Participant Media nabs stake in Cineflix Media

Move is company's first major push into TV since Shaprio hire

Participant Media said Tuesday it is buying an equity stake in Cineflix Media, its first major push into television since naming IFC and Sundance topper Evan Shapiro to lead that business.

The two companies will develop and produce original television content along “socially relevant” but commercial themes Participant has pursued in its films.

Jim Berk, Participant CEO, said Cineflix “has grown over the past decade from an independent production start-up to an international media corporation, and our investment in this innovative company provides (us) with the talent and creative resources to expand our business into television.”

“For a company that is proud of its independence, finding the perfect strategic partner was key,” said Glen Salzman, co-founder and CEO of Cineflix. “We’ve long been admirers of Participant’s films and their mission.”

Financial details weren’t disclosed.

Participant’s 39 films include the “The Help,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Good Night and Good Luck,” Syriana,” “The Kite Runner” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and new documentary “Last Call at the Oasis” will open in the U.S. May 4.

Cineflix produces more than 400 hours a year of scripted and non-scripted programming across genres including “American Pickers,” “Property Brothers,” “Mayday,” William Shatner’s “Weird or What?” and the award-winning “Nazi Hunters.” Its first scripted original series “Copper” will premiere on BBC America this summer.