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Sony buys into Dutch prodco

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has expanded its European production base by investing in a year-old prodco in Holland, best known for a talent show format featuring identical twins.

SPTI has today confirmed it has bought an undisclosed stake in Tuvalu Media, as well as securing worldwide distribution rights to the company’s slate of television product, including both formats and finished programming.

Tuvalu is in production on the BBC format BabyBoom on Ned-1 (via pubcaster NCRV), Twinzz on Ned-1 (via TROS) and How Safe is Your House? on commercial channel SBS6. BabyBoom is based on UK format Make Me a Baby from Mentorn, but the Hilversum firm developed Twinzz and The 100 itself.

Tuvalu, which was set up by former Palazzina Productions execs Roel Kooi, Taco Zimmerman and Duurt Holman in summer 2006, owns the Twinzz format with Dutch music impresario Ferdi Bolland and launched it at Mipcom in October.

Twinzz looks like a regular talent show, with pairs of wannabe stars competing against other pairs in a singing and dancing contest, but the twist is the pairs must all be identical twins. It is due to air on Ned-1 from March 2008.

“Our investment in Tuvalu is strategically important as it adds another supply line for our continuously expanding formats business and it extends the geographical reach of our production operations across Europe,” said Antony Root, senior VP, European production, SPTI.

“This agreement also underscores our heightened focus on building SPTI’s non-scripted business in Europe and around the world,” he added, referring to stakes the company has in other prodcos like Shine in the UK and other production arms in Germany, France, Russia and Italy, among other territories.

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