Bavaria Media going Italian for RAI

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CANNES -- German production giant Bavaria Media Television is brushing up on its Italian with a new co-production deal with Italian public broadcaster RAI to adapt Bavaria's TV movies for the Italian market.

Bavaria's Rome-based shingle Bavaria Media Italia will produce the movies, adapting German scripts from Bavaria's vast drama archive.

The deal, initially for three to four telefilms, is part of a strategic shift at Bavaria to put more focus on adapting its drama series for foreign markets.

"It's a business where we still have a lot of catching up to do compared with the U.S., the U.K. or Australia," distribution head Oliver Kreuter said. "But compared to the rest of continental Europe, we are in the forefront."

Bavaria first got into the adaptation business in Rome with a local-language version of the hit German daily soap "Marienhof," also produced for RAI.

"We've produced 190 episodes (of the Italian version), and its success is what made us aware of the potential of the adaptation market," Kreuter said.

Cross-European adaptations are something of a trend at the moment. Other success stories include the French adaptation of the Italian crime investigation series "R.I.S." and a German version of the hit French miniseries "Zodiaque."

In addition to its co-production deal with RAI, Bavaria also signed agreements shortly before MIPCOM with channels in Greece and Turkey to adapt hit the German telenovela "Storm of Love."
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