Sky Studios makes first prodco investment

Sky Studios has taken a minority stake in Wendy Darke’s natural history prodco True to Nature (TTN) in its first production investment.

The in-house production arm of the Comcast-owned pay-TV operator – a key driver for growth, as recently detailed by TBI – has taken a 24.9% stake in the Expedition With Steve Backshall producer.

Sky Studios is understood to be making further prodco investments, following its pledge to more than double its original content over the next five years across a range of genres.

With the backing of Comcast, Sky Studios will help TTN accelerate its growth and expand its team. The outfits will also work closely together to develop content for distribution on Sky platforms.

TTN is to retain full creative independence.

The Bristol-based outfit was founded in 2016 by Darke, the former head of the BBC Natural History Unit. In addition to Dave’s 10-part series Expedition, the business’s slate includes PBS, ZDF and ARTE’s Planet Of Volcanoes as well as Love Nature and Smithsonian Channel’s Gangs Of Lemur Island.

Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios, said: “The content coming out of True to Nature has blown us away. Viewers have never been more interested in the natural world than they are today and all of us at Sky Studios can’t wait to work with Wendy and the team to see what we can create together.”

Darke, founder and CEO of True to Nature, added: “At True to Nature, the natural world is at the heart of everything we do. We want to use storytelling to build lifelong relationships between viewers and the natural world. Our new and exciting creative partnership with Sky Studios feels like the natural next step to continue to realise our ambitions for True To Nature and we’re looking forward to making our dreams, reality.”