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Herbert Kloiber Jr. is setting out on his own.
The film and TV executive, who exited German mini-major Tele Munchen Group (TMG) last year following the company’s acquisition by private equity giant KKR, is launching his own boutique production company focusing on high-end series for the international market.
Kloiber is launching the shingle, Night Train Media, at Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM) this week. On the eve of the market, Kloiber announced a deal with Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), Scandinavia’s leading streaming company, to co-development and co-produce English-language series for NENT’s Viaplay platform and the international market. Kloiber first worked with Viaplay at TMG on Swedish supernatural crime drama Hidden.
At TMG, Kloiber help shepherd through international productions, including period drama The Name of the Rose with John Turturro and Rupert Everett and action series The Professionals with Brendan Fraser.
“My work with TMG and [sales arm] TM International has given me a good sense of where the market is going,” Kloiber told The Hollywood Reporter. “Local streamers on the one hand want local content but at the same time need big shows to compete with the series on offer from worldwide platforms. The budgets of these shows are so high it is necessary to find two to three partners in different territories to back a show so it can compete on that level.”
For the next three years, at least, Kloiber believes demand for high-end series will be “extremely high.” Being based in Europe, he argues, will also be a key advantage both in terms of access to local talent and in order to adhere to Europe’s quota system, which requires all streaming platforms operating on the continent to carry a certain proportion of “European-made” productions.
Kloiber said he picked the name Night Train to reflect this cross-border European approach. “And there’s something mysterious about the night train,” he said. “It takes people on a journey, which good films and shows can do. And on the train is where you see people consuming shows and films on mobile devices, as so many are doing these days.”
Kloiber will be looking to develop original stories from scratch with producers as well as coming on board third-party projects as a co-financier or sales partner. “I won’t be setting up a full sales operation but can work on a bespoke basis to develop international sales strategies on a project by project basis,” he said.
While he was loath to reveal any of the projects on his development slate, Kloiber said Night Train would focus on “very commercial and mainstream drama” across a wide range of genres, “from female YA to spy thrillers to action adventure.”
Kloiber spent seven years at TMG, a company his father started back in 1969. He left last August after KKR bought the company and merged it into the new Leonine conglomerate, together with distributor Universum Film and production shingles Wiedemann & Berg and i&u TV.
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter’s Feb. 20 daily issue at the Berlin Film Festival.
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