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Discovery acquires indie producer Raw TV

Discovery acquires indie producer Raw TV
Tim Dams
03 March 2014

Discovery Communications has acquired leading UK indie Raw, the producer of its hit series Gold Rush.

Discovery said the acquisition was intended to strengthen its creative pipeline, diversify its content creation outside the United States, and formalise its existing relationship with Raw.

Discovery has worked with Raw since 2001, commissioning series including Gold Rush for Discovery Channel, Unexplained Files for Science and Discovery Networks International and Dangerous Persuasions for ID.

Under the agreement, Raw will be able to expand into scripted programming as well as produce independent films. 

Raw will continue to operate independently from its London headquarters, and all of Raw’s current staff will be retained.
Raw was founded in 2001 by Dimitri Doganis, with Creative Director Layton joining in 2005 and Head of US Factual Sam Maynard joining in 2006.

Raw posted a turnover of £34m for Televisual’s 2013 Production 100 survey, and came second in the Peer Poll – our industry ranking of the most highly regarded indies in the UK.
Lee Bartlett, President, Discovery Studios and Production Group, said: “We want Raw to maintain the identity and culture that has allowed them to produce such high-quality programming. We are looking forward to Raw infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with compelling stories that will be seen on Discovery’s networks around the world."

The deal follows on from Discovery’s acquisition of indie producer Betty in 2011.

“We’ve always been obsessed with great stories, and bringing them to screen in the most stylish and innovative way. I think that’s what has helped attract some of the best film-makers to Raw projects. We want to take those core values into more areas, including scripted drama and film, in the UK and US, and also around the world - and the partnership with Discovery will allow us to really turbo-charge those plans,” said Doganis.
Raw is managed by Doganis, creative director Bart Layton, chief executive officer, Joely Fether and managing director Piers Vellacott.
Raw also produces shows such as Locked Up Abroad for National Geographic and Paranormal Witness for SyFy.

In the UK, the company has recently created a new digital rig for Channel 4 to underpin two major documentary series commissions, Teens (10 x 1 hr) and Students (5 x 1hr).

Media corporate finance firm About Corporate Finance and Wiggin solicitors advised the shareholders of Raw on the deal.
Grant Dawe LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.

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