Telenet and Caviar turn Flemish audiovisual talent into global brand
Telenet and Caviar share a common vision on the local and international potential of strong Flemish content, the opportunities that international exchange offers for the development of local talent and the need to further strengthen the Flemish production sector. In this context, Telenet expands its investments in the Flemish media landscape and today announces it will acquire a 49% stake in Caviar Group. Caviar started as a Flemish production house but grew into an international content studio active in producing TV content, fiction and advertising campaigns. Following the growth of the SBS channels and the creative success story of Woestijnvis - both full subsidiaries of Telenet - Telenet thus continues to strengthen the Flemish ecosystem with innovative partnerships. The participations in Streamz (for 50%, with DPG Media) and the new national advertising company Ads & Data (for 44%, with Mediahuis and Proximus) are also part of Telenet’s long-term strategy to develop more structural partnerships within the Flemish media sector.
Growth Opportunities Abroad
Telenet has been investing in the Flemish media landscape for years, e.g. via De Vijver Media with its full subsidiaries Woestijnvis and SBS (Play4, Play5, Play6 and Play7). In this way, the company helps ensure that the local television sector has adequate opportunities to develop strong local productions such as De Slimste Mens or De Mol. With The Park, Telenet is also aiming to further broaden its entertainment offering with virtual reality experiences. While the focus so far was mainly on getting the maximum return from productions within its own client base and the Flemish sales market,
Telenet is now also looking more widely at growth opportunities abroad. For years, the television market in Flanders has been characterized by strong channels, both commercial players and the public broadcaster, and a multitude of creative production houses. But due to international competition and declining advertising revenues, local revenues are under pressure, which restricts further growth. At the same time, the strong Flemish content has a lot of international potential. Companies all over the world are looking for content that can make a difference and our local fiction, formats and talents are increasingly on the international radar (e.g. De Mol, De Slimste Mens, Clan, Down the Road). Telenet sees in Caviar Group a player that can make very strong content and also has the experience to market this content and the talent behind it worldwide.
Pioneering Role in Developing Structural Partnerships Around Strong Portfolio and International Distribution on a Sufficient Scale
Caviar has harbored this ambition for years: to let strong creative ideas score both locally and internationally. Caviar, founded in 2004 as a Flemish production house, grew into an international content studio active in producing TV content, fiction and advertising campaigns. Caviar has made series such as Clan, Tabula Rasa, the soon to be released Fuck You Very Very Much and is known for TV formats such as De Code van Coppens, Durf te Vragen and Down The Road. Internationally, Caviar Group works for major advertisers such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Hermes, and has made a name for itself with movies like The Diary of a Teenage Girl and The Rider. It is also the producer of Sound of Metal, an American movie that was recently nominated for six Oscars. In the current situation, the organic growth of the successful company, with offices in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp and Mechelen, was limited and Caviar had been looking for a suitable strategic partner for some time.
Telenet and Caviar are convinced that within the Flemish media sector, more structural partnerships can be developed around the creation of a strong portfolio and international distribution, and together they want to play a pioneering role in this. In a growing content market with rising international competition, scale is becoming ever more important since the large international buyers increasingly prefer a one-stop shop. This results in consolidations and strategic alliances worldwide to achieve a stronger impact locally. From a shared vision on the development of local talent, export possibilities of strong local concepts and potential growth for the Flemish production sector, Telenet and Caviar are joining forces to respond to these challenges.
Telenet is to acquire a 49% strategic stake in Caviar Group. Caviar Group will continue to function as an independent content studio. The remaining shares remain in the hands of current stakeholders Bert Hamelinck (CEO Caviar and responsible for fiction), Matthias Coppens (responsible for TV division Roses Are Blue) and Michael Sagol (Chief Talent Officer and responsible for international branded content). The agreement does not need to be submitted to the competition authorities and is expected to be finalized on 1 May.
Bert Hamelinck, CEO Caviar: ‘We are very pleased to have found in Telenet a long-term partner that shares our vision. Thinking internationally is part of our DNA. All productions for a Flemish audience are intended for export as well. This is a natural result of the limited Flemish sales market and the saturated local media landscape. We always keep the legal rights to our formats, which leads to co-productions with other countries. We have long believed that local consolidation and centralization, together with a focus on formats that also work abroad, is the way to further growth. Since Caviar is meanwhile an internationally known brand, we must now continue to develop a business model in which local talent can switch between local and foreign projects whenever possible. By embracing Telenet as a partner, we are ideally positioned to be the driving force of the first major Belgian entertainment group in this rapidly changing media landscape and we create opportunities for the local market. Together we can turn the numerous Flemish audiovisual talents into a global brand.’
John Porter, CEO Telenet: ‘At Telenet, we were already looking at ways of making local content more profitable beyond the Flemish living rooms via The Park. Woestijnvis is already targeting the Dutch and German markets through joint venture Fabiola. I am convinced that the local top content produced here will be appreciated internationally as well. Caviar's vision to start from its own strengths and to deploy these locally and internationally instead of copying formats from abroad is something I fully support. This mentality will lead to more local top content for our viewers, more growth for our outstanding local talents and more value for the Flemish market. To succeed optimally, there is a need for strategic partnerships that provide sufficient scale to hold a stronger position with foreign players. The participation in Caviar perfectly fits the bill.’
Telenet emphasizes that the participation in Caviar will not lead to a change in the current agreements and relationships with other parties in the media landscape.
Caviar is an originally Belgian production house with a global business and strategy. It operates through three different business entities (advertising campaigns, fiction and TV content) in five different regions (Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and the United States). Caviar's strategy focuses on developing talent (including directors) and creating content that can be exported internationally through an extensive network of clients (brands, distributors and broadcasters) and partners. Caviar has a strong track record of clients and excels in creativity (more than 150 awards and nominations worldwide). Caviar's current stakeholders are all still active as producers and remain active within the company.