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May iPad

Firms battle to regain Target rights

Producers and distributors are scrambling to regain programme rights from Target Entertainment after the UK-based distributor went into administration yesterday.

Target’s parent Metrodome Group announced it had put the rights management company into administration just 18 months after acquiring it for £800,000 (US$1.3m). Metrodome put this down to “tougher than expected” market conditions, meaning there was little chance of returning the business to profit.

Numerous producers and broadcasters are affected by the situation at Target, which has a content library comprising about 4,000 hours of drama, children’s, entertainment and factual content.

Programmes include Chapman Entertainment’s Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car ; Novel Entertainment’s Horrid Henry ; the Popstars format franchise; and E4’s Objective Productions-produced reality series Tool Academy.

Industry sources have said negotiations are underway to reclaim their titles before administrator BDO undertakes its duties. C21 understands some rights have already reverted to their original owners.

“Most people will probably try to act quickly and get their titles back, which they will have legal entitlements to do in their contracts, before the administrator gets buried in,” said one source with knowledge of negotiations.

“How people react will also depend on if they are owed money. Some may try to buy their catalogue or part of it cheaply from the administrator, which will not suit everyone,” the source added.

Another source, who is negotiating to reclaim a programme, questioned how Target had seemingly “deteriorated so quickly,” and added: “We’re in the middle of trying to sort out our position but we’re not entirely sure where we are at the moment.”

A third source said Target had stopped paying them in September last year. “We have been given the rights to our programme back so it’s just the back catalogue we’re negotiating for,” they said.

When Metrodome acquired Target in July 2010, it announced £3m would be pumped into the company. But in December last year, publicly listed Metrodome issued a profit warning, claiming Target’s fourth-quarter result would impact on group earnings.

Metrodome put the distributor up for sale earlier this month before calling in administrators yesterday.

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