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Digital Studio New Form Raises $18 Million From Discovery, ITV

Digital-video studio New Form announced $18 million in second-round funding from the U.K.’s ITV and Discovery Communications, with ITV taking a minority stake in the company.

In addition, with its investment ITV entered into a strategic partnership with New Form, which includes a multiyear commercial agreement that will bring New Form content to the ITV Hub starting in 2017.

New Form was founded in 2014 as a joint venture of Discovery, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and other Hollywood execs including operating partners Ed Wilson, Jim Wiatt and Craig Jacobson.

The company said it will use the new funding — which brings it to $30 million raised to date — to help grow new business ventures with branded entertainment and international expansion, as well as investing in social-media programming. New Form is led by newly promoted CEO Kathleen Grace, formerly chief creative officer; COO JC Cangilla; and Melissa Schneider, exec VP of originals and development.

Since its formation, New Form has produced 30 pilots and sold 20 of those to series to distributors including Verizon’s Go90, YouTube Red, Refinery29, CW Seed, Freeform Digital and Fullscreen. In addition, this week the studio announced its first linear TV series deal with TBS this week for animated series “Final Space,” an interstellar comedy created by Olan Rogers, set to launch in 2018.

For ITV, the stake in New Form comes after the British broadcaster inked a pact with AwesomenessTV this summer to license, co-produce and distribute new shows for ITV2 and the ITV Hub beginning in early 2017. ITV also has investments in U.S. digital content companies Believe Entertainment, Zealot and Indigenous Media.

“New Form is at the forefront of a new generation of talented producer-broadcasters who are not only creating fantastic new shows, but can also build loyal audiences and brands online,” Simon Pitts, ITV managing director for online, pay TV and interactive, said in a statement.

Karen Leever, EVP and GM of digital media for Discovery, said that less than three years after the cabler helped launch the digital studio, “New Form has put itself on the map as one of the strongest new creative and distribution engines in the digital video space. We congratulate New Form on its success and are proud to continue our investment.”

Separately, Discovery recently invested $100 million to create a new digital-media company, Group Nine Media, which will merge Thrillist Media Group, NowThis Media, The Dodo and Discovery’s digital network Seeker and its SourceFed Studios.

LionTree Advisors acted as exclusive financial adviser and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles acted as legal adviser to New Form on the transaction. Squire Patton Boggs acted as legal adviser to ITV on the transaction.

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