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TV Drives Growth at Entertainment One Amid Overhaul of Film Side

Mark Gordon and TV distribution powered growth at Entertainment One in 2017, as the Canada-based company overhauls its film operations and plans for fewer bigger-budget features next year.

International sales drove TV revenues, with new series “Private Eyes,” “Cardinal,” and “Mary Kills People” coming through in the company’s 2017 financial year. EOne also has AMC zombie hit “The Walking Dead,” as well as ABC series “Designated Survivor,” after taking a majority stake in The Mark Gordon Co., which posted a seven-fold rise in revenue to £119 million ($155 million). Overall TV revenues for eOne were £328.2 million, up 85% from the previous year.

Film revenues were £594.2 million, a 7% increase year-on-year. Earlier this month, U.K.-listed eOne had warned investors to brace for $47 million of writedowns, mostly stemming from its film business.

The largest single charge recorded in the full-year results released Tuesday was $25 million, which eOne said related to an unspecified film distribution agreement. The company has deals with such companies as CBS Films and Summit Entertainment, and the one-off charge is thought to relate to the latter.

A merger of film and TV sales took effect in April and should yield cost savings, and eOne said it would have 200 film releases in its next financial year and shell out £150 million on buying features, an uptick on the amount spent in 2017.

“EOne will focus on acquiring and producing a reduced slate with fewer and larger films, where the company has a greater level of control with consistent financial risk, including the recent Annapurna Pictures and Makeready deals,” the company said.

The 2018 movie slate includes Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” Steven Spielberg’s Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep starrer “The Post,” and George Clooney’s “Suburbicon.” There will also be Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game,” which will star Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba and be produced through The Mark Gordon Co.

EOne CEO Darren Throop reaffirmed a pledge to double the size of the business between 2015 and 2020.

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