Paris-based Federation Entertainment has launched a Kids & Family distribution division and tapped Monica Levy as senior vice-president, co-production and sales.
Kids & Family head David Michel made the appointment. The two moves are related, and one key to further expansion at Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment, a premium content production-distribution mini-studio which also has a strong line in live action non-kids/family TV fiction..
Reporting to Michel, Levy will be responsible for global sales of all kids and family content produced by Cottonwood Media, founded and run by Michel as managing director and a Federation subsid and production arm, as well as the distribution of third-party content, collectively distributed under Federation’s Kids & Family brand.
Together with Michel, Levy will also concentrate on building a very select, high-quality content catalogue through third-party acquisitions and co-production partnerships, focusing exclusively on premium content destined for top-tier, multiplatform media outlets, Federation Ent. and Cottonwood Media announced Thursday.
The battle for premium kids and family content will be a battle for premium talent. Crucially, though Kids & Family is described as a distribution division, its third-party co-production mandate will allow it to ring multiple funding options.
“The innovation here is that Federation’s Kids & Family division will be able to co-finance, not just distribute, not just put forward distribution money, but really co-finance and co-produce ideas from third party producers,” said Michel.
One scenario would be Federation coming in with development or co-development coin on top shows, then co-producing and distributing them, he added. Development funding is still an unusual, so highly attractive, scenario in the international TV market outside the U.K. where talent is often forced to develop content on spec.
Kids & Family will include not just animation but also live action. “We’re heavily investing in that right now and we’re developing a few really exciting teen and drama properties,” Michel commented.
The moves also form part of Federation’s long-term plans to both control its own shows across a wide range of platforms, and to become the go-to distributor for the best product in the market.
“We are very excited to be building a new Kids & Family outfit with Monica. With first-hand experience of her talent and dedication, I know she will help Cottonwood expand from a production studio to global distributor,” observed Michel, founding partner of both Cottonwood Media and Federation Entertainment, and head of the Kids & Family division.
Starting her career at Marathon Media in 1995 as a sales manager, Levy helped the Marathon Group launch signature shows, most notably worldwide hit “Totally Spies!” When Marathon folded into Zodiak Media, she became vice president of international sales for Zodiak Rights.
“I am honored to work with David, Pascal and Lionel [Uzan],” Levy said. “With the talent, experience and resources of such an accomplished executive group, the possibilities for the new Kids & Family division are tremendous. I look forward to being part of the companies’ exciting plans for development.”
Already the most prominent new player on the burgeoning France-U.S. TV axis, Federation Entertainment burst onto the scene in September 2014 announcing it would produce the “Boss”-style“ Marseille” for Netflix, the streaming giant’s first French-language TV series. This June, Federation announced that it had taken a majority stake in Michel’s Cottonwood Media, producer of two properties from Random House Children’s Books, “The Ollie & Moon Show,” from author-illustrator Diane Kredensor, greenlit by NBC’s Sprout for a 2017 debut and also sold to Netflix; and “Squish,” with John Derevlany (“Lego: Legend of Chima”) attached as showrunner, and Gulli, France’s leading kidcaster partnering.