Fremantle Limited
FormerlyPearson Television (1994–2001)
FremantleMedia (2001–2018)
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryTelevision
Predecessors
  • Embankment Trust (1939–1988)
  • Camco Industries (1988–1993)
Founded1994; 28 years ago (1994)
HeadquartersLondon,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Jennifer Mullin (CEO)
OwnerBertelsmann
ParentRTL Group
SubsidiariesSee full list of labels
Websitefremantle.com
Fremantle Licensing
FormerlyFremantle Overseas Radio and Television (1952–1958)
Fremantle International (1958–1994, 2018–present for Fremantle's current international division)
All American Fremantle International (1994–1998)
Pearson Television Licensing (1998–2001)
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryTelevision
Founded1952; 70 years ago (1952)[1][2]
HeadquartersNew York,
Area served
Worldwide
OwnerThe Interpublic Group of Companies (1989–1994)
Bertelsmann (2001–present)
ParentRTL Group
Websitefremantle.com

Fremantle (/ˈfrmæntəl/, formerly FremantleMedia until 7 September 2018) is a British multinational television production and distribution company based in London. Fremantle takes its name from Fremantle International, acquired by predecessor company All American Television in 1994. Pearson Television was renamed FremantleMedia on 20 August 2001, following the 2000 merger of Pearson Television and Bertelsmann's CLT-UFA to form the RTL Group.

Fremantle owns non-scripted formats, including the British talent competitions Idols (created by Simon Fuller), Got Talent and The X Factor (both created by Simon Cowell), shows which have been sold around the world. Since 1994, Fremantle has distributed American game shows in the US and internationally.

History

Pearson Television (1994–2001)

In 1994[3] after a bidding war, Pearson plc bought Thames Television and placed it under Pearson Television. In 1995 it acquired Australian company Grundy Television. ACI, a U.S.-based distributor of TV movies, was purchased later that year. In 1996 Pearson Television bought the British production company SelecTV PLC, and merged into it.

Pearson Television announced on 1 October 1997 it would launch a $373 million cash tender offer for publicly traded U.S. television company All American Communications Inc.[4] On 5 November, Pearson completed its tender offer, and All American was merged into Pearson Television the following year. This acquisition gave Pearson worldwide rights to various game show formats as well as drama series in the U.S. such as Baywatch.

Pearson Television acquired Italian drama production company Mastrofilm on 3 November 1998,[5] and European animation financer and distributor EVA Entertainment on 2 February 1999.[6] In April 2000, Pearson TV decided to take over Smith & Jones' UK production company Talkback Productions.

Fremantle International

Fremantle International logo used from the 1970s to 1991.
Fremantle International logo used from the 1970s to 1991.

The first incarnation of Fremantle, known as Fremantle International was founded in 1952, and was involved in the production of television series, movies, and specials from 1964 to 1994. In 1989, The Interpublic Group of Companies bought a 49% minority interest in Fremantle International. On 20 May 1991, Interpublic Group increased its ownership stake in Fremantle International to 80%, with Paul Talbot retaining a 20% holding in the company.

Interpublic Group agreed to sell assets of Fremantle International to All American Communications Inc. for $63 million in cash and stock on 7 July 1994.[7] All American acquired Fremantle International in August. Paul Talbot continued to own The Fremantle Corporation, the international distributor of All American's Baywatch and other programs. All American Fremantle International managed and distributed Mark Goodson Productions' game show formats worldwide. In 1998, All American Television and All American Fremantle International were renamed Pearson Television North America and Pearson Television Licensing, and operated under those names until being renamed in 2001.

FremantleMedia (2001–2018)

FremantleMedia logo from 20 August 2001 to 7 September 2018.
FremantleMedia logo from 20 August 2001 to 7 September 2018.

In 2000, German conglomerate Bertelsmann announced that it would form a joint venture between its CLT-UFA group (itself a merger of Luxembourg's CLT and German studio UFA GmbH) with Pearson Television (whose library included former British ITV franchise Thames Television, All American Television—who owned the libraries of Lexington Broadcast Services and game show producers Mark Goodson Productions and Fremantle International, and Australia's Reg Grundy Organisation) to create a multinational media group and content business—eventually known as RTL Group—to consolidate their broadcasting and production activities,[8][9] and provide a European competitor to American-owned media conglomerates.[10] The content business would be renamed FremantleMedia in 2001,[9] while Bertelsmann would later increase its stake in RTL Group to achieve majority ownership.[11][12]

In January 2018, FremantleMedia sold its Kids & Family Entertainment division to Boat Rocker Media.[13] In July 2018, FremantleMedia North America CEO Jennifer Mullin was named the new CEO of the worldwide company, replacing the outgoing Cecile Frot-Coutaz.[14]

Fremantle (2018–present)

In September 2018, the company rebranded as "Fremantle", introducing a new handwritten logo. However, the FremantleMedia brand name is still used as the legal name for Fremantle, as seen in their shows' closing credits.[15] On 13 July 2020, Fremantle spun off Storyglass into an independent company within Bertelsmann.[16] On 9 September, Fremantle merged Boundless and Naked Entertainment to form Naked Television.[17]

