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International production giant Banijay continues to gobble up independent production companies, on Thursday unveiling that it has taken a majority stake in jonnydepony, a boutique TV outfit in Belgium.
Banijay Benelux, which produces such local series as hit soap opera Familie, will fold jonnydepony into its scripted operations.
Set up by Philippe De Schepper in 2015, jonnydepony specializes in high-end drama series, often set up as European co-productions. Recent successes include Finnish-Belgian crime series Transport from Finnish showrunner Auli Mantila, which looks at the underground world of illegal horse smuggling; and the terrorist thriller Blackout, which imagines an attack on a nuclear power plant that plunges all of Belgium into darkness.
Upcoming projects include the high-concept drama Arcadia, a co-production with Dutch TV group Big Blue, which is set in a near-future world where one’s social status is determined by an algorithmic Citizen Score designed to ensure social compliance.
Helen Perquy, co-owner of jonnydepony since 2018, and De Schepper, will stay on as heads of the company.
“Jonnydepony has built up a brilliant reputation in Belgium, but also in the Netherlands and Germany, under the leadership of Helen and Philippe,” said Banijay Benelux CEO Peter Lubbers, calling the pair “a unique duo with an extremely creative and successful signature” and the jonnydepony label “a magnet for great talent in front of, and behind-the-camera.”
Perquy and De Schepper said they looked forward to working within Banijay “to further grow our business in both the local and international markets,” noting that “in the rapidly evolving media ecosystem, it is nice that a partner like Banijay, which values IP rights, is strong in global distribution and has a global creative network, joins forces with our company.”
Since its huge, $2.2 billion acquisition of Endemol Shine in 2020 —a deal that combined Banijay’s
entertainment and reality-TV franchises, including Survivor and Temptation Island with Endemol Shine’s library of unscripted hits (Big Brother, MasterChef) and scripted dramas like Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders — Banijay has been on a buying frenzy, snatching up international production companies in a bid to gain scale and acquire new IP. The company currently owns more than 120 production companies across 22 countries. Its (non-audited) revenue for last year was $3.2 billion (€3 billion).
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