John de Mol Buys Into Dutch Digital Studio DFFRNT Media

John de Mol has taken a minority stake in DFFRNT Media, the Amsterdam-based content company created by former 2waytraffic founder Taco Ketelaar, TV host and former Talpa executive Winston Gerschtanowitz, and Dutch media exec Bas Verhart.

The DFFRNT team members are all well-known in the Netherlands and beyond – Ketelaar was a programming boss at Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 – and are now aligned with “Big Brother” and “The Voice” creator de Mol, who is investing through his Talpa Network operation.

Talpa Network comprises local nets SBS6, Net5, Veronica, and SBS9, as well as various radio and digital operations, and sits outside the Talpa production and distribution business that British broadcaster ITV bought for up to $1 billion in 2015. Local media watchers said that the moves to bulk up Talpa Network smack of de Mol preparing for life after his ITV earn-out.

The “Big Brother” inventor was one of two minority investors in DFFRNT. Marketing and e-commerce business TCC Global has also bought in. Both took unspecified minority stakes.

The company is a formats creator and also works across advertising, digital, and AR and VR content. The Netherlands has a long pedigree as a source of international content and DFFRNT’s stated aim is to “use the Netherlands as the ultimate pilot market to test new digital products and to create new global IP.”

The alliance with de Mol likely means access to his local TV channels, which Talpa often uses as a launchpad for shows ahead of an international roll-out.

Ketelaar and his cohorts formed DFFRNT in 2016. Former Endemol and Sony executive Jeroen Tielens joined the management team soon after.

The management issued a joint statement: “We are moving towards a platform economy in which success is defined by the ability to engage people in a relevant and meaningful way. We are proud to bring two such international powerhouses on board within 12 months after the start of our company. Such investments will give us the ability to play on a global level.“

More TV

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: Who Survived to See the 'Red Dawn'?

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Red Dawn,” the fifth episode of “American Horror Story: 1984.” After five episodes, “American Horror Story: 1984” is moving onto another day within the story. The sun finally came up in “Red Dawn,” but not every would-be counselor at Camp Redwood survived to see it. [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Sesame Street' Sets

    TV News Roundup: 'Sesame Street' Sets 50th Anniversary Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Sesame Workshop announced a premiere date for “Sesame Street’s Historic 50th Anniversary Celebration” and “Brave New World” adds Sophie McIntosh. CASTING New Zealand actress Sophie McIntosh has been cast in USA Network’s “Brave New World” series, Variety has learned exclusively. She will play the recurring role of Jane, and joins a cast [...]

  • HBO Max Adds Three Execs to

    HBO Max Adds Three Execs to Drama Team

    HBO Max is continuing its spate of executive hires. The nascent WarnerMedia streamer has now tapped Roberto Alcantara, Chika Chukudebelu and Mark Tuohy to all be vice presidents in the drama department. The announcement was made by Joey Chavez, EVP of original drama at HBO Max, to whom they will all report. Chavez and his [...]


    'Stranger Things 3' Is Most-Watched Season to Date, Netflix Says

    The Upside Down delivered upside for Netflix in the third quarter: “Stranger Things” season 3 was the most-watched season of the series to date, according to the streamer. In the first four weeks of release, “Stranger Things” season 3 was watched by 64 million member households, Netflix said in the Q3 letter to shareholders. The [...]

  • HBO Max - WarnerMedia

    HBO Max Orders LGBTQ Movement Docuseries From Scout Productions, Jim Parsons, Greg Berlanti

    HBO Max has commissioned a four-part docuseries on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement. Titled “Equal,” the series will explore the true stories of leaders and activists of the movement. Each hour-long episode will feature interviews, reenactments, and never before seen footage. The series hails from Warner Horizon Unscripted Television. “We are extremely proud to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content