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Mipcom: Ryan Kavanaugh to Ramp Up TV Biz

Relativity's international sales division to handle TV titles

CANNES — Relativity plans to ramp up its TV biz and launch a digital platform, company topper Ryan Kavanaugh told an industry aud in a keynote at the Mipcom TV mart in Cannes.

Kavanaugh also said that Relativity will launch a digital distribution platform featuring its films and TV programs – not necessarily exclusively — in the next 12 months and is currently discussing with various partners. “We’re ready to make all of our movies and television shows available on our platform (…) but our idea is not to replace traditional TV: those two experiences should coexist.”

The L.A. company is looking to open up its newly launched international film sales division, Relativity Foreign, to rep its TV shows, kicking off with “Limitless” and “Act of Valor” — the two smallscreen adaptations of Relativity movies, announced on Monday.

“We’re looking to adapt five or six of our movies into series,” said Kavanaugh.

The strategy behind the move is to start banking on its growing TV slate and reap upside from international sales rather than selling world distribution rights to third-party shingles.

During his speech, Kavanaugh discussed the success to Catfish’s TV format to explain the shingle’s drive to adapt its film properties into TV programs and sell them abroad.  Although “Catfish” performed poorly at the box office in 2010, grossing $3.2 million in the U.S. and merely $242 K worldwide, it turned out to be a hit factual reality TV show  two years later on MTV and an international sales hit format for Viacom Intl. Media Networks.

Produced by Tandem and commissioned by National Geographic in the U.S., the Erik Jendresen penned “Act of Valor” will follow pararescuemen who are tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. ”Limitless,” which is based on the Bradley Cooper starrer, is produced by Relativity and Marc Rosen’s Georgeville. Cooper is set to exec produce.

“‘Limitless’ is one of the greatest pilots in the industry: The franchise already has 26 million viewers and we’ll be able to leverage that film audience into TV,” said Kavanaugh.

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