Modern Times Group (MTG) has taken a majority stake in a pan-European prodco as part of its plans to expand its in-house content business.
Sweden-based MTG’s Modern Studios has acquired 53% of Paprika Latino, which has offices across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), for an “undisclosed cash consideration.”
Founded in 2004, Paprika’s credits include cooking format Fish on the Cake, and international formats The X Factor and The Voice. Its interests span a number of genres including reality TV, scripted fiction and gameshows.
The company is currently developing a low-cost production hub in Serbia and a base for adventure reality shows like Survivor in Costa Rica. Its other offices are in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Slovenia.
Peter Marschall, founder and the largest minority shareholder in Paprika, will remain CEO. He will also be appointed VP of CEE at MTG’s content production division Modern Studios, which will now be known as MTG Studios.
Marschall will report to Patrick Svensk, chairman and CEO of MTG Studios and exec VP of content at MTG since joining last autumn.
MTG Studios consists of Swedish prodco Strix and contract publisher Redaktörerna, and the acquisition of Paprika is part of plans to expand its footprint through genres including reality TV, entertainment, factual entertainment, documentaries, scripted drama and comedy.
Hans-Holger Albrecht, president and CEO of MTG, said its majority stake in Paprika “provides us with a significant boost to our content production and acquisition capabilities in Eastern Europe.”
He added: “It is also an important milestone in our broader content strategy, and we are focused on the expansion of MTG Studios’ reach and footprint across our territories. Content is at the very heart of what we do, and by strengthening our in house content production capacity we will be able to provide our viewers with an even wider range of exciting programmes and formats.”
Last month, MTG appointed an exec VP of business diversification to explore new revenue streams for the company.
In related news, the broadcast group has also secured exclusive Nordic and Baltic rights to a number of golf tournaments, including the Ryder Cup and PGA European Tour, to the end of 2015. Viasat’s premium pay-TV channel Viasat Golf in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries will carry coverage alongside third party networks also in Scandinavia.
MTG has free-to-air and pay-TV channels in 35 countries around the world.