Whip Media Inks Deal With ITV Studios for Content Performance Tracking

Whip Media, a software platform and data provider to entertainment organizations, announced that ITV Studios,  an international content creator, producer and distributor, will utilize Whip Media’s platform for performance tracking of its entertainment content, including the company’s growing FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channels.

ITV Studios, a part of ITV plc, which includes the U.K.’s largest commercial broadcaster, features more than 60 TV production labels, producing such hits as “Love Island,” “I’m a Celebrity” and “Come Dine With Me.” The company’s global footprint spans markets including the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, France, Germany, the Nordics, Italy and the Netherlands, and its global distribution business sells its catalog of 90,000-plus hours of programming to broadcasters and platforms around the world.

The growth of ITV Studios’ global distribution partners — especially in the evolving FAST/AVOD market — created the need for better content performance tracking and distribution analytics, allowing ITV Studios to keep pace with the high volume of reporting internally and from its partners, according to a Whip release. Whip Media’s solution consolidates and centralizes distributors’ partner data across global platforms while also automating accounting processes to manage and recognize revenue.

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“Our team couldn’t be more excited to help ITV Studios — one of the premier production and distribution companies in the world — track the performance of its series across a rapidly growing number of platforms,” Paul Hastings, Whip Media’s SVP of global sales, said in a statement. “As content distribution continues to become increasingly stratified and difficult to manage, it’s imperative for entertainment companies to streamline how their data is analyzed and processed. Whip Media’s platform will help ITV Studios accomplish that goal — allowing it to focus on what it does best, which is churning out great series for millions of viewers to enjoy.” 

“We’re very pleased to be partnering with the Whip Media team and utilize their expertise in this space. The Performance Track tool and the data it will unlock is a key component of ITV Studios overall strategy to expand and grow our digital business across AVOD, FAST and other digital platforms and deepen our understanding of how our content engages with viewers across multiple platforms and territories,” Graham Haigh, EVP of business development and digital distribution at ITV Studios, said in a statement.

While the FAST market is rapidly expanding, content programmers do not currently have visibility into title-level performance across multiple digital platforms, creating data inefficiencies for FAST networks that need this data to make strategic content acquisition and programming decisions. Whip Media leverages its industry-leading data aggregation capabilities to solve this problem by mapping a FAST network’s performance data to both its linear schedules and internal metadata, creating an automated performance tracking solution for digital linear networks. Designed to handle scale and improve performance visibility, Whip Media’s solution will help ITV Studios make more informed programming decisions, according to Whip.

Crime Thriller Series ‘Grace’ Premieres on BritBox Streaming Service April 27

BritBox, the subscription streaming service from BBC Studios and ITV, on March 18 announced it is expanding its collection of originals in North America with a new crime thriller series based on the popular Roy Grace novels by Peter James.

“Grace,” starring John Simm (“Doctor Who,” Trauma) as the title detective, premieres April 27 on BritBox in the United States and Canada. The screenwriter is Russell Lewis, who created the popular mystery series “Endeavor.” The Roy Grace novels have sold more than 20 million copies in 37 languages.

“Grace” follows hard-working Brighton-based detective Roy Grace, who because of his unorthodox crime-solving methods is exiled to investigating long-forgotten cold cases. After a stag night prank appears to go wrong the groom has gone missing, and Grace, still haunted by the disappearance of his wife, and at risk of losing the job he loves, is tapped by his colleague, Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson (Richie Campbell, Small Axe) to help solve the time-sensitive case.

“Grace contains all the elements of what our audience is looking for from BritBox: an award-winning writing team, a phenomenal British cast, and, most importantly, a compelling mystery story packed with shocking twists,” said Emily Powers, head of BritBox North America. “As the only authentic British streaming service available in North America, we have and continue to premiere edgy, modern, premium content.”

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“We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Russell Lewis and Peter James, two of the greatest writers around, and to have the chance to bring Grace alive on screen,” said executive producers Andrew O’Connor and Paul Sandler of Second Act Productions. “Like so many other readers, we’ve been fans of the Grace books since they first appeared, so this is a fantastically exciting project for us.”

“Grace” is co-produced by Second Act Productions, Tall Story Pictures (both part of ITV Studios) and Vaudeville Productions, and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios. This season will feature two 90-minute standalone TV films based on the first two books in the series: Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead.

“Grace” is the latest addition to BritBox North America’s slate of original films and series, which include true crime co-productions “The Pembrokeshire Murders” and “Honour” as well as “A Confession,” “There She Goes” and “McDonald & Dodds.”

