Anthony Kimble’s production and financing firm Fugitive has linked up with Turkish aggregator Merzigo to acquire programming for AVOD exploitation.
The Fugitive team, led by former Nordic Entertainment exec Merrily Ross, will be responsible for assessing and acquiring content with available AVOD rights from around the world and then working with Merzigo’s facility in Istanbul to upload and manage the IP.
The companies will explore ways to optimise revenues across digital platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Dailymotion, with Fugitive calling for “big name factual entertainment brands”, reality, true crime, history and science programming, as well as scripted content ranging from soaps and telenovelas to crime series and movies.
The deal will see Merzigo setting up an office in London, which will work closely with Ross and the Fugitive team.
Merzigo works with broadcasters including Fox and Kanal D in Turkey, as well as producers such as Acun Medya Global, to sell programming, while it is also involved in distributing programming via AVOD, ranging from Survivor to Muhteşem Yüzyıl: Kösem. The latter claims to be the highest grossing TV series on YouTube in the EMEA region.
Ross said the collaboration would allow Fugitive to capitalise on its own extensive network of international contacts and tap into the rapidly growing AVOD market.
“There is so much content out there in the world but relatively few companies with either Merzigo’s track record or high-tech and curation capabilities. By joining forces, we bring something new to this sector of the distribution market and will be quickly in a position to help rights owners truly maximise the value of their IP in the rapidly developing digital universe.”
Yiǧit Doǧan Çelik, MD of Merzigo, added: “The time is right for Merzigo to grow its international footprint and I am delighted to be partnering in this expansion with Fugitive. The team’s mix of commercial and creative skills compliments our own, and we both have a clear ambition to grow Merzigo into the ‘go-to’ business for broadcasters, producers and distribution partners looking to enhance and extend the life of their content, as well as to increase revenues.”
The Fugitive team is currently setting-up the Merzigo international office in central London, where it will provide a range of business affairs and support services. Ross is also recruiting a dedicated content acquisitions executive to manage the day-to-day content flow.
Fugitive was founded in March last year by former Cineflix Rights exec Anthony Kimble, working across scripted, unscripted and formats. Earlier this year it expanded its sales team by adding four new senior hires in the US, Spain, France and the UK, including former Fox Networks Group exec Joanne Rowley.