Sony Pictures TV acquires producer of ’90 Day Fiancé’ and ‘American Idol’
Sony Pictures Television is acquiring a majority stake in Industrial Media, a major supplier of popular reality series to TV networks and streaming platforms.
The Culver City-based TV entertainment arm of Tokyo electronics giant Sony Corp. announced the deal Thursday.
The size of the stake and the price were not disclosed, but the company said the deal values Industrial Media at $350 million.
Eli Holzman, the founder and chief executive of Industrial Media, will join Sony Pictures Television as president of nonfiction entertainment.
He will report to Ravi Ahuja, chairman of global television studios and corporate development for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Industrial co-founder Aaron Saidman will join Sony Pictures Entertainment as co-president of the division and report to Holzman.
Industrial, which has 100 employees in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta, houses several production outlets including Sharp Entertainment, the maker of TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé” franchise. The company also owns 19 Entertainment, which makes the long-running competition shows “American Idol” for ABC and “So You Think You Can Dance” for Fox.
The hope is that CNN+ will serve as a gateway to a post-pay TV world, connecting the brand’s familiar red and white letters to a generation of viewers who are growing up without cable.
The acquisition is the second major transaction for Sony Pictures Entertainment in recent months. It bought anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.175 billion in August and recently merged it with Funimation, its own service that specializes in the genre.
Industrial Media will expand Sony Pictures Television’s programming portfolio and expand on its strategy of being a major supplier of content to media companies, which are investing heavily in building their own streaming services.
Industrial’s production holdings also include B17 Entertainment, House of NonFiction, the Intellectual Property Corp. (IPC), This Machine Filmworks, This Radicle Act, and Trilogy Films. Their program customers include HBO, HBO Max, Apple TV and Hulu.
The company’s documentary series for A&E, “Secrets of Playboy,” is generating major buzz and controversy. The program looks at the treatment of Playboy bunnies who worked for the late iconic magazine founder Hugh Hefner.
Sony also announced that Suzanne Prete, who currently oversees Sony’s “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” will lead a newly formed game show production division for the company. She will report to Ahuja.
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