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‘Survivor,’ ‘Black Mirror’ Producer Banijay 2023 Financials Grow Despite “Challenging Market”

Superindie Banijay, the France-headquartered production giant behind the likes of Marie Antoinette, Peaky BlindersBlack Mirror, MasterChef, Big Brother and Survivor, reported higher 2023 earnings and revenue on Thursday.

Banijay, the world’s largest independent TV producer that has grown via acquisitions, including its takeover of Endemol Shine Group, posted a full-year revenue gain of 3.4 percent, or 5.7 on a constant-currency basis, over 2022 to €3.32 billion ($3.36 billion).

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The production powerhouse’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 4.5 percent, or 6.7 percent on a constant-currency basis, to €494 million ($540 million) last year.

Headquartered in Paris, Banijay is led by CEO Marco Bassetti and chairman Stéphane Courbit and part of FL Entertainment, which also owns an online sports betting and gaming business.

Banijay’s 2023 performance “was driven by the diversity of content – proven superbrands and series renewals, global circulation of IP as core driver for recurring revenue, relentless creativity, and an enlarged content catalog and the impact of the recent acquisitions (Balich Wonder Studio and The Forge),” FL Entertainment said in its earnings report on Thursday.

Said FL CEO François Riahi: “In content production & distribution, 2023 illustrated our strengths in more challenging macroeconomic conditions, powered by our iconic brands like Big Brother and Star Academy, the depth of our content catalog, and new scripted and non-scripted formats that are in demand from both linear and streaming clients across the globe.”

Bassetti echoed that, saying: “2023’s results are once again testament to the ongoing strength and resilience of our group. Against the backdrop of challenging market conditions and strong economic headwinds, our talent united to deliver on target.”

He also touted: “Reinforcing our competitive edge in the market and continuing to expand the business into complementary fields, through the year, we executed 14 acquisitions and investments, and broadened our capabilities in live events via the Balich Wonder Studio acquisition; sports and branded content with the launches of Banijay Sports and Banijay Branded Entertainment respectively; and digital, incorporating moves in AI; and in doing so, illustrated the power of a diversified operation in reaching our ambitious goals.”

Most recently, Banijay U.K. unit acquired a minority stake in Immovable Studios, co-founded by British hip-hop artist, author and social entrepreneur Akala and his business partner and talent manager Chanelle Newman.

Streaming platforms’ share of content production & distribution revenue increased further in 2023 to 19 percent, up six percentage points compared to 2021, representing 75 percent revenue growth over the past two years, Banijay said.

“Content production revenue increased by 3.3 percent in 2023, driven by returning shows in multiple
territories as well as original content production,” it noted, while iconic superbrands and returning shows made an impact. “Big Brother made a major return to the U.K. on ITV after a five-year hiatus, trending at number 1 on the broadcaster’s ITVx streaming service; The Buccaneers, the acclaimed drama from The Forge, has been commissioned for a season 2 on Apple TV+; Star Academy returned on TF1 in France for its eleventh season, recording a major primetime success with 4.3 million viewers for the finale; The Fifty, first produced in France with 200 million views and 1 million app downloads, has been adapted in 2023 for the U.S. Hispanic market.”

New successes included non-scripted show Upside Down, a game show from Endemol Shine Nederland on Videoland, The Summit, an Australian adventure series from Endemol Shine Australia, on Nine Network; and Moulin Rouge: Yes We Can Can in the U.K.

“Banijay is also capitalizing on digital and social platforms to reach next-generation audiences, complementing its licensing and merchandising efforts,” the company said on Thursday. “As an example, a Big Brother Germany spinoff received 8.8 million live views on the Twitch platform during the 57-hour live stream, while MasterChef World, the YouTube channel featuring highlights from local versions as well as new content, has more than 2.2 million subscribers.”

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