On 10 May 2022, Fremantle acquired a majority stake in Element Pictures, an Irish film studio and television drama production company known for producing films such as The Guard, Frank, Room, The Lobster, The Favourite and The Nest and television series such as Normal People and Conversations with Friends, both for Hulu, BBC Three and RTÉ as well as Red Rock for TV3 (co-produced with All3Media-owned Company Pictures), in addition to owning the Light House Cinema in Dublin and Pálás Cinema in Galway, Irish film video on demand service Volta (named after the first cinema in the Republic of Ireland) and a theatrical distribution arm (Element Pictures Distribution).[18]

Productions

Main article: List of Fremantle productions

Fremantle is known for its ownership of a number of non-scripted formats, including the talent competitions Idols, Got Talent, and The X Factor (the latter two with Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment), and game shows via its ownership of the libraries of U.S. producer Goodson-Todman Productions, Australian producer Reg Grundy, and others, which includes formats such as Family Feud, The Price is Right, and Sale of the Century among others.

Via the Reg Grundy library, Fremantle Australia owns a number of notable Australian dramas and soap operas, including the long-running Neighbours and Prisoner.[19]

In the mid-2010s, Fremantle began to increasingly pursue a strategy of producing "high-end" scripted dramas to diversify its output, including American Gods, Beecham House, Charité, Deutschland 83, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Rain, The Young Pope and The Mosquito Coast . The strategy proved successful for the company, with international dramas having accounted for increasing portions of Fremantle's overall revenue.[19][20][21]

Production offices and labels

Fremantle North America headquarters at the Pointe office building in Burbank
Fremantle North America headquarters at the Pointe office building in Burbank

Fremantle has production units across its global offices and network of production companies and labels on the ground in over 26 territories.

In the United States, Fremantle's largest production and distribution division, Fremantle North America is based in Burbank, California, and includes a portfolio of companies. Fremantle North America produces and distributes scripted and alternative programs for broadcast and cable networks, syndication, and streaming platforms.

In addition, Fremantle North America owns several other smaller production companies; among these are Thom Beers' Original Productions (responsible for creation and production of numerous reality shows such as Deadliest Catch, Ax Men, and Ice Road Truckers) and Amygdala Music, Leslie Beers' production and composition firm that writes themes, incidental, and featured music for Original Productions shows.

Here are all of the production and/or distribution labels from Fremantle:

Region/Country Unit(s)
United Kingdom Primary labels
Secondary labels
  • Full Fat TV[28]
  • Man Alive Entertainment
  • Dr Pluto Films (joint venture with James Abadi and Sam Pollard)[29]
  • Wild Blue Media
  • Dancing Ledge Productions (25%[30])
  • Label1
Ireland
Germany UFA GmbH
  • UFA Fiction
  • UFA Serial Drama
  • UFA Show & Factual
  • UFA Documentary[34]
France
Netherlands
  • Fiction Valley[36]
  • Blue Circle [37]
  • No Pictures Please [38] (Netherlands; 100% ownership since 1 January 2020[39])
Italy
Israel
  • Abot Hameiri (founded by Eitan Abot and Guy Hameiri in 2006, this company became part of Fremantle in 2016)[41][45][46]
Spain
  • En Cero Coma Producciones[47]
Nordic countries Denmark
Finland
  • Moskito Television[49]
  • Grillifilms
  • Production House

