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October 2017
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  • The Facilities 50
    Jon Creamer launches Televisual's 30th exclusive annual Facilities 50 survey featuring the top post production houses in the UK and 52 pages of analysis of the sector
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    Hiring top talent and investing heavily in development have been key to growing his Bristol indie Plimsoll Productions, says founder Grant Mansfield
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    What ever genre you work in, you need to be lens savvy. Here three DoPs guide us through the lens market, picking out the models they like to use in drama and factual
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Reports&
surveys

Production 100 2009 Back to Reports & survey Listing

1 All3Media

ceo Steve Morrison coo Jules Burns  creative director David Liddiment turnover £400m hrs commissioned 1039 hrs tx’d 1039 key shows Victorian Farm (BBC2) Rachel Allen Bake (UK TV) George Gently (BBC1) Ten Years Younger the Challenge (C4) genre ent, fact, fact ent, drama, sport, kids

It’s the second year in a row that All3Media, the superindie set up in 2003 by Granada veterans Steve Morrison, David Liddiment and Jules Burns, has claimed the top spot in the Production 100.  All3Media now owns 17 production and rights companies in the UK and as far afield as the US, New Zealand and Germany after going on a major acquisition spree in recent years. In the UK, its collection of production companies includes drama producers Company (Skins), Bentley (Midsomer Murders) and Lime Pictures (Hollyoaks), factual outfits Lion Television (Victorian Farm), Maverick (10 Years Younger), Studio Lambert (Undercover Boss), entertainment producers Objective (Peep Show) and Cactus (Rachel Allen Bake) as well as sports and entertainment specialist North One. However, All3Media’s deal-making has ground to a halt in the past year; its last acquisition was multiplatform producer Illumina Digital in October 2008. Chief operating officer Jules Burns says All3Media is still looking for acquisitions or to back start ups, like Stephen Lambert’s Studio Lambert. But, he explains, not many companies are selling. “We imagine there aren’t that many companies up for sale because they can’t get the kind of price they used to be able to get, which is inevitable in this market.” Burns says All3Media production companies have inevitably been affected by the downturn but the companies are responding well. This comes at a time when there has been a focus on the debt levels built up by All3Media during its acquisitions. The superindie reportedly owed the banks £281.1m at the end of August last year - five and a half times its EBITDA. However, Burns says, “We are very comfortable with our capital structure.”
Highlights of the past year include Objective getting away peaktime comedy, BBC1’s Reggie Perrin, and a network peaktime entertainment show, ITV1’s The Cube. Studio Lambert’s Undercover Boss is also being produced for CBS in the US. Meanwhile, Company adapted Marina Cole’s The Take for Sky One, and North One has just had Tarrant Lets the Kids Loose commissioned by UKTV. Looking ahead, America is a key focus for All3Media, which has a presence there through Zoo Productions. “The US is a very high priority for us, as it is for all indies. It’s the one market where, if you are successful, people can see growth - and good growth.”

2 Shine Group
ceo Elisabeth Murdoch president Alex Mahon cfo Dan O’Brien staff 232 turnover £238.6m key shows Merlin (BBC1) Spooks (BBC1) Sunday Night Project (C4) MasterChef (BBC1) genre ent, fact, fact ent, drama, sport, kids

Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group has climbed from seventh to second place in this year’s survey. It’s grown in three distinct stages from small beginnings. First Murdoch’s start-up Shine TV (MasterChef) snapped up leading UK outfits Kudos (Spooks), Dragonfly (The Family) and Princess (The Sunday Night Project), putting together a £100m UK business. Secondly, it moved into the American market, buying the biggest producer in the US, Reveille. More recently, it has expanded internationally buying Metronome in Scandinavia and backing start ups in France, Australia and Germany.
Shine Group president Alex Mahon says the company’s international presence will allow it to produce its own formats, like MasterChef, in multiple territories, rather than simply licence them to other producers “who take quite a lot of the margin.”
Shine Group is highly rated by its rivals. Three of Shine Group’s indies - Shine TV, Kudos and Dragonfly - feature in the Peer Poll top 20, our list of the most admired production companies.

3 IMG

head of global media operations Carmi Zlotnik head of operations, UK entertainment production Ian Pelling
staff 301 turnover £207m commissions 108 hrs commissioned 4,408 hrs tx’d 3,109.5 key shows Secret Diary of a Call Girl (ITV2) Ross Kemp in Afghanistan (Sky One) Around the World in 80 Trades (C4) Snooker (BBC) Premier League (Sky) genre ent, fact, fact ent, drama, sport, kids, features

It’s been a mixed year for IMG and its collection of UK indies, Tiger Aspect, Tigress and IMG Sports Media. Like many other production outfits, Tiger Aspect has had to let staff go amid a downturn in production levels and the cancellation of shows like Robin Hood. Meanwhile, Tigress boss Andrew Jackson quit to head up the BBC’s Natural History Unit after leading a failed mbo for Tigress. On the plus side, IMG head of global media operations Carmi Zlotnik points to Tiger Aspect shows Ross Kemp in Afghanistan and Benidorm as “showing the range and creative ability of IMG”, and notes that Darlow Smithson has ventured into dramatic co-productions with The Diary of Anne Frank. Given the commissioning downturn in the UK, Zlotnik says IMG will have to be “smart, entrepreneurial and opportunistic” in the next 12 months.

4 Hit Entertainment
ceo Jeff Dunn evp production Lenora Hume staff 130 (UK) turnover £172.2m commissions 4 hrs commissioned 51 key shows Fireman Sam (Cartoonito, Five, GMTV) Angelina Ballerina (Nick JR) Thomas and Friends  (Five/Nick’n) Barney (PBS) Bob the Builder (BBC/Nick’n) genre kids

There have been big changes for some of HIT’s biggest properties in recent times with Bob the Builder, Thomas and Friends and Fireman Sam all now being made in cg rather than their traditional stop frame.
Thomas is also to become a Hollywood star following the opening of HIT Movies, to be run by ex Nickelodeon exec Julia Pistor in LA. The division’s first film will be a Thomas adaptation with Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina and Barney the Dinosaur to follow. New shows on the blocks for TV include The Real Mees from Waybuloo creator Dan Good.

5 Endemol UK
ceo Tim Hincks staff 167 turnover £170m commissions 63 hrs commissioned 3,973 hrs tx’d 3,928 key shows Dead Set (C4) Deal or No Deal (C4) Total Wipeout (BBC 1) genre ent, fact, fact ent, kids, drama, sport

Endemol’s high debt levels (£2.24bn) have been the subject of increasing media focus since the Big Brother producer was bought by John de Mol's Cyrte, Mediaset and Goldman Sachs in 2007. Endemol’s UK arm, however, has had a pretty good year - turnover is up from £157m to £170m. CEO Tim Hincks gives two reasons for the uptick. Firstly, Endemol specialises in high volume, returnable formats – a resilient genre with broadcasters after big, cost effective shows. Secondly, Endemol has leveraged its global reach to deliver shows like Wipe Out. “We’ve done it with real economies of scale because we produced it as a group, in Argentina,” says Hincks. More recently, ITV snapped up another Endemol physical game show, The Whole 19 Yards, which has just piloted in the US. Endemol is also active across panel shows (8 out of 10 Cats), fact ent (Gok’s Fashion Fix) and drama (Dead Set). “We do have this diverse range,” says Hincks. “But we’re no different from anyone in that we’re making it all for less money.”
 
6 Talkback Thames
ceo Lorraine Heggessey coo Sara Geater
commercial dir Rupert Brankin-Frisby
staff 229 turnover £141m hrs commissioned 455 key shows The X Factor (ITV1) Britain’s Got Talent (ITV1) The Apprentice (BBC1) QI (BBC1) Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC2) Grand Designs (C4) genre ent, factual, fact ent, drama
ITV’s drama cutbacks gave Talkback a hit this year when The Bill’s yearly run was halved. Even Talkback’s primetime big hitters have felt the budget crunch. “X Factor, Got Talent have all been affected by the credit crunch one way or another,” says COO Sara Geater. On the upside, all Talkback’s big returning brands are still returning and a new Scottish office has been opened. “It’s two people and we’ve put one production through it and hopefully we’ll get more.” The start ups the company took equity stakes in, Arbie, Projector and HillBilly, are going fine, says Geater. “One thing you can’t stop doing is developing, we’re still committed to developing new products wherever that comes from.”

