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BBC Studios grows in Scandinavia with acquisition of STV

BBC Studios has acquired pan-Scandinavian production company STV.

The acquisition will help the British production-distribution powerhouse grow its footprint in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and build out its existing production outfits. BBCS has said the deal is “in response to the growing appetite and opportunity for BBC content in the market.”

Based in Copenhagen with offices in Norway and Sweden, STV’s credits include factual entertainment formats such as “Big Love” and “Get Lost Honey.” STV also acts as the local producer for “Long Lost Family,” “Wheel of Fortune” and “Bargain King,” in addition to long-running scripted series “The First Years” across Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

BBC Studios and STV previously partnered on “Denmark Saves the Planet” for TV2 and the ongoing development of a local version of “The Office.”

STV’s three existing bases will be rebranded as BBC Studios Nordic Productions and the regional MD, Daniel Svarts, will report into Jan Salling, head of BBC Studios Nordic.

BBC Studios Nordic Productions will produce local adaptations of unscripted and scripted BBC Studios formats, in addition to developing original IP. The company will take over distributing and producing STV formats outside of Scandinavia.

The deal also means that BBC Studios and Banijay have agreed not to extend their local first-look agreement for unscripted formats, though the two companies will continue to partner on “Dancing With The Stars” across the Nordics, “The Great Bake Off” in Sweden and “The Dementia Choir” in Denmark and Norway, with Banijay serving as the local producer.

The STV acquisition comes less than a year after BBC wholly acquired Sid Gentle, buying out Independent Talent’s stake for £7.3 million ($9.3 million). In November, BBCS also took full ownership of British factual producer Voltage TV, whose credits include “Inside the Factory” and “The British Tribe Next Door.” Most recently, BBCS bought a 25% stake in former Channel 4 exec Kelly Webb-Labb’s Mothership Production.

Matt Forde, managing director of international production and formats at BBC Studios, said: “There is a huge affinity and affection in the region for the BBC brand and a growing demand for our content locally. Establishing a wide-ranging production presence in the region has been a long-held ambition and a natural evolution for the business after several years of successful format licensing and co-production. Becoming a fully-independent local producer will allow us to have wider creative conversations and to act on the opportunity to develop and export original creative IP from Scandinavia to the wider international market. This acquisition cements us as an international producer of scale.”

Jacob DeBoer, executive VP of international production and formats at BBC Studios, said: “We are thrilled that the incredibly talented team at STV are joining forces with us to become BBC Studios Nordic Productions. They are an exceptionally creative team with an excellent track record and with Jan at the helm of our newest production house, we can’t wait to bring our ideas to broadcasters and platforms in Scandinavia and beyond.”

René Szczyrbak, founder of STV, added: “STV has been my baby and my business for 36 years. To pass on the company was a major decision, but handing over the keys to BBC Studios feels right and makes me extremely proud as the BBC brand has always been synonymous with outstanding quality. I’m equally proud that the entire management team under the leadership of Daniel Svarts will remain in place to provide continuity for our important relationships in the market. I will continue to support the team and the company in any way possible.” Variety

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