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Howard Stringer, U.K. Distributor DRG Launch Atrium TV Drama Development Venture

Variety logo Variety 4/3/2017 Cynthia Littleton
© Provided by Variety

Former Sony USA chief Howard Stringer has teamed with U.K. distributor DRG to launch a development venture targeting streaming platforms worldwide.

Atrium TV is described as a “commissioning club” that will develop series prospects and make them available to OTT and SVOD outlets that become club “members.” Atrium TV will seek one member per region so as to avoid competitive conflicts. The first member is Viaplay, a unit of Nordic media conglom MTG. Members will be given the chance to invest in Atrium productions and thus license them for their territories.

Atrium TV was unveiled Monday at the Mip TV international sales conference in Cannes. The company is the brainchild of Stringer, DRG CEO Jeremy Fox and Jakob Mejlhede, MTG’s exec VP and head of programming and content development.

“The demand for high quality drama is increasing throughout the world as new platforms come on line and as new audiences consume their programming in an alternative way to linear TV,” Stringer said. “Atrium helps these new platforms compete with broadcasters and global SVOD players by offering a creative solution for them to offer big budget drama to their subscribers.”

Former ABC and NBC executive Quinn Taylor has joined the venture as a consultant. Taylor left his post as NBC’s head of movies and miniseries earlier this year.

Among the first projects in the pipeline at Atrium TV:

  • “The Eagle Has Landed,” an original concept, will air in 2019, which is the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon. Stephen Kronish (“24,” “The Kennedys”) is attached to write the script and is currently hard at work on the research.
  • “Fandorin,” based on the novels by Boris Akunin, is being developed by BBC Studios, with a script written by Simon Ashford. Fandorin” is a fictional, late 19th-century detective often described as the Russian Sherlock Holmes. The books have sold 25 million copies.
  • “Saigon,” based on the novel by Anthony Grey, tells a story spanning 50 years of Vietnam’s history from the French colonial days of 1925 to the last helicopter from the roof of the American embassy in 1975.

DRG’s Fox said the club concept is designed to help members stretch their development resources.

“We have watched the rapid expansion of global streaming services.  A great way for local players to compete in their own markets is to share the cost of developing and producing high profile series. That’s the key aim of Atrium,” Fox said.

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