RTL Group's Fremantle Unveils Restructuring

Fremantle Media Logo - H 2013

Fremantle Media Logo - H 2013

The TV production company behind such hit formats as "X Factor" will create two new divisions and move other areas handled by its Enterprises arm to its regional operations.

LONDON -- RTL Group-owned TV producer FremantleMedia said Friday that it plans to create two new stand-alone divisions focused on global distribution and kids and family entertainment, as well as its digital and branded entertainment activities.

The company behind such hit formats as X Factor and Idol will dismantle its FremantleMedia Enterprises arm as part of the planned reorganization. All its other digital, licensing, sponsorship and ancillary businesses will be moved to FremantleMedia’s regional production operations, the company said.

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David Ellender, currently global CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises, will be appointed to the new role of CEO, FremantleMedia International and Kids, the firm said. He will report directly to FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz.

Sander Schwartz will continue to head up FremantleMedia’s Kids & Family Entertainment unit, reporting to Ellender. The company plans to appoint a head of digital & branded entertainment.

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"This is a very powerful shift in our company’s structure that we believe will significantly strengthen our core business activities, while also better positioning us to capitalize on growth opportunities for the future," said Frot-Coutaz. "We have built a formidable expertise in extending our market-leading brands both on and beyond the television screen, through licensing, sponsorship, digital activities and other valuable commercial ancillaries. By transferring these skills into our local production businesses, we create a far more direct and seamless integration between our production efforts and the commercial activity surrounding our hit shows."

She added: "Not only will this bolster and enhance our creative development process, but it will also give us the ability to manage and grow our brands in a far more holistic way, creating added value and the opportunity for even greater engagement with viewers around the world."
Friday's news comes a day after Fremantle announced a five-year partnership with BBC Children's that will see the two develop, produce and finance kids TV projects.

German media giant Bertelsmann controls RTL, but announced late Thursday that it might reduce its stake in the big European TV company.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai