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Endeavor backs The Story Company

L-R: Simon Vaughan, Damian Keogh and Helen Jackson

Endeavor Content in the US is backing the UK venture from ex-BBC exec Helen Jackson and Lookout Point founder Simon Vaughan and its MD Damian Keogh.

The distribution and content-finance arm of US entertainment group Endeavor will support The Story Company (fka The Media Investment Company) to invest in both script development and new scripted production company start-ups. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Jackson and Vaughan previously linked up with Stella EOC’s Jonathan Norman to launch The Media Investment Company towards the end of 2019.

The executive management of The Story Company will be led by Keogh, who is leaving his role as MD of BBC Studios-owned Lookout Point to become CEO.

Keogh was promoted to MD of Lookout Point in 2017 having joined the company in 2015, prior to which he was head of drama at the commercial arm of the BBC when it was known as BBC Worldwide.

Jackson, the former content chief of BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios), will serve as executive chair, while drama production veteran Vaughan, who co-founded Lookout Point in 2009 and left in 2019, will serve as executive director.

Norman, who is MD at global investment bank GCA Altium, is on the board of The Story Company as non-executive director and has been joined by Chris Rice, the co-president of Endeavor Content.

Jackson, Vaughan and Norman have been in business with one another for more than a decade, with Norman acting as corporate adviser to Vaughan since 2008 and Jackson sitting on the board of Lookout Point with Vaughan from 2010.

The Story Company will work with creatives to help acquire rights, commission scripts, package projects and manage the sales process. It said its flexible business model allows it to work with other production entities, as well as directly with both established and emerging creators and writers.

It is also planning to make equity investments in content businesses, ranging from start-ups to more established producers.

The aim is to build a network of creative partnerships into a boutique portfolio, with a focus on driving global projects out of the UK market and “unearthing the next generation of storytellers by taking risks on new and emerging talent.”

Endeavor Content’s TV series include See, Severance and Truth Be Told on Apple TV+ and the upcoming Nine Perfect Strangers and Life & Beth for Hulu and Tokyo Vice for HBO Max. It also handles global distribution for series including Killing Eve, Normal People and The Night Manager.

Jackson established and built the BBC’s indie production business, investing start-up capital and sitting on the boards of many of the UK’s top indies, including Left Bank, Big Talk, Baby Cow and Clerkenwell, as well as Lookout Point.

She also oversaw the company’s multi-million-dollar programming fund, investing in the creative development and production of hundreds of hours of content annually, including Sherlock, Doctor Foster, Gentleman Jack and Killing Eve.

Under Vaughan’s management, Lookout Point produced a number of ambitious high-end drama series, including War & Peace, Les Miserables, Ripper Street, Gentleman Jack and A Suitable Boy.

Keogh said: “We are carefully crafting a welcoming and exciting company, specifically for UK creative talent. Inspired by our passion for storytelling, we want to build a patient, flexible and ambitious home where our talent partners can thrive. With Endeavor Content behind us, we are supported by a creative global powerhouse that shares our ambitions and will provide the support and resources we need.”

Vaughan added: “It’s a thrill to be putting the ‘band back together’ and to fill a gap in the market for independent creatives who want us to help them to get their projects made, as well as for creatives within established media groups who may wish to use our skills. We are that truly independent partner who can bring insight and impetus across the platform landscape.”

Jackson said: “Having experienced the growth of the indie sector through my time at the BBC, it is exciting to now bring a globally focused opportunity to the UK sector, whilst remaining a fierce champion of British creativity. We believe that the strength of this team and the impact we can have for our talent partners is second to none.”

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