FremantleMedia appoints director of operations for Asia Pacific

MUMBAI: FremantleMedia has appointed Simon Spalding to the newly created position of director of operations for Asia Pacific.

Spalding, previously FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide (FLW) CEO, will take overall responsibility for the companys production businesses in the region which include Grundy Television and Crackerjack in Australia, Fremantle Productions Asia in Singapore and FremantleMedia Japan.

Spalding will report to FremantleMedia Regional CEO (Europe, Latin America, The Middle East and Asia Pacific) Doug Gluck. Grundy Australasia CEO Andrew Brooke and Fremantle Productions Asia MD Sue Adams will report directly to Spalding. The position is effective from November.

Commenting on the appointment, Gluck said, "I am delighted that Simon has agreed to manage our Asia Pacific operation. The region is a key area for FremantleMedia and we feel the time is right to establish a new role to build on the companys position as a leading player in this region. Over the last five years, Simon has overseen the very successful expansion of FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide, which is now a key revenue generator for the company. His excellent leadership qualities and determination and drive will be a huge asset to our production companies in the region."

Spalding added, "I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to manage our Asia Pacific production businesses. In my time managing the companys growth in the licensing arena, I have been able to forge close working relationships with our production companies and senior executives in the region and look forward to working with them more closely in the future."

Grundy TV in Australia is best known for its serial drama Neighbours and Australian Idol, but has also successfully relaunched Sale of the Century (Temptation) this summer as well as producing the first local version of UK format The X Factor. Comedy producer Crackerjacks recent successes include Australias Brainiest Kids, CNNN, Comedy Inc. and Pardon The Interruption.

FremantleMedia has had a production business in Asia since 1995 and has recently successfully launched the Idols franchise in India, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. A second series of Idols concluded its transmission in Indonesia in August and the Malaysian Idol final is due to air in September. A second series of Indian Idol has been commissioned for later this year.

Other series FremantleMedia has produced in Indonesia include Family Feud, The Price Is Right, Man O Man and Small Talk. Indonesia has also recently ordered a local version of The Apprentice.

FremantleMedia Japan, the joint venture between FremantleMedia and Tokyo-based Vogue Planet, produced its first programme in Japan, Mirai Model (Model Behaviour), for TV Tokyo in 2004.

Spalding was promoted to CEO of FLW in December 2002 having held the position of executive vice president and general manager, Worldwide Licensing, Fremantle Licensing Group.

Spaldings brief covered licensing, music publishing, interactive, home entertainment, business diversification and archive sales  developing product and promotional associations that enhance and extend consumers experience of the companys programme brands. He joined Pearson Television, as it was then known, in 1999 as executive vice president Worldwide Merchandising.

Prior to joining Pearson Television, Spalding was head of consumer products for DreamWorks, where he was responsible for establishing this new division and also managed the successful licensing and retail programmes behind Chicken Run, The Prince of Egypt and Small Soldiers. Before moving into licensing, Spalding spent 14 years in the toy business, most recently as senior vice president strategic marketing for Hasbro Europes Toy Group.

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