Cash injection fuels DRG plans


LONDON -- U.K. entertainment investment vehicle Ingenious Media Active Capital said Monday that it is pumping £3 million ($5.9 million) into independent TV rights company the Digital Rights Group.

IMAC's multimillion pound investment comes as DRG announces it has snapped up production, financing and sales outfit Portman Film and Television as part of the deal.

IMAC's cash injection will secure 75% of DRG, fund the purchase of Portman and provide working capital for the business, the parties said.

The IMAC cash will provide a war chest for DRG to build up a library of content to rep sales through the acquisition of finished programming "as well as formats ... across (multiple) genres," Ingenious said.

DRG also will handle ancillary exploitation activities, focusing in particular on opportunities for digital exploitation across a range of devices and media, including mobile and IPTV, the companies said.

IMAC has told DRG that "further funding will be available to take advantage of future acquisition opportunities."

DRG is scheduled to complete the acquisition of Portman in early January, IMAC said.

Portman, whose management includes Chrysalis Group's Chris Wright and former Action Time founder Jeremy Fox, has a slate of programming that includes dramas "Doc Martin," starring Martin Clunes, and "Kingdom," starring Stephen Fry, which is due to debut in the New Year.

Wright will serve as DRG's chairman, while Fox becomes the company's chief executive. Fox is charged with rolling out the company's strategy and expansion plans.

Said IMAC director Patrick McKenna: "DRG has been established not only to meet the evolving requirements of television producers for the effective commercial exploitation of the rights they now control ... but also in response to the demand by producers for a truly independent and focused distributor."

DRG aims to become a "one-stop shop for the development, funding and distribution of rights across multi-genres and multi-devices, here and internationally," McKenna said. "The acquisition of Portman is a first step in creating this new Group and brings to it a leading position in drama distribution."