The Tinopolis Group, an international independent television
production and distribution company, has further bolstered its
presence in the U.S. with the acquisition of Magical Elves. The
Emmy Award-winning team of Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth is
responsible for many television successes including Top Chef, Cold
Justice, Time of Death, Braxton Family Values, Tamar & Vince,
and The Real L Word, as well as top concert documentary films
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Katy Perry: Part of
The Peabody award-winning Magical Elves, formed in 2001, has
established itself as one of the U.S.' most innovative production
companies. From the outset the international appeal, superior
quality and compelling nature of its productions have resonated
well with leading networks, studios and brands around the world,
with programs currently airing in most major territories.
In addition to award-winning Top Chef, Magical Elves also
developed and produced the genre-defining Project Runway for Bravo
(now shown on Lifetime,) which remains one of the most successful
cable formats in history. Their highly successful digital division
has created cutting edge content for a variety of brands and
networks, and recently won an Emmy for Top Chef: Last Chance
Kitchen. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which they
produced for Paramount, is the third highest-grossing documentary
of all time. Their follow up, Katy Perry: Part of Me,
marked Cutforth and Lipsitz's directorial debut. Their second
feature as directors, Under the Electric Sky, recently
premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz will continue to lead the business
and now become shareholders in The Tinopolis Group.
This transaction follows on from Tinopolis' acquisition of A.
Smith & Co and Base Productions in 2011. Along with sales to
the US by its other companies, particularly Pioneer, Mentorn Media,
Passion Distribution and Firecracker, a large part of Group
turnover now comes from the US with gross revenues for this
calendar year expected to be over $225 million.
Commenting on the acquisition Ron Jones, Chairman of the
Tinopolis Group, said: "Tinopolis has a clear strategy
to continue building an international media business with a strong
and diversified revenue base, producing quality programmes in its
home territories for the world-wide market. This is another
important acquisition for us, strengthening our commitment to
US-based production. Magical Elves is a great company with
exceptional creative leaders. We look forward to welcoming Dan and
Jane to our team."
Dan Cutforth of Magical Elves said: "We're very
proud of the company we've built over the last 11 years and today's
announcement marks the next stage of growth and development for
Jane Lipsitz added: "Tinopolis is an ambitious and
growing company that shares our core principles and we're excited
about the possibilities that this partnership can
Burkbank, California, January 27, 2014: Multi award-winning
television producer, Kevin Lee, is to launch a new television
production company called Tollbooth Group. The new venture will be
backed by The Tinopolis Group, which will take an ownership stake
and distribute the output internationally through its wholly owned
subsidiary, Passion Distribution.
Based in Burbank, California, Tollbooth Group will develop and
produce unscripted programming for domestic and international
buyers. It will become the fourth US production company in The
Tinopolis Group's growing international portfolio, which already
includes A Smith and Co., BASE Productions and Firecracker
Lee's showrunning credits include The Simple Life and The Rebel
Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best for Fox and The Real
Housewives of Orange County for Bravo. He created and sold Murder
to Spike TV, which went on to sell in several international
markets. His previous production company, Tollbooth TV, produced
Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love for Oxygen. Prior to starting
his previous production company, Lee served as vice president of
Announcing the launch, Kevin Lee said: "I'm thrilled
to have the support of The Tinopolis Group because not only can we
take advantage of their extensive global distribution, but we can
also tap into the logistical infrastructure and vast experience of
the Group's existing US production companies."
John Brenkus, founder of BASE Productions and Board Member of
The Tinopolis Group added: "Kevin is a rarity in this
business. He is one of the top network and cable showrunners. He
has created and sold a number of formats that have gone on to do
well both domestically and internationally. He also has a strong
track record of successfully running his own production company.
You don't find that full package in one person too
(London / Singapore) Sunset+Vine, the
multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media
company, has today announced the opening of a new Asia operation to
take advantage of the growing TV sports production market in South
East Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, Sunset+Vine Asia will be
headed by Huw Bevan, who has been released by Fox International
Channels to take on the Managing Director role.
