EXCLUSIVE: Anonymous Content, arguably the hottest production company around town, has inked a groundbreaking deal to consult with MBC Group, the Arab world’s leading media company. On the heels of becoming the first indie to win best picture and best drama at the Golden Globes — for The Revenant and Mr Robot, respectively — Anonymous Content will now work with MBC subsidiary 03 Productions to advise them on developing and producing both Arabic and English-language content. The deal allows MBC, by some margin the biggest TV network and production platform in the Arab world, access to Anonymous’ creative know-how, experience and, in specific cases, talent roster.
In return, Anonymous gets one foot in a fast-growing market of 370 million-plus people alongside the region’s dominant media player at a time when other Western media companies like Netflix and Starz are entering it. Anonymous will also consult on the acquisition of IP, including potential scripted formats, as well as strategic partnerships for 03 and MBC with U.S. and European distributors. Anonymous’ entry also appears particularly timely in light of the emergence of local pay platform beIN Media — the Qatar-owned sports and entertainment group currently negotiating to acquire Miramax — that will need the kind of premium content that Anonymous has shown an unrivaled capacity to create.
“As the marketplace becomes more global, we are excited to work with MBC to help them create and distribute high quality and ground-breaking programming,” said Anonymous Content’s partner and founder Steve Golin.
“We believe Middle East stories that reflect both contemporary and period realities of the region can be developed to be compelling and immersive enough to reach a global audience,” said Fadi Ismail, General Manager of O3 Productions. “Anonymous Content is well positioned to support and facilitate this ambition, allowing us to grow in new markets, as well as improve the quality of our drama in our own core territories.”
Anonymous is simply killing it right now, with Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer The Revenant scoring $39.2M at the box office this past weekend in its expansion and also leading the awards charge. Also in the mix is the well-received Spotlight, starring Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. The company also has a thriving TV business with the likes of Mr. Robot (USA Network), True Detective (HBO), The Knick (Cinemax), as well as the upcoming Quarry (Cinemax), The Alienist (TNT) and Berlin Station (Epix).
In 2014, Anonymous inked a three year, first-look production deal with Paramount TV, giving the studio rights to produce and distribute Anonymous’ TV programming across multiple platforms. The two companies are developing several high-profile projects together.
MBC was the Arab world’s first private, free-to-air satellite channel when it launched in 1991. Since then, the Arab TV market has mushroomed to the point where there are now over 500 free-to-air satellite channels. The company has since launched a diverse bouquet of channels that consistently dominate ratings, along with production powerhouse 03, the Arab world’s biggest VOD platform Shahid, and music label Platinum Records.