Germany's Red Arrow Takes Stake in Digital Media Group Band of Outsiders (Exclusive)

Prosieben HQ - H 2013

The deal for 20 percent of the L.A.-based production company is Red Arrow's first major acquisition since setting up digital media company Ripple Entertainment last year.

Red Arrow Entertainment Group, the international production and distribution arm of German broadcasting giant ProSiebenSat.1, has taken a 20 percent stake in Los Angeles-based Band of Outsiders, a production firm specializing in digital content.

The deal, announced Thursday, is the first major buy for Red Arrow since it launched its stand-alone digital media company Ripple Entertainment in the U.S. last year.

Up to now, Red Arrow has focused mainly on snatching up traditional TV production firms. Its list of acquisitions include buying into Say Yes to the Dress producers Half Yard Productions, Building Alaska shingle Orion Entertainment and Fabrik Entertainment, makers of Amazon's police drama Bosch.

“The buys we have made before have been rather traditional, more linear TV production companies — this is the first that's more focused on the digital space,” Jan Frouman, chairman and CEO of Red Arrow, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We have a great foothold in traditional television, but I think there will be a lot of convergence coming and [Band of Outsiders CEO] Jay [Faires] and his team, they get that.”

The agreement will see Red Arrow International, the company's distribution arm, handle all of Band of Outsiders' projects internationally. Band of Outsiders also will get access to select Red Arrow content for possible U.S. adaptations.

Band of Outsiders produces a wide range of content across both digital and linear TV platforms, including for such online groups as female-focused Galore Media, which boasts some 40 million users, and film and TV crowdfunding site Seed & Spark, which reaches 100 million homes. Unlike traditional TV production companies, Band of Outsiders often partners with brands to fund production, a model with particular appeal to Red Arrow.

“Talking to Jay, I quickly found myself in front of very interesting people, new partners that I think have been missing from what we were doing,” said Frouman. “Their approach to commercializing production is something we want to inject into the Red Arrow group.”

Said Faires: “We are agnostic when it comes to platforms, we just go where the audience is. Partnering with Red Arrow gives us access to a global market and an international sales team — they are the most entrepreneurial international team I have seen in a long time. Having this kind of expertise is a huge advantage for us.”

Frouman said the Band of Outsiders deal did not represent a change in Red Arrow's strategy, preferring to call it “an evolution.” Future deals for digital-first production companies could follow, he said, but the company will remain “opportunistic” in its approach to acquisitions and continue to look at both traditional and online companies as its expands its production and distribution slate.