Huw who has worked in Asia for a total of 15 years, the last 10
of which were as Senior Vice President, Production for Fox
International Channels and previously ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) will
be responsible for establishing the Sunset+Vine Asia business
across the region. The new business is expected to be operational
towards the end of January, subject to the conclusion of formal
registration procedures with the local authorities.
Sunset+Vine, part of The Tinopolis Group, was set up in 1983 and
is now a leading independent supplier of sports programming to
broadcasters in the UK and overseas. It was recently appointed as
primary production partner for BT Sport (UK) and produces the
channel's live English Premier League Football and Aviva
Premiership Rugby matches and all support programming. In 2013 it
was awarded a BAFTA for "Best Sport and Live Event" in relation to
its ground-breaking coverage of The London 2012 Paralympic Games.
In 2014, Sunset+Vine will be Host Broadcaster of the Glasgow 2014
Jeff Foulser, Chairman of Sunset+Vine, said:
"It is clear that South East Asia presents some significant
opportunities for Sunset+Vine in the production around big sports
events and we feel that now is the right time to establish a
dedicated operation in the region.
"In Huw, we have identified the ideal person, with the
established network, relevant business experience and local market
knowledge to spread Sunset+Vine's reputation for creative
production excellence to a new audience. In Singapore, we have a
vibrant place to do business and a perfect location to reach out to
the rest of South East Asia."
Huw Bevan, the newly appointed Managing Director of Sunset+Vine,
"I am excited to be joining such a well-respected and
dynamic media outfit. I am proud to have been afforded the honour
of managing the company's first office outside of the UK. Thanks to
my experience with Fox International channels and previously with
ESS, I have been fortunate to witness the great growth that has
taken place in Sports Production across the region. With more Asian
sports events, TV channels and platforms catering for increasingly
knowledgeable sports fans, the opportunity to showcase
Sunset+Vine's unique production and programme-making skills is
something which I know will be particularly appealing to this
The Tinopolis Group is proud to announce that its subsidiary
company Mentorn Media has been shortlisted for two awards at the
Broadcast Awards 2014.
For Best Independent Production Company, judges
look for a company that has shown a strong track record in meeting
the requirements of commissioning editors and includes providing
original ideas to developing high quality finished programmes on
budget. Mentorn Media will be competing against five other
production companies for this award.
Edwardian Insects On Film, produced by
Mentorn Scotland for BBC Four, has been shortlisted for
Best Multichannel Programme. For this
award judges are looking for an outstanding original production
commissioned by a UK channel. Wildlife cameraman Charlie
Hamilton-James, helped by Sir David Attenborough, examine the
career of amateur naturalist Percy Smith, look back at the 200
films he produced throughout his 35 year career and reveal the
genius behind one of Britain's greatest and most unheralded film
Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stKey6236J4
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 5
February at Grosvenor House, London.
Anxious to promote trade abroad, Business Secretary Vince Cable,
launched a task force of companies that have the capacity to win
large creative industries contracts outside the UK. Over the next
three years, the task force will comb the globe looking for
opportunities for the UK creative industry. Opportunities will be
funneled to job-creators in a diverse range of creative industries.
The UK Government believes that it can steer over half a billion
pounds worth of work to Britain via this initiative.
Tinopolis, Wales' largest media company, was successful in its
application to be part of this select group. The inclusion of
Tinopolis on the list came after its business development team
responded to an open call by UKTI for candidate companies to
Llanelli-based founder of Tinopolis, Ron Jones commented, "I had
hoped that more Welsh companies would be on the list as this will
help us carry the flag into new markets and territories. Our
production and distribution divisions are active on both sides of
the Atlantic and already sell around the world. This
opportunity is about us making content conceived from the outset
for international markets and not about selling programming made
domestically for viewing abroad".
Recently, Tinopolis's drama division, Fiction Factory, has been
creating waves across the televisual world with its much-acclaimed
series Hinterland, shot in Aberystwyth. "Y Gwyll, as it is know in
Welsh", commented Mr Jones, "shows that our Welsh programming can
be exported worldwide as well".
Tinopolis has companies based in London, Glasgow, and Cardiff as
well as Los Angeles, Washington DC and Abu Dhabi.
