ProSiebenSat.1 Buys Orion to Add U.S. Hunting, Fishing Shows

  • Production arm's chief Frouman sees more assets to buy
  • Colorado-based Orion focuses on shows about outdoor sports

ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE agreed to buy a majority stake in U.S. production company Orion Entertainment and is pursuing further deals in the country as the German broadcaster seeks to cement its footprint in the biggest entertainment market.

Red Arrow, ProSiebenSat.1’s production and distribution arm that’s behind anything from dramas to cooking shows, is buying Littleton, Colorado-based Orion for an undisclosed price, Jan David Frouman, the unit’s head, said in an interview in Munich. Orion focuses on outdoor content such as hunting and fishing shows. Red Arrow is actively in discussions for other deals, Frouman said.

“We are still seeing things to buy and partners to do deals with,” mainly in the unscripted segment, Frouman said. “The U.S. is still not only the largest but also the most dynamic and interesting content market.”

Red Arrow, which has produced the social experiment show "Married At First Sight" that aired on FYI and A&E as well as drama series "Bosch" for Amazon.com Inc. and "Lilyhammer" with Netflix Inc., generates about two thirds of its revenues in the U.S. The company has the backing of its parent to expand its overseas push, Frouman said. ProSiebenSat.1 in the past signed off on U.S. deals including an investment in online video network Collective Digital Studio.

Orion, which employs about 80 people and makes unscripted series including DIY’s “Building Alaska” and HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living,” is attractive because it has developed a “unique” position in the U.S. outdoor sports market, Frouman said. Orion’s founder Chris Dorsey will continue to lead the company, which will change its name to Dorsey Pictures LLC this year, ProSiebenSat.1 said Thursday in a statement.

Frouman said Orion’s margins are “some of the best I’ve seen,” thanks in part to the comparatively low cost of running a business in Colorado and branded content produced for clients including Ford Motor Co.and Winchester. He declined to give details on Orion’s financials.

As Red Arrow releases more shows and negotiates with global digital companies such as Amazon and Netflix, it’s also open to deals in which the outlet obtains all the rights to a show, if such arrangements make commercial sense, Frouman said. “Netflix and Amazon are now as often on the list for a show” as any regular TV network, he said. "They’re premium players.”

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