TBI Weekly: The future is female for global prodcos

Reese Witherspoon in Big Little LiesProduction companies with a female focus are cropping up at a startling rate as female perspectives take centre stage globally and the #MeToo movement continues apace.

This week, we saw former CBS entertainment boss and longtime champion of gender equality, Nina Tassler, form PatMa Productions.

The outfit will focus on diverse voices and partner with organisations from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to Planned Parenthood.

The UK’s first female-led, female-focused prodco followed Tassler’s lead, announcing its launch as Double Yay Productions after securing a £16,000 (US$22,800) fund from Kickstarter for comedy series Nutricioulsy Nicola!.

Since then, we’ve also heard of the launch of Majority, a women-led production company for brands. That’s just this week.

While appetite for female perspectives is not new, shows such as Girls, Insecure and Fleabag have performed well in recent years – there has been a shift in realisation of the power of these stories – and no-one has carved out and highlighted the potential of both female-focused programming and businesses more than Reese Witherspoon.

With her Hello Sunshine business, Witherspoon is creating topical content focusing on womens experiences and has now nabbed deals for three shows with Apple. Big Little Lies, which Witherspoon executive produces and which features empowered female characters of various ages, has also reached critical success, receiving 16 Golden Globe nominations and winning eight.

Witherspoon has been key to developing a new way of doing business. This has only been emboldened by the #MeToo movement, which has unleashed a wealth of discourse about female experiences and is looking like it has facilitated a host of media businesses owned by, run-by and focused on women.

The week’s top TBI stories:


Also in the news…

Canadian kids and family firm Nelvana Enterprises has hooked up with Japanese animation company Sumitomo to create shows with international appeal

UK animation studio Eye Present has signed up to coproduce Best and Bester with Finland’ Gigglebug Entertainment, after the show was warmly received at Cartoon Forum last year

British drama producer Kudos has picked up television rights to Ill Will, an upcoming neo-gothic story from Michael Stewart based around classic novel Wuthering Heights

Cohen Media Group has acquired US rights to Claude Lanzmann doc The Four Sisters from Arte Distribution

UK satcaster Sky 1 has commissioned Avalon Television to create impressionist satire comedy Re-Dub (WT)

Canada’s Guru Studios has appointed Portfolio Entertainment’s Jonathan Abraham as senior director of sales and new business

British kids TV distributor Aardman will distribute original programming from children’s SVOD service Hopster around the world

Sweden-based Eccho Rights will represent JTBC’s South Korean drama Secret Affair on the international market

German pair ZDF and Beta Film have boarded an spy thriller adaptation of Jan Guillou’s Hamilton novels from Dramacorp-Pampas Studios and Swedish channel TV4 and streaming service C More

Banijay Rights sold 170 hours of programming to Denmark’s TV2, including BBC factual series 10 Puppies and Us

DHX Media-owned WildBrain is managing kids brands from Spain’s BRB Internacional

British pay TV channel CBS Drama has acquired classic US series Dynasty and ER

Scandi production giant SF Studios will co-develop and coproduce Swedish-language TV series and feature films with Stockholm’s Harmonica Films

London’s Jellyfish Pictures is coproducing CGI animation series Stan & Gran with digital prodco Jollywise

RTL in Germany is launching a free TV, ad-supported channel dedicated to US series, Now US

Filmmaker Oliver Schmitz and producer Aaryan K. Trivedi have launched the What The Hero Wants fund, which will support art and socially conscious projects primarily in the filmed entertainment space

Disney Junior in the US has acquired Tiger Aspect Productions’ kids show Aliens Love Underpants from Endemol Shine Group

France’s APC Kids will sell animated children’s series Kid-E-Cats, which is a version of CTC Media and Studio Metrafilm’s Russian toon

Keshet International and Belgium’s DeMensen are co-developing Diamonds, a drama about an ultra-orthodox Jewish from the diamond industry family shot in Flemish, English and French

Asian SVOD service Viu has acquired more than 80% of JTBC’s drama and variety shows

German network TNT Serie has acquired CBS Studios International’s new action series SEAL Team

Warner Bros.-owned Shed Media in the US has acquired format option rights to Israeli docu-reality show Back to Life, which is from Armoza Formats

Middle Eastern broadcaster MBC is among those that have bought Ortaks Yapim-produced Turkish drama Love for Rent from Global Agency

Nickelodeon has begun streaming through Japanese OTT services NTT-Docomo and Hulu

Andy Serkis’ prodco Imaginarium has teamed with Fabrik Entertainment to create a series inspired by the life of neurologist and author Oliver Sacks

New York’s Hit+Run has unveiled a coproduction deal with LA production-management firm Psycho Films

France’s Pernel Media is producing The Real War of the Thrones: Hundred Years War As Told By Dan Jones for France 5 and History UK, with SVOD service CuriosityStream taking non-exclusive global rights

Digital distributor Syndicato bought 100 years of programming from the likes of Madrid’s Feelsales and Paris-based Java Films

Telecoms firm Amdocs has bought LA-based content services firm Vubiquity for US$224 million

Universal Channel UK has bought shows including The Resident, Gone and The Disappearance from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and stablemate NBCUniversal International Distribution respectively

Uk broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned Wolf Hall prodco Playground Entertainment to produce four part drama Chimerica


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