Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) is putting its U.K. production and distribution business, NENT Studios U.K., on the block in order to focus on the growth strategy for streamer Viaplay.
Richard Halliwell, NENT Studios U.K. CEO, is involved in the sale process, which currently has expressions of interest from more than 20 U.K. and international businesses, the company said.
The NENT Group is divesting NENT Studios U.K. along with a number of other production businesses. Growth plans for Viaplay include launching in Poland and the U.S. in 2021 as well as significantly growing subscriber numbers in the Nordic region and internationally.
NENT Group’s remaining studios operations will focus on delivering content for Viaplay. A new owner for NENT Studios U.K. means this business can continue to serve the global market, the company said.
NENT Studios U.K.’s first original drama series, “Close to Me,” commissioned by Viaplay and brought to the U.K. as an acquired co-production by Channel 4, is in production, while a second scripted series with a U.K.-led greenlight will be announced shortly. The company also has 15 shows in paid development with broadcasters and an internal development slate of some 40 projects. It is anticipated that the U.K. business will continue to supply content to NENT Group, the company said.
“Despite the ongoing challenges the industry is facing with COVID-19, we have entered into and remained in production on ‘Close to Me’ and are about to greenlight a second series that has been developed and fully financed during the pandemic,” Halliwell said. “Our strategy of sitting at the very heart of content development and creation has been more than validated this year, and as these shows deliver, our approach will prove beneficial both to our partners and our business.”
“I am very proud of my team, who have continuously found, developed, funded, produced, acquired and sold a wide range of scripted and unscripted content through these very uncertain times,” Halliwell added. “Our focus now is on finding a new owner or investment partner to support our high ambitions and exciting plans for growth. We have a bright future as we move into 2021 and will use this period of change as a fresh opportunity to reinforce our position as a robust, innovative and vital player in the international content landscape.”
NENT Studios U.K.’s catalog includes scripted titles such as “Doc Martin” (pictured) and “The Cry,” factual content like “Yorkshire Vet” and “My Grandparents’ War” and several international formats ranging from “The Farm” to “Don’t Tell the Bride.”