The UK's Granada Media Group has become one of the top five shareholders in Australia's Seven Network, as part of a deal which sees the two entities form an as-yet-unnamed Australian-based production company.

Granada will combine its Australian production company Artist Services, which has several feature credits, with Seven's in-house production.The new outfit is likely to produce more than 350 hours of programming a year, 200 of which will be for Seven's free-to-air, pay-TV and multimedia services.

Former Fremantle International executive David Champtaloup will be chief executive of the new venture and each partner will have three directors. Already appointed are Steve Wise and Steve Vizard, former co-owner of Artist Services, which Granada bought in 1998.