BERLIN — ITV Studios push into European drama has been boosted by pre-sales on “Romulus” and a slew of deals across a burgeoning slate of non-English language productions as ITV Studios aims to position as a world-class player in global content production.
Announced at this week’s Berlinale Series Market, the sales play off ITV Studios acquisition of stakes in European companies – such as France’s Beaubourg Stories, a label at ITV majority-owned “Profilages” producer Tetra Media Studio, and its minority stake in Italy’s high-flying Cattleya (“ZeroZeroZero”) – as well as early partnerships on single titles from fast-escalating production forces in Europe, such as Telefonica’s Movistar Plus.
Produced by Cattleya, Groenlandia and Sky, shot in archaic Latin, and reworking Rome’s creation story into ambitious high-end drama, “Romulus” has been acquired by HBO Europe and SBS in Australia.
The SBS deal takes in two further crime procedurals from Cattleya, one of Italy’s top drama series producers: “Petra,” an Italian adaptation of Alicia Giménez Bartlett bestsellers; and “Masantonio,” plumbing the human story dimension of
missing persons investigations.
In the U.S., Accorn TV will premiere Season 2 of Beaubourg Stories’ ˝Balthazar” on April 20, with Season 1 available on the service. Starring Thomas Sisley (“The Messiah”), as a forensic pathologist who voices his thoughts about murders talking to the dead, Season 1 was a hit on TF1, scoring 61% above slot average. Season 2 hit a 29% market share and 6.4 million viewers.
Also for the U.S., MHz has taken a wide-ranging package of ITV Studios European titles including French dramas Pieges (ITV Studios France, Capa Drama and BE-Films), Les Secrets (Beaubourg Stories), Speakerine (Macondo) and Tu Es Mon Fils (EuropaCorp Television and ITV Studios France);
Also part of the acquisition is “Felix,” a quirky romantic crime tragedy-thriller set in the high Pyrenees, as well as a clutch of Scandinavian titles: Legal drama “Aber Bergen” (ITV Studios Norway); Scandinavian thrillers “Greyzone” (Cosmos Films),”Hunters” (SF Studios & Harmonica Films) and “Kieler Street” (Anagram Norway).
“We have been aware of the perfect combination of increasingly high quality European drama production and growing demand global content viewing habits for some time now and are proud to have ventured into this space alongside all the talented producers we work with,” said Ruth Berry, managing director, global distribution at ITV Studios. She added: “I’m excited to share these phenomenal and ambitious dramas with our partners around the world.”
The Berlinale announcements came a day before an ITV showcase at the Berlinale Series Market Conference, entitled ITV Local Productions, Globally Inspired. At it, ITV Studios Julie Meldal-Johnsen, EVP global content, and Piv Bernth, Apple Tree Productions CEO/creative and executive producer, will describe how they are aligning with the international marketplace on localized productions and distribution. The presentation is moderated by Variety international editor Manori Ravindran. The Conference is co-organized by Variety.