Each company in the task force will have its own international
expansion plan and participate in overseas visits to target high
value projects. They will receive training support and networking
assistance directly related to High Value Opportunities identified
by UKTI. The companies will work together with international trade
advisors retained by the government to identify the projects they
are most qualified to bid for.
According to UK Trade and Investment, the government department
that helps UK companies succeed in the global economy, "until
recently the market for UK creativity was limited largely to
Western Europe. But as new markets mature and global trading
channels widen, the demand for British creative expertise is
escalating". This latest initiative is part of the
government's "Exporting is GREAT" campaign, launched in November
2013 and challenged to drive £1.2billion in export revenue from the
leads it generates.
Mr. Jones added, "We in Wales can punch above our weight when it
comes to making programming for international markets. Operating
bilingually comes naturally to us. We understand how to make
content in more than one language without editorial compromise.
Those skills will serve us well as we work with international
Finally, remarked Ron Jones, who is also Chair of the Welsh
Government Creative Industries sector panel, "As we
continue our expansion plans, we hope that having the government
assisting us in trawling for opportunities will increase our
international reach and that of Wales. One lesson from the shortage
of contracts coming to Wales from the London Olympics is that we
must ensure that we get ourselves on these lists. Nothing
happens overnight and we have to take a longer-term view with
regards to winning contracts despite the pressures on management
time. Some of our major sports contracts and entries into new
markets have taken years. If that's what it takes it's what
we have to do."
Pioneer Productions, one of the world's leading
factual producers, has appointed Ailsa Orr to the newly-created
role of Creative Director. She joins the Tinopolis-owned indie from
the BBC where she was Head of BBC Television's Innovation Unit,
tasked with driving creative renewal across the whole of BBC
Television and leading the development of the next generation of
cross-genre and commercial super-brands.
Stuart Carter, Chairman, Pioneer Productions,
says: "This new senior role is designed to help take Pioneer into a
whole new era and help accelerate our diversification. We are one
of the world's most celebrated producers of specialist factual
content, with a growing portfolio of wider factual properties.
Driving our growth in the wider factual area, growing our market
share and enhancing our USP is what this role is all about.
"Ailsa's success internationally as a respected industry leader
of cutting edge specialist factual TV, combined with her
substantial track-record in innovation, makes her a fantastic
person to lead Pioneer into its next phase of creative
Across her career, Ailsa Orr is renowned for creating some of
the UK's most groundbreaking, ambitious and commercially successful
factual television, including Pompeii - The Last Day which secured
one of the biggest television audiences ever recorded for the BBC
and won an EMMY and two BAFTA nominations, and Supervolcano for BBC
One and Discovery which was EMMY, BAFTA and RTS nominated.
In 2007, Ailsa was appointed Head of Programmes for the BBC in
Northern Ireland - the youngest person to have held the position.
Here, she expanded her programme-making expertise across drama,
features, comedy, entertainment, events and low-budget feature
films. In November 2012, she was appointed Head of BBC Television's
new Innovation Unit, where she was tasked to reinvigorate and
energize the BBC's commitment to be the most creative organisation
in the world. Heading up a multi-disciplined team, their brief was
to serve as the 'creative engine' for BBC in-house production,
supporting development teams, encouraging cross-genre thinking and
specifically focused on creating the next generation of commercial
Before joining BBC Northern Ireland, Ailsa was an
Executive/Series Producer at BBC Factual (2003-2007) where she
produced a range of ambitious factual dramas for BBC One and the
international market. Prior, to that, as a Producer at Wall to Wall
(1999-2003), she travelled the world producing films about
dinosaurs, becoming an industry 'expert' on all things
paleontological, an area she had built on during her time as an
Assistant Producer at BBC Factual (1998-1999), where she worked on
Walking with Dinosaurs.
Ailsa Orr says: "Pioneer is a flagship company
in the documentary industry - one of those companies who, for over
20 years, has lead the charge in quality, insight and creative
innovation. It's fantastic to be joining the senior team at such an
exciting time and I'm thrilled to be helping to take the company
into its next phase of development."
Commenting on her departure, Pat Younge, Chief Creative
Officer at BBC Productions added:
"Ailsa is an outstanding creative leader with great editorial
range, intellectual depth and creative vision. She's skilled at
getting teams to deliver their very best work, and the BBC's loss
is Pioneer's gain."
