Largest German TV Producer UFA to Restructure

UFA's TV productions include the BAFTA-nominated "The Sinking of the Laconia".

The reshuffling will pool talent from the group’s various production operations, which are responsible for the local versions of "Idol" and "Farmer Wants A Wife," among others.

BERLIN – UFA, Germany’s largest television production company, has announced a major restructuring of its operations, which will see the group pool its creative talent for future development and production activities.

Under the new structure, UFA will split its operation into three umbrella divisions: Entertainment for TV variety and reality shows, such as the local versions of Farmer Wants A Wife and Idol; Daily Drama for soaps, including hit series Good Times, Bad Times; and Fiction, which will develop and produce films, series and TV movies.

UFA’s various production subsidiaries, including UFA Cinema, Teamworx and Grundy Light Entertainment, will continue to exist, but under the new structure, the various producers will work together instead of compete with each other. Producers from different subsidiaries will be grouped into separate creative teams to jointly develop programming. Before this, UFA subsidiaries often developed the same project in parallel, competing with one another for talent and resources.

“Internal competition between our production divisions worked well for many years,” UFA head Wolf Bauer told THR “but when we look at future challenges, producing programming across all platforms, it makes more sense to pool all the creative talent we have. The competition between ideas will continue, of course.”

In addition to the hundreds of hours of soaps, series and entertainment programming UFA divisions deliver for German TV every year, the group also makes high-end TV and cinema. Recent productions include the BAFTA-nominated miniseries The Sinking of the Laconia and The Physician, a big-budget adaptation of the Noah Gordon medieval bestseller The Physician starring Tom Payne, Stellan Skarsgard and Ben Kingsley, which is currently shooting.

UFA is part of global production powerhouse FremantleMedia, which in turn is controlled by German conglomorate Bertelsmann.