl and her dog, and a quirky family that runs a dog-grooming parlor in a seaside town.
U.K. distribution giant All3Media Intl. announced a slew of deals for German sister company Filmpool‘s scripted reality format skeins in Eastern Europe, including sales of such shows as “Cases of Doubt,” “Families at the Crossroads” to Russian channel REN, 1Plus1 in Ukraine and Tako in Poland.
Nickelodeon Consumer Products is looking for opportunities in the publishing world with a new partnership with Eaglemoss Publishing Group. The three-year deal allows Eaglemoss first option on all Nickelodeon properties to develop partworks and press collections across the globe (excluding the U.S.) on more than 35 Nickelodeon properties, from preschooler skeins like “Dora the Explorer” to tween-targeted live action titles such as “iCarly.”