STV acquires majority stake in Primal Media

Scottish broadcaster STV has acquired a majority stake in Primal Media, the production company behind ITV2's Release the Hounds.

Chief executive Simon Pitts hailed the latest deal. Picture: Laurence Winram
Chief executive Simon Pitts hailed the latest deal. Picture: Laurence Winram

The Glasgow-based group said the deal would allow its STV Productions arm to "realise full value" from Primal's current and future programming slate. This includes current comedy series Jerk for BBC3 and two new programmes, both currently in production, for Channel 4.

The acquisition follows the announcement earlier this year of a strategic partnership between the two companies to co-develop formats to target UK and international networks.

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Under the terms of the deal, Lionsgate, the previous majority investor in Primal Media will retain a minority stake in the business, with the founders holding the remaining equity. STV said that no upfront payment was being made by the group while the agreement included the option for STV to acquire the remaining shares in the future.

Founded in 2016 by Adam Wood and Mat Steiner, Primal Media is behind a range of successful formats including Release the Hounds for ITV2, Bigheads for ITV and Carnage for Sky One.

David Mortimer, managing director of STV Productions, said: "I've known Adam and Mat for many years and have always thought of them as two of the UK's most talented entertainment producers. I'm looking forward to working on bringing some really ambitious unscripted projects to screen with them and their fantastic team."

Wood, joint managing director of Primal Media, added: "When we started talking to David about a regional partnership earlier this year, it quickly became apparent that our goals and strategies for growing Primal were very closely aligned."

Meanwhile, the STV Productions division announced the recommission of a six-part series Inside Central Station for BBC Scotland, which will go into production later this year. Further recommissions of Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, as well as Celebrity Catchphrase for ITV, have also been confirmed, all for 2019 delivery.

Following the success of drama series The Victim for BBC1, STV's next drama production, Elizabeth is Missing, also for BBC1, begins filming in Scotland next month. Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson will take the lead role.

Additionally, STV Productions will produce a new quiz format, The Cash Machine, for STV. The six-part peak time entertainment series is to be hosted by Lorraine Kelly.

STV also outlined a number of initiatives designed to accelerate its digital growth.

Chief executive Simon Pitts said: "It's a little over a year since we set out our new strategy to deliver production and digital growth and re-establish STV as a creative force in Scotland and beyond. With a new team fully in place we are building real momentum and delivering encouraging results.

"Programming successes like recent drama The Victim for BBC1 demonstrate our growing creative strength, and the acquisition of Primal Media - whose founders have an unrivalled track record of devising hit entertainment formats - will further strengthen our creative pipeline as we seek to become one of the UK's leading producers."