Banijay France Unveils Acquisition of Scripted Label Authentic Media



Less than three months after being tapped CEO of Banijay France, Alexia Laroche-Joubert, a well-known industry figure, has enlisted Authentic Media, a leading French premium scripted banner that will join the “Peaky Blinders” production-distribution powerhouse.

The acquisition of Authentic Media, who produced hit French adaptations of series such as “Rita” and “This is Us,” will further bolster Banijay France’s portfolio of scripted labels. These include the in-house outfits Banijay Studio France (“Germinal,” “Marie-Antoinette,” “Versailles”) and Shine Fiction (“”Brocéliande,””Carême”); as well as Fiction’Air (“Les Disparus de la Forêt Noire”); Terence Films (“Rivière-Perdue”); Montmartre (“Alphonse,” “Sulak”); Screen Line (“Trash”); and Marathon, which has three series in development.

Founded in 2011 by Aline Panel, Authentic Media’s production output spans drama, film, and documentary. With 15 projects in development, the company has developed seven seasons of “Sam,” based on the Nordic series hit “Rita” which was created by Christian Torpe for SF Studios Productions and TF1; three seasons of “Je te promets,” adapted from “This is Us,” for TF1; as well as the mini-series “Le Temps Est Assassin” for TF1; and “Les secrets du château” and “Les secrets du paquebot” for the public broadcaster France Télévisions.

Speaking to Variety, Laroche-Joubert says the acquisition of Authentic Media underscores Banijay France’s ambition to grow its footprint within the scripted space under her leadership. “Our aim is to achieve the same of level of expertise that we have shown in unscripted,” says Laroche-Joubert, who produced some of the country’s longest-running unscripted hits and broke ground by delivering France’s first reality show more than 20 years ago with “Loft Story,” an adaptation of “Big Brother.”

Laroche-Joubert, who spent the bulk of her career as an independent producer until her banner Adventure Line Productions (ALP) became part of Banijay in 2016, values Panel’s entrepreneurial drive. “Aline Panel has a very interesting profile because she’s extremely creative and innovative, has strong relationships with local TV players and has been consistently delivering hits, while building a development pipeline of ambitious projects,” says Laroche-Joubert, pointing out that “Je te promets,” a ratings hit, is the only international adaptation of “This is Us.”

“Panel’s ability to create long-running series and successfully adapt formats tells us that she’s got the potential to dig in Banijay’s IP’s and give them a new life,” says the exec, who anticipates that Authentic Media is “going to hit the ground running as part of Banijay France” because they already have a roster of developed projects. She also praised the topnotch quality of writing and production of each show that Panel is producing, “on par with our standards across everything we produce,” says Laroche-Joubert.

Over at Shine France, veteran comedian and producer Dominique Farrugia has had to build his slate from scratch since joining Banijay three years ago and is only now seeing projects taking shape. The company’s “investment in quality content is paying off,” Laroche-Joubert says, mentioning “Careme,” a prestige show directed by Martin Bourboulon (“The Three Musketeers: d’Artagnan”) and ordered by Apple TV+, revolving around the celebrated chef Antonin Carême. Besides Panel and Farrugia, Banijay France’s pool of experienced scripted producers include Alain Goldman, who’s behind the Oscar-winning movie “La vie en rose,” as well as Terrence Films’ Stéphane Meunier and Bertrand Cohen with credits such “Riviere-Perdue,” the French adaptation of “La Caza. Monteperdido,” the hit drama created by Banijay Iberia’s DLO Producciones.

Commissions for scripted content are expected to slow down in 2024 but Laroche-Joubert says “the demand is still high.” “It’s all about maintaining a balance. We have to be involved in multiple types of programs, including documentaries,” says the executive, who took over from François de Brugada (now in charge of Banijay Events). She also notes that there are more and more collaborations between traditional TV channels and streamers who are joining forces on upscale shows, for instance “Bardot” (France Televisions/Netflix), “Coeurs Noirs” (France Televisions/Prime Video), “The Bonfire of Destiny” (TF1/Netflix). “Streaming services and TV channels are collaborating because they benefit from each other’s marketing appeal and contribute to expanding the lifeline of shows,” says Laroche-Joubert, who also observed that streamers such as Netflix are also required, since 2021, to invest in local content and split rights on independent productions under a French decree that stems from the E.U.’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

Banijay also boasts its own fund to support select creative projects developed by in-house producers. Goldman, for instance, was able to tap into the fund to finance “a very expensive project development,” says Laroche-Joubert. “He presented the project to the selection board and within a week he got the funding and was able to launch the development of his show,” she says.

Going forward, Authentic Media will be continue producing ambitious scripted programs and even develop more internationally driven shows. Banijay Rights will have the opportunity to distribute Authentic Media’s titles around the world as ready-made and formats. As part of the deal, Authentic Media’s library of IP’s is also joining Banijay France.

“With its distinctive reputation for investing in talent and quality storymaking, Banijay feels like the ideal home for us to deliver on our ambitious expansion plans,” said Panel, who praised the group for “continuing to raise its stakes in drama.”

In joining Banijay, Authentic Media will also have the opportunity to collaborate with over 60 sister scripted labels across 22 markets. “The strength of Banijay is that everyone talks to each other, it’s very fluid,” says Laroche-Joubert, citing Steve Matthews, an HBO Europe alumni who joined the company and “has become a sort of script doctor on all our productions.”

Banijay also owes it strength to its “long-term approach to partnerships,” says Laroche-Joubert. “When we acquire a company we’re in for the long haul, at least 8 to 10 years, because Banijay is not looking to hit the sales block.”

The acquisition of Authentic Media follows Banijay’s recent acquisition of “The Buccaneers” producer, The Forge, and strategic investments in Cris Abrego and Eva Longoria’s Hyphenate Media Group, Sir Lenny Henry’s start-up Esmerelda Productions, James Norton and Kitty Kaletsky’s, Rabbit Hole, and Italy’s Greenboo Productions.

Banijay became the world’s largest independent TV producer in 2020 after sealing a $2.2 billion deal to buy Endemol Shine Group in the thick of the pandemic.


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