Producers of Top Rated GOLD RUSH Strengthens Discovery’s Creative Pipeline and Reach Worldwide
(London, United Kingdom) Discovery Communications today announced the acquisition of London-based independent production house, Raw. The acquisition is a key step in Discovery’s strategy to strengthen the company’s creative pipeline, diversify its content creation outside the United States, and formalize an already strong relationship with one of the top production companies in the world. The deal expands the award-winning production company’s global infrastructure, distribution platforms, and investment resources overall while preserving Raw’s independence and commitment to innovative and gripping storytelling.
“Discovery is committed to working with the best creatives in the business, and Raw stands apart not only as one of the finest in the UK, but also one of the best in the world,” said Lee Bartlett, President, Discovery Studios and Production Group. “We want Raw to maintain the identity and culture that has allowed them to produce such high-quality programming. We are looking forward to Raw infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with compelling stories that will be seen on Discovery’s networks around the world. On the same day as the debut of AHC: American Heroes Channel, the company’s newest network brand, the acquisition of Raw underscores Discovery’s ongoing strategy of increasing investment in new brands, new content creators, new programming genres, and new opportunities across more platforms in more regions of the world.”
“We’ve always been obsessed with great stories, and bringing them to screen in the most stylish and innovative way. I think that’s what has helped attract some of the best film-makers to Raw projects. We want to take those core values into more areas, including scripted drama and film, in the UK and US, and also around the world – and the partnership with Discovery will allow us to really turbo-charge those plans. We have been working with Discovery for years now; we know each other well and understand each other. It feels like an incredibly exciting creative partnership made possible by the amazing team at Raw whose commitment and storytelling skills have generated so many successes. I’m delighted that this deal will give us the resources and the freedom we need for the next phase of our growth,” said Dimitri Doganis, Founder of Raw.
Raw is managed by Doganis, Creative Director Bart Layton, Chief Executive Officer, Joely Fether and Managing Director Piers Vellacott.
Discovery has worked with Raw since 2001, commissioning successful series including GOLD RUSH for Discovery Channel, UNEXPLAINED FILES for Science and Discovery Networks International and DANGEROUS PERSUASIONS for ID. Under the agreement, Raw will be able to expand into scripted programming as well as produce high-quality independent films. Raw will continue to operate independently from its London headquarters, and all of Raw’s current staff will be retained.
Raw was founded in 2001 by Doganis, with Creative Director Layton joining in 2005 and Head of US Factual Sam Maynard joining in 2006. In addition to its programming for Discovery, Raw produces hits such as LOCKED UP ABROAD for National Geographic and PARANORMAL WITNESS for SyFy. In the UK, the company has recently created a new digital rig for Channel 4 to underpin two major documentary series commissions, TEENS (10 x 1 hr) and STUDENTS (5 x 1hr). Production highlights also include THE PLOT TO BRING DOWN BRITAIN’S PLANS which won a BAFTA in 2013 and more recently the critically acclaimed drama, BLACKOUT, for Channel 4. THE IMPOSTER for Film4 — which Doganis and Layton produced and directed respectively — became one of the highest-ever grossing documentaries at the UK box office, winning numerous international awards, including a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut, and both Best Documentary and the Douglas Hickox Award at the BIFAs.
American Heroes Channel (AHC) is a network from Discovery Communications that tells timeless stories in which a challenge appears – be it a situation or a villain – and a hero arises. Currently in nearly 62 million homes, AHC provides a rare glimpse into major events that shaped our world, visionary leaders and unexpected heroes who made a difference, and the great defenders of our freedom.
Media corporate finance firm About Corporate Finance and Wiggin solicitors advised the shareholders of Raw on the deal.
Grant Dawe LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.
About Discovery Communications:
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching 2.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 220 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through more than 190 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and the Hub Network. Across the Nordic region, Discovery owns and operates SBS Discovery Media, a top-three portfolio of television brands that feature leading nonfiction content, as well as locally produced entertainment programs, sports and the best scripted series and movies from major studios. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.