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Banijay hires Wolter for German arm

MIPTV: Banijay Group has appointed Endemol Shine’s former chairman in northern Europe and CEO in Germany to head a new division tasked with expanding Banijay’s activities in the country.

Marcus Wolter

Marcus Wolter will become CEO of the newly created Banijay Germany in August, overseeing all of its local operations, including Brainpool and Banijay Productions Germany.

Banijay Germany has been launched “to take advantage of the myriad opportunities in this significant market,” according to Marco Bassetti, CEO of Banijay Group.

“Our aim is to escalate the growth of our business across all genres to supply broadcasters and the many new multi-platform SVoD services in Germany with high-quality content.”

Bassetti said Banijay’s existing producer, Brainpool, would expand its development while additional labels and companies would also be created.

Wolter previously headed operations for Endemol Shine in Germany until the end of last year, having joined Endemol in 2008 as MD, prior to the company’s merger with Shine Group.

He was behind deals with German companies including fiction company Wiedemann & Berg and Florida TV, as well as talent including host Jörg Pilawa.

Wolter started his career as founder of music publishing company Seegang Music and was part of the founding team of Viva, Germany’s first music channel. He then spent time at German interactive broadcaster 9 Live before moving to Endemol.

Wolter said: “To assemble a new, independent group of entertainment companies in Germany with Banijay is a one-time opportunity.

“The DNA of Brainpool is about creativity and innovation, and it is regarded as the home base for many of the best talents in Germany. I am looking forward to building up Banijay in Germany and to working with Brainpool’s excellent team and artists.”

Wolter’s arrival comes shortly after Banijay set up Banijay Productions Germany (BPG), which will be led by industry veteran Arno Schneppenheim, the founder of Endemol Shine-owned German production company Florida TV.

That comes as Banijay attempts to become the leading shareholder in Brainpool by purchasing the shares held by Stefan Raab.

The firm took a 50% stake in the company in 2009 but has been blocked from extending that by a legal injunction secured by the company’s CEO, Jörg Grabosch.

Brainpool is behind shows such as Total, Ladykracher, Beat Your Host, Pastewska, Celebrity School, Next Big Thing, Luke! The Week & I, Stromberg and Stars in Danger: The High Dive.

Peter Langenberg, chief operating officer of Banijay Group, told C21 at the time of BPG’s launch that it would focus more on non-scripted entertainment formats, while Brainpool will continue to specialise in talent-driven comedy shows. The two will operate out of separate locations in Cologne, Langenberg added.

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