BSkyB acquires Parthenon

Hall to head new distribution division


U.K. paybox BSkyB has acquired independent distribution firm Parthenon Media Group as a springboard to set up its own content sales arm.

No financial details were given other than revealing that Parthenon had gross assets of £18.2 million ($28.6 million) at the end of June.

Parthenon was set up by ex-Hit executive Carl Hall in 2002. It specializes in children’s and factual fare, including pre-school tyke skein “City of Friends” and nature series “The Gorilla Whisperer.”

BSkyB, which has been investing heavily in original U.K. drama, comedy and factual shows, said that the new distrib will help generate extra coin by selling rights overseas, allowing the satcaster to reinvest more in the U.K. creative economy.

The Parthenon team, led by Hall, will lead the new sales combo reporting to Sophie Turner Laing, BSkyB’s managing director of entertainment, news and broadcast operations.

She said, “As we continue to increase investment in U.K. production, this is a natural step in the evolution of Sky’s content business. We are producing world class television — innovative, creatively ambitious and, in many cases, on an epic scale. It’s only right that we match this with world class aspirations for how we take this content to as wide an international audience as possible.”

Hall added, “This is a great day for everyone associated with Parthenon. Over the past 10 years, our success has been built upon our unique, boutique-style approach to all our content providers. This will also open new and exciting opportunities for international producers looking to benefit from the support of one of the U.K.’s largest investors in original content.”

On Thursday the paybox announced a record operating profit of $1.8 billion.