news 3 weeks ago

‘Swedish Dicks’ Backer Nordic Entertainment Group To Boost Drama Focus, Eyes Third Party Investment & Plans To Sell Non-Scripted Unit

Deadline — Peter White

Swedish Dicks backer Nordic Entertainment Group has refocused its studio division to focus on scripted drama and is to sell its non-scripted units.

The company, which has been ramping up its drama titles with projects including Perfect People from Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak, and The Professionals, a Brendan Fraser-fronted remake of action movie Soldiers of Fortune, is also looking for a minority equity partner to help finance its scripted moves.

The company, which operates Scandinavian streamer Viaplay, is reorganizing its content production and distribution business that comprises 32 companies in 17 countries into a new organisation focused on scripted drama production and distribution.

As part of the move, it will divest its non-scripted production, branded entertainment and events businesses.

Last year, Viaplay premiered 21 original productions, expects to premiere more than 30 original productions in 2020, and plans a minimum of 40 original productions per year in the future.

The new scripted production focus will comprise its US based scripted production company Brain Academy US and NENT Group’s investment in the Los Angeles based studio Picturestart, NENT Studios’ UK operations including DRG and NENT Group’s joint venture with FilmNation Entertainment and its Nordic production companies Brain Academy Nordics, Nice Drama, EPIQ and Monster Scripted and CEE production company Paprika.

NENT has been attracting international attention for its raft of originals with Hollywood stars. Projects include Swedish-Norwegian action thriller The Machinery featuring The Revenant and Mission: Impossible – Fallout star Kristoffer Joner, while Brendan Fraser is to star in The Professionals, a loose remake of the Christian Slater-fronted action movie Soldiers of Fortune for the platform, and Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak is also working up Margeaux, an international drama about the Munich Olympic massacre. Keanu Reeves starred in Swedish Dicks, one of its first originals that aired on Pop TV in the U.S.

NENT Studios’ non-scripted production, branded entertainment, and events companies comprise Strix, Baluba, Monster Entertainment, Novemberfilm, Moskito, Rakett, Strong Productions, Production House, Splay One, Playroom, One Big Happy Family, and Grillifilms. The sales process will be conducted during the first half of 2020 and NENT Group has appointed ACF as financial advisers for the sale of the non-scripted production and events companies, and Stella EOC for the sale of the branded entertainment business Splay One, which will be conducted separately.

Anders Jensen, NENT Group President and CEO, said, “This reorganisation reflects how important it is for us to focus even further on the opportunity we have with scripted original content, its relevance for our Viaplay streaming service and the expansion ambitions that we have for the coming years. We therefore have a clear ambition to grow the number of NENT Studios produced Viaplay Originals. We have also proven that these and many other shows are attractive to international media partners, who have picked up the rights for key territories around the world. We have had talks with several third parties who have expressed strong interest in investing in the exciting journey with the reorganised NENT Studios. Our successful non-scripted, branded entertainment and events companies primarily work with third party clients, which is why we believe that they will benefit from new owners that are more focused on these segments of the market.”

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