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Red Arrow buys into Israeli prodco

ProSiebenSat.1’s production investment vehicle Red Arrow Entertainment Group has acquired the Israeli creator of NBC gameshow Still Standing.

July August Productions, which is headed by co-MD’s Lisa Shiloach and Eilon Ratzkovsky, is the latest in a string of companies to join the Red Arrow fold.

As well as devising Still Standing, July August produces Keshet drama series The ‘A’ Word, original format The Frame, and the Israeli version of Ricky Gervais comedy The Office.

Red Arrow has taken an undisclosed majority stake in the scripted and unscripted producer. July August founder Jasmine TV will continue to be a “significant” minority shareholder.

“Israeli productions are highly regarded in the American television market. By acquiring a majority in July August Productions, we are improving our market presence in the largest TV market in the world,” said Jens Richter, MD of Red Arrow’s distribution sister SevenOne International. “We want to exploit synergies with our international network.”

“This partnership will not only enable the company to maintain its position in Israel as one of the leading production companies, but also open up further opportunities in the international market,” added Jasmine TV founder and president Yossi Uzrad.

SevenOne will handle worldwide distribution rights to July August shows but sources have told C21 that NBCUniversal International (NBCUI) and Israeli firm Armoza Formats will keep their existing format rights agreement for Still Standing. NBCUI holds Latin American and Asian rights and Armoza the rest.

The primetime trivia series sees 10 challengers compete for a US$1m jackpot, with losers exiting through trap doors beneath their feet. In the US, Universal Television produces the series for NBC after licensing rights from Armoza. A nine-episode run on NBC began in December last year.

Other format deals struck for the show, which debuted on Channel 10 in Israel, include with Chinese broadcaster Jiangsu Broadcasting, which started its local version March 2. Bandierantes in Brazil, Spain’s Antena 3 and Hungarian channel M1 have also taken remake rights.

July August is now part of a group of 17 Red Arrow-owned production companies around the globe, though it’s not the German firm’s first Israeli partnership – in one of its earliest moves, the ProSieben subsidiary signed a development agreement with Omri Marcus in 2010.

Since launching in January of that year, Red Arrow has struck production partnerships with Marcus, Deal or No Deal creator Dick de Rijk and Genetic Entertainment. Its growing production group now also includes companies from the US, Scandinavia, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. The company acquired majority stakes in two firms in the latter territory in March.


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