Ailsa joins the senior team at Pioneer in November.
Award-Winning Reality TV Production
Company Adds Veteran Showrunners as Co-Managing Directors
Los Angeles, Calif. - June 18, 2013 - Reality
production powerhouse A. Smith & Co. Productions today
announces the addition of Jay Bienstock and Eugene Young, Co-CEO's
of Bienstock Young Media, to the company as co-managing directors.
A. Smith & Co Productions will absorb part of the
Bienstock-Young production slate, and Bienstock and Young will join
the senior leadership team alongside CEO Arthur Smith, President
Kent Weed, and COO Frank Sinton.
Bienstock and Young have spent the last three years running
Bienstock Young Media, where they produced and secured more than a
dozen pilot and series orders across both broadcast and cable
networks. Under the Bienstock-Young banner, the duo launched
productions such as "Animal Intervention" on Nat Geo Wild,
"Big Food" for CMT, and recently received a series order for "Times
Up" at MTV. In addition to their series commitments, Bienstock and
Young have several pilots at A&E as part of a production
partnership with daytime personality and producer Dr. Phil McGraw
and his son, Jay.
"Jay and Eugene join our already strong operating team during
the most prolific time in our history," said Arthur Smith, CEO of
A. Smith & Co. Productions. "With their consistent track record
of creating innovative hit programming across genres, we are lucky
to have such a talented and proven pair on the A. Smith & Co.
In their new roles at A. Smith & Co Productions, both
Bienstock and Young will be responsible for increasing the
operating capacity of the company while extending its production
slate into new territory. Hot off the thirteenth season
renewal of broadcast stalwart "Hell's Kitchen" (FOX), July 2013
marks the fifth season premiere of "American Ninja Warrior" (NBC
and Esquire), one of last season's summer ratings darlings, as well
as the anticipated series premiere of "Joe Rogan Questions
Everything" (Syfy). Season five of "Full Throttle Saloon" (truTV)
and season seven of "Kitchen Nightmares" (FOX) will begin
production this summer as well. The A. Smith & Co. Productions
slate currently includes more than 20 series in various stages of
production, including new shows "Save Our Business" (TNT), "Divorce
Hotel" (FOX), and "Too Young To Marry?" (Oxygen).
Eugene Young is an Emmy-award winning producer and executive who
has created, developed, adapted, sold and managed television's top
brands, including "America's Got Talent" (NBC), "The Price is
Right" (CBS), "Let's Make a Deal" (CBS), "Deal or No Deal" (NBC),
"Extreme Makeover Home Edition" (ABC), and "Fear Factor" (NBC).
Prior to the formation of Bienstock Young Media, he served as chief
creative officer at FremantleMedia North America. Before Fremantle,
Young spearheaded the launch of Endemol USA where he served as
creative director. Earlier in his career, Young was a news
producer, with stints at "Extra!" CBS, and ABC.
Jay Bienstock counts six Primetime Emmy Award nominations across
three series ("Survivor," "The Apprentice," "Eco-Challenge:
Borneo") to his name, winning once. One of the most respected
television showrunners in the industry, Bienstock has developed and
executive produced some of the biggest shows on TV, including
"Survivor" (CBS), "The Apprentice" (NBC), "Bachelor Pad" (ABC),
"Eco-Challenge" (Discovery) and "Behind the Music" (VH1), which
launched his career. Most recently, he served as executive producer
of "The American Baking Competition" on CBS. Bienstock has been
nominated for "Producer of the Year in Non-Fiction Television" by
the Producer's Guild and twice for "Program of the Year" by the
Television Critics Association.