7 RDF Media Group
ceo David Frank coo Joely Fether cfo Jonathan Slow staff 270 turnover £131m
profit £4.2m commissions 67 hrs commissioned 581 hrs tx’d 450 key shows The Secret Millionaire (C4) Being Human (BBC3) Waybuloo (CBeebies) genre
ent, factual, fact ent, drama, kids

Publicly, RDF has been engulfed in a series of corporate dramas over the last two years - from the scandal of Queengate to a management buyout. Behind the scenes, though, it’s been busy creatively. It’s laid the foundations for a sizeable kids TV business, has been investing in the US and in its drama arm. Its kids shows - Waybuloo and Mr Maker - have done “great business”, according to CEO David Frank. The drama Being Human transferred to BBC1 for its second series and Rab C Nesbitt is coming back.  Down the line, Frank says acquisitions are on the cards - potentially in the digital space and outside the UK. “There are a number of things we are looking at.”

8 Shed Media

ceo Nick Southgate cfo Jonathan Kemp staff 225 turnover £81.9m profit £11.9m
key shows Waterloo Road (BBC1) World’s Strictest Parents (BBC3) Cowboy Builders (Five) New Tricks (BBC1) genre fact, fact ent, drama, kids

Creatively, it’s been a strong year for Shed Media, the owner of Shed Productions (Waterloo Road), Wall to Wall (Who do You Think You Are?), Ricochet (Cowboy Builders) and Twenty Twenty (The Choir). It won an Oscar for Man on Wire and a Bafta for The Choir. And it’s seen its turnover jump from £63m last year to £82m, with its US business proving to be a key driver of growth according to CEO Nick Southgate. Behind the scenes, Shed Media is reportedly looking to delist from the stock market.  And it’s looking to expand - through acquisition or organic growth - into new areas. “There are a couple of areas that are not well served, like entertainment and comedy,” says Southgate.

9 Tinopolis Group
exec chairman Ron Jones md Arwel Rees chief exec, Mentorn John Willis chairman, Sunset+Vine Jeff Foulser staff 450 turnover £67.6m profits £2.8m key shows Question Time (BBC1) Endgame (C4) Gillette World Sport (180 broadcasters worldwide) genre ent, fact, fact ent, drama, sport, kids

Based in Llanelli, Tinopolis is the holding company of indies including Mentorn Media (Question Time), Sunset & Vine (Gillette World of Sport) and Daybreak Pictures (Endgame). Corporately, Tinopolis has kept a low profile since it delisted from the stock market last year. However, its turnover of £67.6m for the year to August 31 2008 is just a little up on last year’s £66m, as are profits at £2.8m. Of its indies Mentorn, headed by former C4 programming boss John Willis, has been particularly busy. Schools Question Time debuted on BBC3 in July while BBC1 extended the current run of Question Time by a further two editions. It’s also worked up a number of projects with John Sergeant for BBC4 and ITV1.

10 DCD Media
acting ceo David Green chairman David Elstein coo Sammy Nourmand cfo John McIntosh staff 85 turnover £34m
profit £2.6m commissions 45 hrs commissioned 198 hrs tx’d 143 key shows Stephen Fry in America (BBC1) Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab (CBBC/BBC2) The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (CBS) genre ent, fact, fact ent, drama, sport, kids

DCD Media owns a clutch of UK indies including Done and Dusted, Prospect, September Films and West Park Pictures. However, the UK market is flat, says acting CEO David Green. Growth, he adds, is mainly coming out of the US through September Films, which is expanding its LA office and Done and Dusted, which is beefing up its New York presence. DCD has also backed start up indie Matchlight in Scotland. Meanwhile, CEO Chris Hunt left late last year to ‘return to programme making’. And Gub Neal left DCD’s drama outfit Box TV.



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