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Discovery completes Raw purchase

Discovery Communications has added to its production capacity by acquiring UK indie Raw TV.

Raw, which produces Gold Rush for Discovery Channel in the US, was recently commissioned by the network to make The Unexplained Files – a six-part series on inexplicable occurrences that have confounded scientists and inspired legend.

The deal follows a similar Discovery acquisition from 2011, when the US broadcaster bought out London-based indie Betty – the first time it had acquired an independent production company. Betty, known for its Freaky Eaters format, was charged with broadening the array of programming available to Discovery’s female-skewing TLC.

Like Betty, Raw TV was founded in 2001 and has since produced content for the BBC, Channel 4, Five, CBS, A&E, Discovery, Nat Geo and others. The company was set up by Dimitri Doganis, with Bart Layton joining as creative director in 2005, Piers Vellacottas as MD in 2008, and former Zodiak exec Joely Fether last year as CEO.

Financial terms were not disclosed but the deal, which was brokered by About Corporate Finance, was widely tipped to go ahead at the recent RealScreen Summit in Washington.

“The acquisition of Raw underscores Discovery’s ongoing strategy of increasing investment in new brands, new content creators, new programming genres, and new opportunities across more platforms in more regions of the world,” said Lee Bartlett, president of Discovery Studios and Production Group.

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