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Scripps keeps Passion for distribution

UK-based Passion Distribution has extended its deal with Scripps Networks International to take programming from HGTV, Food Network and other Scripps channels to the international market.

The new two-year deal is an extension of the previous arrangement between the two companies and now includes programming from the US Travel Channel for the first time.

Passion will take more than 250 hours of new Scripps content from HGTV, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, Food Network and Travel Channel to MipTV in Cannes at the end of the month.

The slate includes Fat Chef, a six-part series on chefs with food addictions, and the format for Restaurant Stakeout, where staff at failing eateries are monitored at work using hidden cameras.

Passion CEO Sally Miles told C21 that the agreement validated the work her company has done already for Scripps.

Miles said: “I know a lot of buyers are looking to access the Travel Channel shows and that’s a great addition.

“Being based in London we’re a good access point for Scripps in Europe and other international territories. It makes sense for them to work with a company that is small enough to give them flexibility. We try and operate almost like their own in-house distribution.”

Passion has carved out a niche as a distributor for broadcasters. It currently sells programming from Sundance Channel and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network as well as Scripps and has previously worked with UKTV and Lifetime.

Miles says it’s a model that allows the company to thrive through tough economic times despite not having a production arm of its own.

She said: “I think we are a different beast to a lot of traditional distribution companies that are trying to build through gaining a series here or a few hours of content there.

“Through tough economic times we have a fantastic slate that makes huge economic sense for international broadcasters to acquire – strong brands, returning series. But there are only so many broadcasters that don’t have distribution internally. Previously we distributed for Lifetime; that went to A+E Networks and then, of course, the distribution goes in house.

“We’ve seen the same consolidation model that’s happened with production companies happening with broadcasters, so it’s not a massive area that everybody should be running at. The opportunities are few and far between.”

Miles said discussions with other broadcasters are ongoing as Passion eyes further expansion, and she hopes to be able to make a further announcement prior to Mipcom.

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