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Acorn SVOD Service Sets Australian Comedy ‘Sando’ as Next Original (EXCLUSIVE)

Best-of-English-language drama streamer Acorn TV will launch Australian comedy “Sando” as its next original show – one of 10 originals the service is planning for this year as it pushes more deeply into having its own content. Season 2 of Acorn’s detective series “Agatha Raisin” was recently announced.

“Sando” recently wrapped in Sydney. It stars Sacha Horler (“The Dressmaker”) as Victoria “Sando” Sandringham, a charismatic loose-cannon CEO running a popular discount furniture store. The six-part comedy follows Sando as she tries to reconnect with her estranged family in order to win back her beloved company, Sando’s Warehouse.

In Australia the series will air on pubcaster ABC. It was produced by ABC, Jungle Entertainment with Screen Australia in association with Create NSW. Acorn’s UK-based development division Acorn Media Enterprises is the U.S. coproducer. For Acorn TV it is a follow-up to another quirky comedy, BBC series “The Detectorists,” the latest season of which it had exclusively in the U.S. The company retains “Sando” distribution rights for territories including the U.K. and these will be sold by Acorn Media International.

There has been exponential growth in the number of originals on the Acorn service, rising from three in 2016 to five in 2017 and a planned 10 in 2018. “We have known for a number of years that things have been moving in this direction,” Matthew Graham, Acorn’s general manager, told Variety. “As a streamer you have a very good insight and there is pressure to deliver exactly what your audience want. You can’t be passive about it. You have to go out and find the products that you know will resonate with your audience.”

Acorn is part of RLJ Entertainment, which owns a majority of Agatha Christie Limited. There are about 700,000 subscribers across Acorn and fellow RLJ streaming service Urban Movie Channel.

In the U.S. the competitive landscape changed for Acorn last year with the launch of BBC- and ITV-backed streamer Britbox. As well as competition for subscribers, BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios are suppliers to Acorn TV, which has run numerous shows from them, such as “Jamaica Inn” and “Loch Ness.” Acorn said it has long-term deals in place for existing series.

“If you look around at organizations that are trying to enter this space, there are a lot of complications in their world in terms of what content is available to them,” Graham said. “We are a small company and we have focused on one thing: great content for our audience, without those hangups and constraints.”

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