Magazine article Variety

Acquisitive Firm Extends Digital Reach

Magazine article Variety

Acquisitive Firm Extends Digital Reach

Article excerpt

Telepool's golden anniversary buoyed by hits and expansion By Ed Meza


Telepool, one of Europe's leading licensing companies, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but as the group looks toward the future it is embracing opportunities in international film and television, staking new ground while solidifying longtime partnerships and adapting to technological innovations as it revs up its growing digital distribution activities.

Founded in 1963, Telepool's core business in German-speaking territories includes the acquisition and sales of theatrical, TV, video, video on demand and ancillary rights and merchandising; it also operates Global Screen, a world sales joint venture with Bavaria Film that has become one of Europe's leading sales and acquisitions firms.

The company's current shareholders include German regional pubcasters BR, SWR and MDR - all affiliates of national broadcasting giant ARD - as well as the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. Its vast library comprises programming from its shareholders as well as from independent international producers, ranging from theatrical blockbusters to hit TV series and documentaries.

Telepool holds German-language rights to such recent high-profile international films as The Intouchables, Silver Linings Play book, Olympus Has Fallen and Drive.

In Germany, the company works with a number of local distrib partners, among them Berlin's Senator Film, which saw huge box office returns with the French hit Intouchables.

Senator and Telepool jointly acquired Intouchables - which made a stratospheric $82.4 million in Germany - as an unfinished project, says Telepool CEO Thomas Weymar.

Senator likewise handled Silver Linings Playbook and Safe Haven.

Telepool's wide-ranging catalog has resulted in multiple distribution deals.

"Since our portfolio contains gramming across all genres, we with many partners," Weymar says. allows us to always choose the best partner for a certain project when it comes releases on the bigscreen or video."

Munich-based Universum Film, another close collaborator, handled Drive and will release Olympus Has Fallen on June 13.

While Telepool's major activity remains theatrical and TV distribution in German-speaking territories, last year it launched Global Screen, a world sales joint venture with Bavaria Film that has become one of Europe's largest international distribution outfits.

"As the growing revenues of both Global Screen and Telepool show, it's worth it" says Weymar, who is also looking to boost business in other areas. …

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