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Screentime owner’s merger confirmed

Screentime owner Banijay has completed the process of getting approval from the European Commission for the merger between Banijay and Zodiak Media.

The European Commission approved the deal because it considered “the activities of Banijay and Zodiak overlap only to a limited extent” and that there were other players in the market. Offering some confusing rationale, the Commission statement said, “Customers can switch suppliers relatively easy” (sic).

Banijay owns Screentime here and in Australia, as well as over 15 production companies in the US and Europe. Although most of the output from Banijay and Zodiak companies is factual, Screentime has a good track record with high-end drama, including Anzac Girls, How To Murder Your Wife. Siege, Underbelly: Land of the Long Green Cloud (pictured, top) and Venus And Mars. It currently has Platinum Fund-supported drama Bombshell – The Sinking Of The Rainbow Warrior on the way.

Zodiak doesn’t own any companies in Australasia, but does handle sales of a number of shows by NZ companies including for 2B Media. Last week at NATPE, Zodiak annnounced sales of Imagination TV’s Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty for Latin America and the US, having previously announced deals with Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Australia’s Foxtel and Globosat (Brazil).

Vivendi, the owner of Studio Canal (formerly Hoyts Distribution), owns over 25% of the new Banijay-Zodiak organisation. The merger creates another very large multi-territory and multi-lingual player in a European market that the European Commission is pushing towards becoming a single market for digital distribution.

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