Sony BMG Music Entertainment U.K. is spreading its music recording wings into other genres of entertainment through a joint-venture firm it is forming with Fremantle International Distribution, the TV-distribution arm of London-based media group FremantleMedia.
The as yet-unnamed 50-50 joint venture is being spearheaded by London-based Solomon Nwabueze, senior director at Sony BMG U.K.’s visual media unit, a part of the label’s commercial division.
Nwabueze will be working with FID to acquire a variety of digital and conventional distribution rights for content owned by the two partners and third parties. The content will include, among others, the TV, DVD, mobile and online rights of live concerts, comedy specials, and movies.
Under the agreement, the partners will jointly exploit Sony BMG’s catalog of TV properties and invest in music event programming that it aims to roll out internationally on TV and DVD. The firm intends to create and distribute four to six new TV/DVD properties each year.
Nwabueze tells Billboard.biz that Sony BMG and FID will initially use their respective current strengths in buying rights for music DVD platforms and TV broadcast. They will then expand to mobile, the Internet and other new-media platforms in future.
“At the moment, that side of our business is like a cottage industry,” Nwabueze continues. “With this joint venture, we shall be collecting all types of rights under one roof, and we shall be creating original content as well.”
Fremantle Media is the content business arm of leading European broadcaster RTL Group, which is 90% owned by Bertelsmann. Fremantle has been closely involved in the success of the “Idols” reality TV format worldwide.