Sky have today taken the unusual move of buying out a majority stake in the UK based production company Blast! Films, which is responsible for making the hit series The Supervet, 999: What's Your Emergency? and The Route Masters. We don't get know the details of the deal, but Sky have had some form in buying stakes in production companies recently. This past year has seen Sky take stakes in otherwise independent production companies like Jupiter Entertainment (Snapped, Killer Couples, How Stuff Works), Love Productions (The Great British Bake Off, Benefits Street, For the Love of Cars) and Znack & Jones.
Founded in 1994 by Ed Coulthard, Blast! Films has become one of the UK's longest running independent production companies and alongside its TV work has produced some award-winning films, including Steve McQueen's debut feature Hunger, the Channel 4 film of The Death of Klinghoffer and the Bafta award winning drama Soundproof. Under the rules of the takeover, Blast! will continue to operate as a distinct company under the new ownership structure, producing programmes and films for a variety of broadcasters around the globe. No changes in personnel will be made at the company and both Ed Coulthard and Claire Bosworth will continue to run the company as before.
The deal will see Blast! have its programmes distributed by Sky Vision, which handles international distribution for a range of companies. All existing deals with broadcasters and distributors will continue as before though, with only new programmes and films being handled by Sky Vision.
Founder and creative director at Blast! Films, Ed Coulthard, said: "Sky really gets the Blast! Films DNA. As programme makers we are passionate about quality and this is a great fit for us as we continue to evolve the company. I'm really proud of the team we've built here and this deal allows us to continue to attract great talent, keep raising the bar and be ambitious about what we can achieve."
Jane Millichip, Managing Director, Sky Vision commented: “Blast! Films has an incredible pedigree. Ed Coulthard is a first-class producer, and together with Claire Bosworth and team, they have a production slate that combines creative excellence with real commercial appeal. We look forward to working with them to build on their success in the UK and internationally.”
It is, on the face of it, a rather unusual deal for Sky to strike. Like Jupiter Entertainment and Love Productions, Blast! makes largely factual and structured reality programming, putting it squarely in the same sort of park as their previous purchases. It could be that Sky are looking to create a strong stable of reality programmes to sell using their distribution arm, or it could be that Sky are privy to information about some forthcoming programme that we aren't.
Nevertheless, the fact that Sky intend to let Blast! continue their work uninterrupted is fantastic news for everyone. The last five years have proven that Blast! have what it takes to make great TV, and letting them do just that is the best way to handle things.
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