Atrium, Howard Stringer’s OTT Drama Development Club, Recruits New Members

Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Iflix board former Sony chief's drama-commissioning operation

Atrium, Howard Stringer’s OTT Drama Development

Atrium, the high-end drama venture set up by former Sony chairman Howard Stringer and DRG, has recruited a raft of members. Orange in France, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, and Asia and emerging markets streaming service Iflix are among the new companies coming on board.

Atrium was set up by Stringer and U.K.-based distributor DRG as a way for OTT and pay-TV operators to jointly fund and commission high-end scripted series for their platforms and territories.

DRG is owned by the Modern Times Group, and MTG’s streaming service Viaplay was the first Atrium member. Sky New Zealand, Antenna in Greece, Yes in Israel, and NewFilm in Russia have also now signed up to the club.

Each will contribute funding to projects and take the rights for their country. DRG will handle sales outside of the member territories for the drama series Atrium greenlights.

“We thought we had hit on a good idea when we launched the business and it’s great to know that so many respected companies appear to agree – especially when all of these were on our wish list for membership,” said DRG’s Jeremy Fox, who is CEO of Atrium. “Getting everybody together in Cannes [at Mipcom next week] will prove a major milestone for our fast-growing business and allow us to demonstrate just what club membership means.”

Atrium is designed as a way for platforms to collectively fund premium drama, giving them original series that allow them to compete with U.S. streaming giants Netflix and Amazon.

“As the market for scripted series becomes increasingly competitive, and in an environment where global players have seemingly bottomless pockets, it is interesting to be aligned with like-minded services within a structure which could represent a substantive alternative to acquiring compelling new content,” said Alix Goldschmidt, VP, director of acquisitions, France & International, Orange Content.

When Atrium was unveiled at MipTV in April, it announced a three-strong slate: “The Eagle Has Landed” (pictured), a moon-landing series from Stephen Kronish (“24”); “Fandorin,” an adaptation of the Boris Akunin detective novels; and “Saigon,” a series set in Vietnam and spanning 50 years of its history, including the war with the U.S. More projects will be announced at Mipcom.