German film services group CineMedia has given itself a further leg-up into production and new media through the acquisition of a stake in Watch! Entertainment.
CineMedia is buying 26% of Watch!, a television producer established by a group of senior managers from Grundy Ufa TV Productions. Terms of the purchase were not revealed, but CineMedia said it will be financed through a share issue. Together the two companies will also form an internet joint venture, 60% controlled by CineMedia, which will be used to showcase their joint and individual productions.
Watch and its principals Pavel Marik, Uwe Wilhelm, Roswitha Munch have been behind successful formats Good Times Bad Times for RTL, Forbidden Love for ARD and feature scripts including Bandits and Das Maedchen Rosemarie.
"CineMedia has opened an additional platform for marketing new entertainment formats like interactive short films and children's programmes. Additionally the new internet subsidiary offers the opportunity for distributing cinema and TV productions where CineMedia owns territorial rights," said CineMedia CEO Wolfgang Grass.
Since it floated on the Neuer Markt last year CineMedia has moved quickly to reshape its operations. In January it acquired a package of 16 titles from Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon Entertainment (Screendaily Jan 25).
In an attempt to build itself into a fully integrated media concern CineMedia this year began a round of talks which would take it further into production and co-production. Last year it bought a 60% stake in Taunus Films, one of Germany's larger independent TV production outfits. In February it signed a three-project co-production deal with the UK's Own2Feet (Screendaily Feb 15). And in March it began talks to co-produce a $65-75m adaptation of an unnamed best-selling novel, to be directed by City Hall director Harold Becker (Screendaily March 14).
Most recently it secured an output deal for theatrical distribution in German-speaking territories of its film titles with Buena Vista International, beginning with What Women Want, the Mel Gibson film that goes into production this summer (Screendaily Apr 28).