a Shine to the TV biz
Elisabeth launching a production house
By Simon Bond
Except for the piles of venture capitalists at the base of tall
buildings, the technology sector wipeout has provided little cheer for
At least that was so until the other day. It now appears the downturn
has not been so daunting to the bravest entrepreneurs.
Last week in London Shine
Entertainment was launched, a start-up by two former so-called big
executives who are ready to brave
it on their own.
Shine is the brainchild of Rupert Murdoch's daughter,
Elisabeth, and Lord Alli, the former boss of Carlton TV's production
The company will be 80 percent owned by Elisabeth
Murdoch, 15 percent by Lord Alli, and 5 percent by BSkyB, father Rupert's pay-TV
platform in the U.K..
help things along in the early days, BSkyB has kindly signed a deal
guaranteeing to buy an agreed amount of Shine programming for two years.
While the BSkyB distribution deal underpins the business,
Shine has still managed the tough negotiations necessary to retain the rights to its
Elisabeth Murdoch will be chief executive and Lord Alli,
who will work for the company two days a week, will be its executive
Both founding executives have impeccable TV industry
credentials. Aside from her family, Elisabeth ran programming and
marketing at BSkyB until last year, and Lord Alli has run an independent
business before: Planet 24, which was bought by Carlton for over $20
million in 1999.
Lord Alli also helped develop the "Survivor"
reality series, which is earning record-breaking ratings in the U.S.
Although the new television and film production company
is based in the U.K., it has international ambitions. Shine aims to be a new
kind of content
player, spanning TV programming, feature films and what's known as venture
programming, promotional programs made in association with companies.
In a world where viewers are increasingly tuning out conventional TV advertising, Shine argues that consumer goods
companies will want to develop more imaginative ways of getting to their
One of the company's first clients is IPC Media, for whom Shine is
developing a daytime TV format based on the publisher's women's
Lord Alli has high hopes for the partnership and says
that within two years he wants to have made headway in the U.S., have an
entertainment brand in place, a TV drama on the point of commission and a
program-development deal with a corporate partner.
Both Murdoch and Lord Alli
have invested in the company, but Shine is understood to be talking to
four or five media
companies about a strategic investment.
While attracting new capital these days is a tough
business, you can't help feeling that these two will somehow pull it
Bond covers European media for Media Life, writing from outside of London.
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