Fremantle launches web series, eyes acquisitions

FremantleMedia is launching a number of exclusive web series later this year as part of the expansion of its new media business, which is also eyeing investment in a number of digital producers.

The company’s new media arm will roll out Parentshood, a short form sitcom for NBC-owned parenting site iVillage UK and LoveRace, a dating reality format that will initially launch via US male skewing site It is also looking at format opportunities for both properties.

Gary Carter, president of creative networks at FremantleMedia and chief creative officer of FMX, said that he also hoped to replicate Fremantle’s business model of securing first look deals online. "We want to invest in content relationships. We have first look deals with significant players in TV and I don’t see why I couldn’t form the same relationships in the digital area. The model we’re proposing is pretty hands off. For instance, with [Ashton Kutcher-owned production company] Katalyst Films. We don’t try and control their development slate. That would be a good model to enter in to this space."

The company set up a Euro40m (US$) investment fund – the FremantleMedia Talent Fund – last year and have made a number of considerable investments in UK independent producers. It is now hoping to use some of this cash to fund digital investments and acquisitions.

"From an FMX point of view, we starting to wonder whether we should apply to that fund [to acquire digital production companies]. It’s entirely logical that we have to get in to that area."

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