LONDON — Liberty Global, John Malone’s international cable business, has signed an original-content pact with British production group All3Media, which Liberty Global owns jointly with Discovery Communications, and has renewed a channel-distribution deal with Discovery.
The All3Media deal, for four original drama series over the next two years, covers Liberty Global’s operations in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. It marks the first time that Liberty Global has agreed to a multi-territorial deal with a production company to create exclusive programming for its customers.
Liberty Global’s CEO Mike Fries, speaking to Steve Hewlett on BBC radio program “The Media Show” last week, outlined the company’s commitment to investing in content: “We spend almost $3 billion per year on content so we are a huge buyer of content, and we are delivering that content to 27 million homes here in Europe.”
He added: “We are investors in a company called All3 Media, which has 6,000 hours of content in its library and makes dozens and dozens of shows you know and love….We ourselves are not making a lot of content but increasingly the business is getting more vertically integrated, and we are moving along that path.”
The All3Media group is composed of 21 production and distribution companies from across Europe, New Zealand and the U.S., including Bentley Productions (“Midsomer Murders”), Company Pictures (“Skins”), Maverick Television, MME Moviement, Neal Street Productions (“Call the Midwife”), New Pictures, Optomen, Studio Lambert (“Undercover Boss”), All3Media America and All3Media International.
Jane Turton, chief executive of All3Media, said in a statement: “This is a great opportunity…to develop new dramas that are designed to appeal to a global audience, to be watched on multiple platforms and to become long-running returning series. For us, this initiative fits squarely with our core strategy – to grow our scripted output, creating world-class dramas that return series after series.”
The Discovery deal gives Liberty Global customers in 12 European countries access to Discovery’s channels, including Discovery Channel, TLC, ID and Eurosport. Liberty Global owns Virgin Media in the U.K. and Ireland, Unitymedia in Germany, and Ziggo in the Netherlands, as well as operating in Poland and Czech Republic, among other countries. The deal includes digital rights.