Scotland’s STV Productions and WPP-owned GroupM Entertainment have formed a strategic alliance that will see them co-develop, co-invest and coproduce programmes across a “broad range of genres”.
The pair will focus initially on entertainment, factual and drama projects for major UK and international channels, and with a global focus work with third-party distributors to exploit the resulting programming.
The first project is a documentary pilot called The Dressing Room, which will be pitched to broadcasters later this year. The doc will go behind the scenes of sports teams’ changing rooms.
STV and GroupM have already coproduced shows such as ITV’s The Poison Tree, ITV2’s Perez Hilton: Superfan and Sky1’s Prison – First and Last 24 Hours.
Their next pact is non-exclusive and both will continue to coproduce with other partners.
Global media investment group GroupM has become a significant investor in original British programming, though the fact it is intrinsically linked to advertising through its parent company, WPP, has caused controversy in production circles.
“This is about investing in the early stages of development and taking the long view on high value IP, especially on development that is expensive or time consuming, but ultimately it’s about giving broadcasters greater choice where they are telling us they want it,” said Tony Moulsdale, director of programming, GroupM.
“Strong effective collaboration and clear focus from conception to exploitation, targeted at what commissioners want both in the UK and globally, will allow us to create unparalleled opportunities for both our businesses,” said STV Productions director of content Alan Clements.
“This arrangement will bring together the best of both companies to co-develop projects and achieves increased scale and a new impetus to our development activities across a range of genres.”