ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, Europe’s second-largest broadcaster, sold the formats for drama series “Danni Lowinski” to Belgium’s VTM channel and game show ‘You Deserve It’ to Spain’s Antena 3 de Television SA.
A Belgian version of “Danni Lowinski,” a show about a hairdresser turned lawyer who sets up shop in a mall and gives advice for 1 euro ($1.42) a minute, will be produced by Sultan Sushi, a company owned by ProSiebenSat.1’s Red Arrow unit. Starring Belgian actress Nathalie Meskens, the program will air in 2012 on VTM, said ProSiebenSat.1 spokeswoman Stefanie Prinz.
European production houses like Endemol NV of the Netherlands and RTL Group SA’s FremantleMedia have a long history of rolling out shows like “Big Brother” and “Idols” across multiple markets. ProSiebenSat.1, based near Munich, only recently intensified efforts, having combined its European production and distribution activities last year.
“If you’re lucky and you do land a hit, you can roll it out basically everywhere,” Jens Richter, head of SevenOne International, the international-distribution unit of ProSiebenSat.1’s Red Arrow production arm, said in a telephone interview.
“You Deserve It,” a game show where the contestant plays to win for someone else who deserves it, has previously been sold to Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Television Network and to Italy and the Middle East. The show was created by Red Arrow and Dick de Rijk, who was behind “Deal or No Deal.”
ProSiebenSat.1 has also made acquisitions in the U.S. and the U.K. to step up efforts to bring drama and game shows to a wider market. The company is in talks with a local U.S. production company to develop a Dutch TV show for Lifetime Networks, Richter said.
“From a strategic perspective, there are two must-have markets for a production group,” said Jan Frouman, the head of Red Arrow.
Other than “You Deserve It,” the German company has also sold 12 episodes of a hidden-camera show hosted by former Golden Girl Betty White to Comcast Corp.’s NBC through Santa Monica, California-based Kinetic Content, in which it bought a majority stake last year. In the show, based on ProSieben’s “Benidorm Bastards,” senior citizens play pranks on unsuspecting younger people.
“Danni Lowinski” made it through the pilot stage in the U.S., produced by CBS Television Studios and intended for the CW Television Network, which so far hasn’t picked it up. Richter said it remains a possibility to try to sell the pilot to another network.
ProSieben still trails its free-TV peer in Germany, RTL, in producing and selling content. RTL Chief Executive Officer Gerhard Zeiler said at a conference in Cologne, Germany, today that he wants to reduce the Luxembourg-based company’s reliance on advertising revenue, and increase the share that productions and other businesses such as e-commerce and games contribute to about 50 percent of total sales from about 40 percent.