BritBox subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year — after an introductory free trial period — on Roku, Amazon Fire TV stick, Apple TV (fourth generation), Samsung, LG and all iOS and Android devices, AirPlay, Chromecast, and online. BritBox is also available on Amazon Channels for Prime members and on Apple TV Channels on supported devices.

FilmRise Inks New Deal With ITV Studios for Shows Such as ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

FilmRise has announced a deal that extends and expands its partnership with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for streaming rights to more than 1,000 hours of programming across SVOD and AVOD platforms.

In addition to new titles being distributed by FilmRise, the company is digitally distributing all 18 seasons of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and all seasons of “Kitchen Nightmares” for SVOD and AVOD in the United States.

FilmRise has also extended its multi-year rights for the shows and will also become the exclusive digital distributor of “Hell’s Kitchen” in Canada.

The deal furthers FilmRise’s distribution to Canada, extending the original deal struck in early 2018 between the two companies, and includes shows such as “Emmerdale,” “Heartbeat” and “Peak Practice,” which will now be available on AVOD and SVOD in all of North America.

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“We are excited about increasing our partnership with ITV Studios Global Entertainment,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher in a statement. “This deal expands the scope of our rights, including into Canada, providing access to audiences across North America to stream these high-quality programs.”

“FilmRise is an exceptional partner,” added Rob Kaplan, VP sales, U.S. and global accounts at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, in a statement. “The company’s distribution network across SVOD and AVOD platforms in North America will allow audiences of our fan favorite programming to have many different viewing options.”

As part of the deal, FilmRise will also be bringing the comedy series “Miranda,” sci-fi shows “Saphire & Steel” and Gerry Anderson’s “UFO,” and Jason Isaac’s crime drama “Case Histories” to its North American streaming audiences.

FilmRise Inks Streaming Deals with ITV, MGM and Warner Bros.

Ad-supported movie streaming service FilmRise said it has signed distribution agreements for catalog content with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Warner Bros., among others.

Titles include Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, The Terminator, and the original Blade Runner.”

“We are thrilled that the FilmRise Channel has become a major platform where consumers can watch their favorite films and TV shows,” FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher in a statement.

We have formed a stellar line up of programming thanks to our amazing partners,” said Fisher.

The channel can be found on Roku, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, and other connected devices.

 

Report: TV Production Mergers on the Rise

With ownership of TV programming rights a vital asset in the burgeoning demand for episodic programing across broadcast, pay-TV and subscription streaming, production company mergers have grown nearly 20% compound annual growth rate in the past five years – from 42 deals in 2013 to 102 deals in 2017, according to new data from IHS Markit.

Citing ongoing advertising pressure and audiences migrating to on-demand platforms, IHS says broadcasters are exploring new revenue sources from content production and distribution. With increased competition between traditional linear channels and online players, creating TV content is a stronger option than licensing from third parties.

The United Kingdom ranked the most active market in terms of number of mergers and acquisitions. However, in terms of deal value, the United States and China led.

“Both large and small companies are trying to find ways to internationalize, which is why Chinese companies have been gobbling up production studios in the United States, and the major Hollywood studios have been building local production networks in key foreign markets,” Tim Westcott, director of research and analysis for programing, said in a statement.

Increased investment in content by Netflix, Amazon and other content buyers has spearheaded M&A activity among content creators. Indeed, deals for scripted producers have grown nearly 30% — from 15 deals in 2013 to 54 in 2017. In comparison, acquisitions of unscripted producers have grown 8%, due to the shift of M&A activity to scripted producers.

The top mergers and acquisitions were led by ITV Studios and Fremantle Media, both of which have invested in a large number of start-up content-production companies. Of the 77 start-up companies launched between 2013 and 2017, 32 were drama specialists. Nearly half of these 32 drama specialists were launched in 2017, reflecting a significant surge in scripted drama investment.

Liberty Global invested in global producers All3Media, ITV and Lionsgate, while Vivendi took an interest in Banijay Group and 21st Century Fox acquired a 50% stake in Endemol Shine.

“These deals … highlight the strategic importance of owning content producers, for all those wanting to attract and retain viewers, subscribers and the revenue they deliver,” said senior research analyst Aled Evans. “The global producer networks offer these start-ups co-production finance mechanisms, worldwide contacts and funding. In return, the investor company gains rights for programming to sell internationally.”