Numerous Nominations at Top Reality Awards

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Tinopolis Group topping the US reality scene with two production companies

featuring in top six with 14 nominations in total

LONDON, 13 MARCH 2014: A.Smith & Co and Magical Elves, both part of The Tinopolis Group, have been nominated for 14 awards at the 2nd annual RealityWanted Awards which acknowledges outstanding performances in 2013. Of the 24 award categories A. Smith & Co and Magical Elves are nominated in nine categories with both featuring in the highly coveted Production Company award which shortlists six potential winners.

A.Smith & Co, one of the largest production companies in America, has been nominated for awards in the following categories: Production Company, Shocking Moment (American Ninja Warrior & Kitchen Nightmares), Reality King (Gordon Ramsay, Kitchen Nightmares/Hell's Kitchen), Competition Show (American Ninja Warrior & Hell's Kitchen), Host/Hostess (Kitchen Nightmares), Overall Show (Hell's Kitchen), Docu-Series (Kitchen Nightmares), Dynamic Cast (Hell's Kitchen). With a total of 10 nominations A.Smith and Co is the most nominated Company in the entire awards.

Magical Elves, the production team behind some of the highest quality reality programming on television, has been nominated for: Production Company, New Show (Cold Justice & Time of Death) and Dynamic Cast (Top Chef)

The awards ceremony will be held at the Supperclub, Los Angeles, on Thursday, 17 April 2014.

Arwel Rees, CEO of The Tinopolis Group, commented: "As a Group, we produce top quality content across all genres, globally. The American market is an important and growing part of our business and it is fantastic to be nominated for so many awards in the increasingly popular reality category. Our continued success is testament to the talent we have working for us and their endless desire to create and innovate."

Triple win for Video Arts at 2014 World Media Festival

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Video Arts achieves two gold awards and one silver award for

"outstanding" video productions

Tinopolis Group is pleased to announce that Video Arts, the leading corporate video learning company, has won three awards for their recent video productions at the 2014 World Media Festival.

The World Media Festival awards recognise excellence in modern business communications media.  A World Media Festival award is one of the world's highest honours for production standards in media for business and learning.

Video Arts was awarded for the following:

  • "The Balance Sheet Barrier" won gold in the category of Training: Learning Programmes
  • "Performance Review: Code Red" won gold in the Corporate TV: Learning category
  • "Successful Selling" was recognised with a silver award in the Education: Professional Education category

All three entries were cited as "outstanding" by the judging panel which consists of film and video professionals as well as subject matter experts. The criteria they used include writing, sound, editing, creativity, visuals, insights, and above all the extent to which the Video Arts programmes met their stated goals and communicated with the intended audience.

Video Arts is also pleased to announce that " Performance Review: Code Red" was Highly Commended in the category of Best Learning & Development Communication at this years the IVCA Awards.

International media company adds to US presence with Magical Elves

Monday, 03 February 2014

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 Me.

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 us."

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 bring."

Tinopolis Group and Kevin Lee join forces to launch Tollbooth Group

Monday, 27 January 2014

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 Films.

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 Bunim-Murray Productions.

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 often."

Sunset + Vine to open new Asia operation

Monday, 27 January 2014

(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 Commonwealth Games.

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, added:

"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 market."

Mentorn Media shortlisted for two Broadcast Awards 2014

Friday, 29 November 2013

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 pioneers.

Trailer :

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 5 February at Grosvenor House, London.

Tinopolis Earmarked By UK Government To Help Boost Exports

Thursday, 28 November 2013

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 apply.

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 clients."

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 signs BBC TV's Head of Innovation as new Creative Director

Monday, 14 October 2013

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 development."

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 super-brands.

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.

Jay Bienstock & Eugene Young Join A.Smith & Co. Productions

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


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. team."

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.

Mentorn and BBC Three challenges 'Bunk-Up' couples to test drive new homes

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

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 announced.

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 move out.

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 distance?

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.