SPTI signs development agreement with Base Camp Films

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Television International’s (SPTI) international networks group is expanding its original production efforts by signing a format development and series production agreement with reality production house Base Camp Films.

The announcement was made by Marie Jacobson, SPTI’s senior vice president, programming and production, international networks, and by Base Camp principals Brady Connell and Jim Jusko.

SPTI’s international networks group has been acquiring rights to produce local-language versions of third party formats, mainly for its AXN and Sony Entertainment Television (Set) networks. AXN and Set have produced local-language versions of such international formats as The Amazing Race (on AXN Asia), Big Brother (on Set India as Bigg Boss), Pop Idol (Set India as Indian Idol and Set Latin America) and Strictly Come Dancing (Jhalak Dikhla Jaa on Set India).

The agreement with Base Camp augments SPTI’s efforts to acquire and develop its own original formats as part of its overall growth strategy.

“While we’ve found great success with such third party formats as Pop Idol, The Amazing Race and Strictly Come Dancing, SPTI’s international networks are continuously seeking out homegrown, commercial formats with multi-platform extensions which our networks can own and control,” said Jacobson. “Jim and Brady are just the guys to bolster our collective efforts to develop and adapt formats for our international web of channels.”

Base Camp principals Connell and Jusko will executive produce projects developed under the deal and adapt formats developed or acquired overseas by SPTI for sale in the United States.

“The opportunities and challenges in the international TV marketplace make it an exciting and growing business for us,” said two-time Emmy winner Connell (The Amazing Race, Survivor, Eco-Challenge). “Our relationship with SPTI has grown steadily over the years, and we share a strong belief in the value of international partnerships for the production of innovative high-value programming,” noted Jusko who, prior to forming Base Camp with Connell in 2002, brought key international partners to Disney’s Air Bud and Lions Gate’s Kiefer Sutherland starrer, Dead Heat.

As part of the agreement, the first format in active development is Base Camp’s Six Degrees of X. Developed to be scalable for global, regional or local production, Six Degrees of X tests the theory that all people are somehow connected by only six degrees of separation, even today’s hottest celebrities and their most adoring fans.

“Six Degrees of X is great TV and opens the door for compelling extensions in the web and mobile space,” added Jacobson. “We’re actively developing it out to pilot across our SPTI networks later this year.”

SPTI is also fast-tracking the development of a groundbreaking cross-platform interactive ‘crimesolving’ project known as MyCrime. To be produced with Base Camp for SPTI’s international channels and networked with internet and wireless devices, MyCrime is set for global launch in mid 2007.

Pamela Parker, SPTI’s vice president, business affairs and acquisitions, led negotiations on behalf of SPTI. The agreement was negotiated for Base Camp by United Talent Agency.

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