Liberty Global, TPG Form Production Studio
TPG Growth, the growth equity unit of investment firm TPG, has partnered with John Malone’s Liberty Global to form a television production and distribution studio, Platform One Media.
TPG said it will fund its investment through Evolution Media, an investment partnership with CAA and Participant Media. Liberty Global will initially take a minority stake in the partnership. Additional terms were not disclosed.
Platform One Media will curate, develop, produce and distribute scripted programming for the U.S. and international markets. Veteran television executive Katie O’Connell Marsh, former CEO of Gaumont Television, has been appointed CEO and will be spearheading the company’s activities.
“TPG Growth has a history of identifying and building companies, such as STX Entertainment, that can redefine their categories,” said TPG Growth founder and managing partner Bill McGlashan in a statement. “Working with our partners at Evolution Media, we look forward to leveraging our collective experiences and networks in the entertainment space to build this business with Katie and her team.”
While at Gaumont, O’Connell Marsh developed and produced drama series including NBC’s Hannibal, the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix series Narcos, and Hemlock Grove for Netflix. On the comedy front, she developed F Is for Family for Netflix and Gaumont, as well as the Emmy-winning 30 Rock while at NBC and the Emmy-winning Arrested Development during her tenure at Imagine.
Most recently, O’Connell Marsh was Head of Global Live Action Television for Dreamworks Animation, where she was tasked with launching the live-action television operation for the company.
Additional appointments to the Platform One Media executive team include:
- Courtney Conte, who most recently served as president of Slingshot Global Media, will be chief operating officer (COO) and president. Conte previously served as COO of BBC Worldwide Productions and co-president of Carsey-Werner. He has developed and produced numerous television series for Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, UPN, The WB, BBC, HBO, Showtime, Nickelodeon and Lifetime.
- Elisa Ellis, who most recently served as the Head of Creative for the Live Action Television division of Dreamworks Animation, will be joining as chief creative officer. Before joining Dreamworks in 2016, Ellis was president of creative affairs & production for Gaumont Television. At Gaumont, she was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s series development and production including Hannibal and Narcos.
- Erik Pack will join Platform One Media as head of distribution & co-production based in London. Pack most recently served as President of International Distribution & Co-production at Gaumont Television. Prior to that, Pack was executive vice president of International Sales and Co-Productions at Power, a London-based production and distribution company. Previously, Pack was at Hallmark Entertainment for 12 years, where he structured output deals across Europe and Latin America.
- Neil Strum, who most recently served as head of business and legal affairs for Slingshot Global Media, will take on the same position at Platform One Media. Prior to Slingshot, he served as Executive Vice President at Metan Development Group, one of the only Western companies producing original TV content in China. Strum also served as senior vice president of the William Morris Agency where he forged new business models utilizing non-traditional financing for network production.
- Also working with the team is Julia Franz, former head of creative at ABC Studios, who will serve as a consultant for the new company.
"Platform One Media has the key ingredients Liberty Global values in a strategic asset: great leadership, a clear vision and aligned, well capitalized partners,” said Liberty Global choef programming officer Bruce Mann in a statement. “It also gives us the opportunity to work with world-class talent creating high-quality scripted programming which could potentially feature on Liberty Global’s pay-TV platforms in Europe. We are fortunate to have Katie O'Connell Marsh bringing her vision, drive and creative track record, and to be working with TPG Growth, who we view as a natural strategic partner.”
As part of its launch, Platform One Media has acquired the portfolio of development projects from Slingshot Global Media and retired the Slingshot brand.
TPG has been very active in the cable space recently, purchasing overbuilder RCN and Grande Communications in August 2016 for $2.25 billion and Wave Broadband in May for $2.4 billion.
“The explosion of original content globally is creating an opportunity for new, innovative, and diverse ways to engage audiences beyond the series itself,” O’Connell Marsh said in a statement. “With Platform One Media, and our partners TPG Growth and Liberty Global, we are perfectly positioned to develop and distribute compelling narratives that are artistic, meaningful and addictive by working closely with innovative, inspiring talent to bring to life their creative visions."
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