Ben Silverman partners with Shine Int'l

8:36 AM PST 02/02/2010 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

Duo launching distribution entity for Electus' content

Ben Silverman is back in business with his old pals.

Silverman’s recently launched Electus, part of Barry Diller’s IAC, and Shine International, the international distribution arm of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group, have partnered to launch Electus Distribution, a distribution entity that will handle worldwide sales for Electus’ content.

Electus Distribution will be run by Silverman and Shine International president Chris Grant. Its operations will be based at Shine International.

Shine International was built around the international distribution division of Ben Silverman’s Reveille following Shine’s $125 million acquisition of that company in early 2008.

Grant was Silverman’s first assistant at Reveille before being promoted to development executive and later given the task of launching the company’s international unit.

“Ben has been like a big brother to me ever since I was 21,” Grant said, adding that combining forces “made sense on so many levels from a personal and business perspective.”

On the business side, starting a new company like Electus requires resources for ramping up operations in all areas, including distribution, and a partnership with an established outfit eliminates the need to build that division from the ground up.

And personally, “We have that shorthand that gives us the ability to hit the ground running at 100 mph,” Grant said.

In addition to the international distribution partnership, Electus and Shine International will look to co-fund projects and third-party production deals.

The new entity will handle reality formats developed or brought in by Electus, but its main focus will be putting together and deficit-financing scripted shows, attracting top showrunners with larger pieces of the shows’ potential backends. The projects would then be sold to foreign syndicators to secure international funding and distribution.

Additionally, advertisers would be brought in, mostly through Silverman’s ties in the ad community, and shows would be taken to domestic networks to secure U.S. distribution.

The biggest difference between that model and other international co-production templates, like the one employed by Fox TV Studios, is the involvement of advertisers from the projects’ inception.

Electus Distribution’s first deal is with leading Israeli production company Abbot Reif Hameiri. Under terms of the agreement, Electus will develop Abbot Reif Hameiri’s Israeli programming in the U.S. across all platforms, while Abbot Reif Hameiri has the opportunity to sell Electus’ content to the Israeli marketplace.

As one of its first projects, Electus has acquired U.S. rights to “Cuckoo’s Nest,” Abbott Reif Hameiri’s interactive game show on Facebook.
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