Norway
Sweden
Australia
North America

References

  1. ^ Adam Dawtrey (20 August 2001). "Pearson TV placed on Fremantle". Variety. London.[failed verification]
  2. ^ Adam Dawtrey (20 August 2001). "Search result at Variety: Pearson TV placed on Fremantle". ARTICLE. LONDON -- Pearson Television has been renamed FremantleMedia. Move follows last year's merger of Pearson TV with CLT/Ufa to create RTL Group and reflects the fact that Pearson TV is no longer part of British media group Pearson (Search result in September 2020)
  3. ^ Last, Richard (9 February 1994). "Media: How Thames turned the tide: From failed franchisee to thriving 'indie' producer: there can be life after broadcasting death, as Richard Last witnessed". The Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  4. ^ "ACQUISITION OF ALL AMERICAN BY PEARSON TO CREATE THE WORLD'S LARGEST INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION PRODUCER" (Press release). Pearson Television. 1 October 1997. Archived from the original on 2 September 2000.
  5. ^ "PEARSON TELEVISION ACQUIRES ITALIAN PRODUCTION COMPANY" (Press release). Pearson Television. 3 November 1998. Archived from the original on 2 September 2000.
  6. ^ "PEARSON TELEVISION ACCELERATES ANIMATION BUSINESS" (Press release). Pearson Television. 2 February 1999. Archived from the original on 28 May 2000.
  7. ^ "Interpublic Selling Assets of TV Unit". The New York Times. 8 July 1994.
  8. ^ Andreas Uhlig (8 April 2000). "Gründung eines europäischen Fernsehgiganten Kooperation von Bertelsmann und Pearson". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). p. 25.
  9. ^ a b Jason Deans (21 August 2001). "Pearson TV revives Thames TV brand". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  10. ^ Gunhild Freese (13 April 2000). "Die europäische Antwort". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  11. ^ Roland Mayrl (6 February 2001). "RTL sendet mehrheitlich für Bertelsmann". Wirtschaftsblatt (in German). p. 1.
  12. ^ "Bertelsmann sichert sich die Vorherrschaft im TV-Geschäft". Handelsblatt (in German). 6 February 2001. p. 25.
  13. ^ White, Peter (25 January 2018). "FremantleMedia Moves Out Of Kids Content, Sells Unit To Canada's Boat Rocker". Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  14. ^ Stewart Clarke (26 July 2018). "FremantleMedia Names Jennifer Mullin New CEO". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  15. ^ Stewart Clarke (7 September 2018). "FremantleMedia Rebrands as Fremantle, With Jennifer Mullin Newly at the Helm". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  16. ^ Jake Kanter (13 July 2020). "Fremantle Podcast Label Storyglass Spun Out Into Standalone Company Within Bertelsmann Group". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  17. ^ a b Tom Grater (9 September 2020). "Fremantle Merges UK Factual Labels". deadline.com. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  18. ^ Ago, 2 Hours (10 May 2022). "Fremantle acquires majority stake in 'Normal People' firm Element Pictures". TBI Vision. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  19. ^ a b "FremantleMedia eyes French drama push". TBI Vision. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  20. ^ White, Peter (7 March 2018). "FremantleMedia's High-End Drama Push Helps Bolster Parent Group RTL". Deadline. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  21. ^ White, Peter (29 August 2018). "Drama Push Helps 'American Gods' Producer FremantleMedia's Bottom Line As It Seeks Funding For 35 Projects". Deadline. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Q&A: Euston Films' Kate Harwood". Drama Quarterly. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  23. ^ "BBC Studios exec arrives at Euston". C21media. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Growing drama slate". www.rtlgroup.com. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  25. ^ Stephen Chapman (7 June 2019). "Fremantle seeks "creatively brave" dramas with Castlefield launch". Prolific North. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  26. ^ Jake Kanter (26 February 2020). "Simon Andreae To Run Fremantle In The UK After Group Takes Full Control Of Naked Television". deadline.com. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  27. ^ Naked (24 November 2020). "Home - Naked". Nkdtv.com. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  28. ^ "A factual entertainment TV company based in Birmingham". Full Fat TV. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Dr Pluto Films".
  30. ^ "Home | Dancing Ledge Productions". Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  31. ^ "Distribution – Element Pictures". Elementpictures.ie. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  32. ^ "About us – Element Pictures".
  33. ^ a b c d "Cinema & Home Entertainment – Element Pictures".
  34. ^ "UFA DOCUMENTARY GMBH".
  35. ^ "Kwaï production audiovisuelle - Groupe FremantleMedia". FR-75: Kwai.tv. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: location (link)
  36. ^ "Home | Fiction Valley".
  37. ^ "Home". bluecircle.nl.
  38. ^ "Home | No Pictures Please". Nopicturesplease.nl. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  39. ^ David de Jong (30 October 2019). "Fremantle neemt No Pictures Please volledig over en begint nieuw label" [Fremantle to acquire full ownership of No Pictures Please]. Nederlands MediaNieuws. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  40. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (3 March 2022). "Fremantle Buys Italy's Lux Vide, Company Chiefs Unpack Long-Gestating Deal (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  41. ^ a b "Our History". 4 April 2017.
  42. ^ a b Nick Vivarelli (20 January 2020). "Sky Italia's Vision Distribution to Launch Film Sales Company at Berlin's EFM". Variety. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  43. ^ "Fremantle announces new structure in Italy". Archived from the original on 9 June 2020.
  44. ^ SemiColonWeb. "FormatBiz - 'Italian and WorldWide Format TV News' | Canale5 quiz Chi Vuol Essere Milionario? won pt slot with 3m (14.4%)". www.formatbiz.it. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  45. ^ "TV Productions Company • ABOT HAMEIRI". Ahe.co.il. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  46. ^ "About Us • ABOT HAMEIRI".
  47. ^ John Hopewell (18 November 2021). "Fremantle Spain Taps Fernando Jerez to Create New Factual and Doc Label En Cero Coma Producciones". Variety.
  48. ^ "Misofilm".
  49. ^ "Moskito Television Oy". Moskito.fi. 25 May 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  50. ^ Playroom Event AS. "Playroom". Playroomevent.com. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  51. ^ "About us".
  52. ^ a b "Bergehus". Bergehus.thisisnice.as. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  53. ^ "Hjem - Monster". Monster.as. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  54. ^ "Home". obhf.no.
  55. ^ "Baluba - Contact Info, Job Openings, And Casting". Baluba.se. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  56. ^ "Contact".
  57. ^ Lieberman, David (18 July 2016). "FremantleMedia Buys Random House Studio With New TV-Movie Alliance". Deadline. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  58. ^ Veronica Villafañe (31 October 2019). "Fremantle Expands Into Latino Market, Buys Stake In Production Company The Immigrant". Forbes. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  59. ^ "Fremantle, BRON take stake in the Immigrant | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News".