AMC Networks and Toronto-based Shaftesbury have entered into a new strategic partnership that, through an investment in Shaftesbury, will grant AMC access to the production company’s slate and expand its content and development capabilities in Canada.
The partnership, which builds on AMC and Shaftesbury’s existing production ties, was forged with the intention of growing Shaftesbury’s content slate across genres and creating more opportunities for Canadian creators both in front of and behind the camera. Shaftesbury is known as the studio behind Acorn TV titles such as “Murdoch Mysteries”; Acorn TV is a subsidiary of AMC Networks.
Shaftesbury CEO and chairman Christina Jennings will continue to lead the company’s creative focus and day-to-day operations alongside executive vice president Scott Garvie.
“This new partnership will leverage the broad expertise of AMC Networks and Shaftesbury to deliver significant growth opportunities for the development, production, distribution and reach of our content,” said Jennings. “Getting Canadian stories and creative talent in front of the international market has always been Shaftesbury’s mission – this relationship will give us a big leg up.”
As part of the deal, Jennings, Garvie and Shaftesbury board member Michael Levine will remain on the production company’s board of directors, and will be joined by two AMC Networks directors: Harold Gronenthal, exec VP of programming and marketing for AMC Networks International, and Matt Graham, general manager of the Acorn TV streamer.
“Christina has built a world class production company with a long track record and reputation for creating high quality content that resonates in markets around the world,” said Josh Sapan, AMC Networks president and CEO. “Shaftesbury is an ideal partner for AMC Networks as we expand our focus on sourcing premium content and IP for distribution across our own platforms as well as to third parties. In addition, this partnership will give AMC Networks enhanced capabilities to expand our productions in Canada.”
RBC Capital Markets advised Shaftesbury and its shareholders on the strategic investment.