Sky enters Jupiter orbit with 60% stake

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 31 March 2015

Hot on the heels of firming up its European pay-TV ambitions, Sky is now turning its attentions to the US, taking a three-fifths equity stake in independent production company Jupiter Entertainment.

skyjupiterFounded in 1996 by Stephen Land, Jupiter Entertainment produces popular non-scripted programmes — including documentaries, reality series, true crime and lifestyle series — for networks such as A&E, Discovery, History, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, TLC and Animal Planet among others. With corporate offices in Knoxville, Tennessee and New York City with a Los Angeles post-production satellite, the company's portfolio series includes Welcome to Myrtle Manor for TLC; Wild West Alaska for Animal Planet; Snapped, Oxygen; and ID's Homicide Hunter.

Commenting on the deal, Land said: "We couldn't be more delighted. Sky is an ideal strategic partner. Combining Jupiter's strong domestic growth with Sky's global reach creates thrilling possibilities. We have ambitious growth plans and believe our employees and network partners will all benefit from this exciting combination."

Jupiter will continue to operate as a distinct company under the new ownership structure, producing programmes for a variety of broadcasters. Sky's international distribution business, Sky Vision, will become Jupiter Entertainment's distribution partner, representing finished programmes and formats. Jupiter Entertainment's existing agreements with other broadcasters and distributors will remain unchanged.

"Over the past two decades, Jupiter has built an impressive track record in popular factual television, and has become a major supplier to a variety of US networks," commented Sky Vision MD Jane Millichip. "We look forward to working with Stephen, who is one of America's most prolific television executives, and his talented team. They have an exciting slate of returning series and new formats, and Jupiter will become an important partner for Sky Vision as we build our presence in the US market."

The investment forms part of Sky's strategy to grow a broad, international content business spanning broadcasting, production and distribution which has seen it take equity in Love Productions in the UK and LA-based Znak & Jones, both of which partner with Sky Vision on international strategy. Thanks to a Sky strategic partnership with Random House, Jupiter will now have a first look at adapting the publisher's assets as non-fiction television and digital properties.