The acquisitions/investment craze in the indie TV space is showing no signs of slowing. In just the past few weeks, John de Mol has put his Talpa Media up for sale and CORE Media’s management operations were absorbed into Endemol North America as part of 21st Century Fox’s proposed mega-joint venture with Apollo Global Management. While slightly smaller in scale, the latest deal to make news is today’s announcement by BBC Worldwide that it is acquiring a 35% stake in Ripper Street co-producer Lookout Point. Under the agreement, the parties will enter into a new distribution and co-production pact for a minimum of five years.
The groups had already established a working partnership that began in 2010. Since then, they have facilitated a number of major international co-productions. Lookout Point series have included Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Parades End, Victorian crime drama Ripper Street and the Titanic mini. It is also in pre-production on the upcoming War And Peace mini, a BBC/Weinstein Co joint effort.
Lookout Point was established by Simon and Justine Vaughan in 2009 to develop, produce and finance high-end drama. It acts as co-producer and executive producer and secures co-production funding. The company is adding two new execs to its ranks with today’s announcement. Saul Venit, BBCW’s current Director of Commercial and Legal Affairs, will join Lookout as COO after 15 years at the BBC and BBC Worldwide. He will work to develop Lookout’s business proposition as it enters the next stage of its development. Also, Seb Shorr will join Lookout from Industry Media as Head of Business Affairs. Helen Jackson, BBCW’s Chief Content Officer, will become a non-executive director of Lookout Point.
Vaughan said today, “We didn’t want to sell our company, we wanted to build it. And we seem to have a unique model — part producer, part distribution company. The deal with BBC Worldwide builds on our established working relationship over the last four years and takes it to the next level. Together we want to build up a significant content company that places its emphasis on the very best global British productions.”