BBC Three has commissioned Mentorn Media to make
a factual entertainment series, Hotel of Mum and Dad
(working title), about the growing trend of young coupleshaving to
move back in with their parents or in-laws, it has been
1 in 10 young people have moved back home with their
partner - that's a staggering 300,000 couples. But
with sky-high house prices, fewer jobs, rent through
the roof, crippling debts and extortionate childcare costs,
it's a growing trend for multiple generations to live under one
roof. The 6x60' series gets a first-hand look at the various
compromising situations faced by the couples who have had to
'bunk up' with the parents or in-laws. Each episode then challenges
couples to test drive a place of their own that fits their
budget. The series contrasts the potential nightmare of
the family dynamics between two
generations when shacked up under one
roof with the effect on everyone involved when the couple
Will the young lovebirds cope in the real world? Do mum and dad
miss them? Or do they all get on better when there's some
Whether they live with parents to bring down child care costs or
because they like their mother's home cooking too much to leave,
the series will explore a range of family dynamics and
relationships through this very 21st Century phenomenon.
Mentorn Media's Director of Programmes, Hannah Wyatt, said:
"We're delighted to be making this programme and working with the
team at BBC Three. This is designed to be a funny and heart-warming
series, exploring a very 21st century phenomenon in a humorous
and insightful way."
Zai Bennett said: "In Hotel of Mum and Dad we're going
to see what life is really like living as a couple under the same
roof as your mum and dad and if we can't coax you to take those
first steps to independence with your own home".
The series has been ordered by Zai Bennett, Controller, BBC
Three; Alan Tyler, Executive Editor, Entertainment Commissioning
and Fiona Campbell, Commissioning Editor for Independents at BBC
News and Current Affairs, and will be made by Mentorn Scotland.
With Passion Distribution firmly implanted in the
Tinopolis Group, the company will be heading to MIPTV with two new
series from Pioneer Productions, just one of the Group's production
Passion Distribution's new programming line-up for MIPTV
includes STRANGEST WEATHER ON EARTH and WEATHER THAT CHANGED THE
WORLD. Passion expects to licence both series in over 40
territories and follow in the global footprint of STORM
STORM CITY (4 x 60') was originally produced by Pioneer
Productions for Sky 2D, Sky 3D, Sky Atlantic and National
Geographic US. Recent sales include SBS (Australia), Media
Contents Store (Korea), Nelonen Media (Finland), TV3 (New Zealand),
DR (Denmark), M6 (France) and Pan-Eastern Europe
The hugely ambitious series takes weather storms to a
spectacular new level. Using state of the art technology and
science, we witness the blow-by-blow damage of orchestrated natural
disasters, from killer quakes to amazing floods, as they wreak
havoc on a specially constructed 'city'.
STRANGEST WEATHER ON EARTH (12 x 30') looks at weather events
so bizarre they're beyond our wildest imagination, from fire-nadoes
to fish and worms falling from the sky. In this series we'll
explore the wild and wonderful world of the weirdest weather on
Earth. WEATHER THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (9 x 30') reveals how our
history has been shaped by weather, from the sinking of the Titanic
to the crash of the Hindenburg. We see how severe drought,
torrential rain, extreme cold and unpredictable winds have created
dramatic turning points in history.
Both documentary series were produced by Pioneer Productions
for The Weather Channel. As previously reported, Passion is also
launching 4 new series direct for The Weather Channel as part of an
exclusive agreement between the companies.
Following an independent assessment by ISO
certification specialist QMS International, Video Arts was judged
to have quality management processes and procedures in place that
enable it to provide best practice generic and custom video
training, as well as e-learning and m-learning resources, that
consistently meet the exacting requirements of its customers.
All areas of the company's business were assessed in the
accreditation, including its product line, its working
practices, its learning and development activity and its
"Our reputation has been built on the quality of our resources
and our level of service," said Martin Addison, CEO of Video Arts.
"The fact that we've now held the internationally-acclaimed ISO
9001 for 12 years provides reassurance to our customers that we set
ourselves very high standards. We constantly evaluate our
operations to ensure that those standards are maintained and
further improved. The values of quality, service and
continuous improvement are embedded into our business, along with
great learning content, and we regard these as key to customer
ISO 9001 is a standard recognised in over 150 countries
worldwide. However, Greville Payne of QMS International, who was
involved in the assessment of Video Arts, highlighted that only
five percent of UK businesses have been awarded ISO 9001
certification. He paid tribute to "the investment in people and
training that enables Video Arts to provide an efficient service to
Founded in 1972, Video Arts is the world's leading provider of
video-based learning. It serves customers in 50 countries and
produces learning content in 40 languages.