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Press Releases

Press releases 2017

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Autentic takes full control of Autentic Distribution


Cannes, 16 October 2017. The Munich-based Autentic GmbH will take full control of the international factual distribution company Autentic Distribution, formerly a joint-venture of Autentic and the WDR mediagroup. Effective 1/1/2018, Autentic Distribution, headquartered in Cologne, becomes the wholly owned subsidiary of Autentic, which in turn is possessed by Patrick Hoerl and Jan Mojto’s Beta Film group. Autentic Distribution maintains its close relationship with WDR as exclusive distribution partner of all WDR documentaries.

“Throughout recent years, Autentic and the WDR mediagroup have built up a fast-growing distribution entity. Autentic will hold on to its strategy to invest in high-quality content to allow managing director Anne Hufnagel and her team to pursue this growth course,” says Autentic CEO Patrick Hoerl. “Investigative journalism by WDR has set an international standard. We are delighted to be able to keep on offering this content as well as productions from other public broadcasters in the future.”

Michael Loeb, WDR Mediagroup: “As part of the realignment of the WDR mediagroup, the investment portfolio is also being reviewed. In this connection, the decision has been made to sell the shares in Autentic Distribution as the common strategic objective of Autentic and WDR mediagroup has been achieved: the development of internationally successful sales for factual program. Therefore, the time has now come for the WDR mediagroup to withdraw. However, nothing changes when it comes to the good collaboration. The WDR mediagroup will continue to distribute the high-quality WDR factual productions on an international basis exclusively by means of Autentic Distribution. This successful partnership will continue.”

Autentic Distribution is heading to MIPCOM in Cannes with 150 hours of new factual programs, among them the remarkable documentary about live in the future “2077 – 10 Seconds to the Future” (4 x 60‘) and “Secrets of Arabia” (4 x 52’) which gives a fascinating inside into one of the richest regions in the world.


For further information:
Beta Film Press
Dorothee Stoewahse
Tel: + 49 89 67 34 69 15,

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Press release: Autentic takes full control of Autentic Distribution (PDF)

WDR mediagroup brings Maus and friends to Asia and America


Cologne/Cannes, 16 October 2017. The WDR mediagroup’s (WDRmg) International Content Sales is reporting successful deals in the children’s segment at MIPCOM (16 to 19 October in Cannes): Maus, Bobo, Trude’s Flatmate and Gigglebug have been sold to China, South Korea, America and Mexico. Rights have been issued for pay TV, video-on-demand (VOD) and free TV, depending on the format.

Maus, something of an institution on German television for roughly 45 years, will be seen in Mexico on Canal Once in future with the support of the “German Year in Mexico” project. Bobo, famous worldwide as a classic children’s book, will go on air with Daekyo Kids in South Korea on pay TV and as VOD and with V-ME on pay TV for Hispanic Americans. Trudes Flatmate, known from Maus, and Gigglebug, an internationally famous preschool app and series from Finland, will be available as VOD in China with JY Animation.

Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg: “Quality is a programme feature that is being sought worldwide. We can cater to this demand perfectly with our international children’s portfolio. Our current sales show that well made children’s programmes work beyond national borders. Our aim is to tap into more new markets for our superb quality children’s portfolio at MIPCOM.”

Press release: WDR mediagroup brings Maus and friends to Asia and America (PDF)Presskit: WDR mediagroup brings Maus and friends to Asia and America (ZIP, 27MB)

WDRmg brings Nordic kids’ programme "Gigglebug" to Channel 5’s "Milkshake!"

Copyright: Gigglebug Entertainment

WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) in Cologne has licensed Gigglebug Entertainment’s Finnish kids’ programme, “Gigglebug”, to Channel 5’s popular pre-school block “Milkshake!”. “Gigglebug” will be available exclusively on the brand’s newly launched YouTube channel from 24th July. The British broadcaster is betting on Gigglebug’s international success and popularity in the online world and will stream the first five episodes of the series on Milkshake!’s first ever YouTube channel when it launches on July 24th, with two new episodes released every week. The format will also be available for viewers on the block’s website,

“Gigglebug is just hilarious and we are so happy to be able to share it with the Milkshake! audience,” said Sarah Muller, Head of Children’s Channel 5. “The Milkshake! YouTube channel should provide an ideal platform for the property as UK families can enjoy episodes of this unique series.”

“Gigglebug”, the heartfelt and infectious series for pre-schoolers, consists of two seasons with 52 five-minute episodes. Produced by Gigglebug Entertainment, it was originally commissioned by YLE in Finland and SRF in Switzerland, and is already on air in numerous other European territories. As an app, Gigglebug has long been an international hit, as the protagonist of a TV-series, he is a star on the rise. Now the little forest creature with the infectious laugh is coming to the UK for the first time.

“Gigglebug” promises to get kids and families laughing together, highlighting the healing power of laughter and how positive thinking helps children learn better. Set in the enchanted Greengown Forest, Gigglebug shows his sometimes grumpy animal friends that you can achieve anything you set out to do if you have an optimistic outlook. With more than 1,000,000 downloads, the “Gigglebug“ apps have topped the preschool app charts in 64 countries.

Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg, says: “Starting a new YouTube channel with ‘Gigglebug’ fits perfectly to the brand, as it originated in the digital world. This kind of distribution by Channel 5 is a great opportunity for the series to expand on the existing fan base in the English-speaking territories.”

Anttu Harlin, CEO and Producer at Gigglebug Entertainment, says: “We’re thrilled to bring the utterly positive world of Gigglebug to the UK. At its heart, Gigglebug began as a digital brand, so we can’t think of a better UK home than the exciting new Milkshake! online channels. It’s already become a firm family favourite across Finland and we have no doubt that kids and families across the UK will also fall in love with the show and share magical moments of giggles.”

Press release: WDRmg brings Nordic kids’ programme Gigglebug to Channel 5’s Milkshake! (PDF)Image: "Gigglebug" 1 (JPG, Copyright: Gigglebug Entertainment)Image: "Gigglebug" 2 (JPG, Copyright: Gigglebug Entertainment)

Shaun the Sheep: WDR mediagroup and Trixie offer new licensed products for pet accessories

Copyrights: Trixie Heimtierbedarf

Trixie, the European market leader for pet supplies, and WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) are continuing to expand their cooperation arrangement. Last year alone, 17 products for dogs and cats were presented featuring motifs taken from the world of Shaun the Sheep. This year, pet-owners can look forward to new plush squeak toys in the form of Timmy and Timmy’s mother, as well as the cat Pidsley.  A cosy dog comforter with a Shaun motif will soon be available in stores, too.

Products that premiered already in 2016 at ‘Interzoo’, Europe’s largest fair for the pet trade, are now in high demand. These include plush squeak toys in the shape of Shaun, Bitzer, one of the Naughty Pigs and Pidsley the Cat, not to mention rubber squeaks in the shape of Shaun and Bitzer. In addition to animal toys, a variety of pet beds, cushions and sofas, as well as cosy dens in assorted designs and sizes have been established in the market. Rounding out the product range are a bag as well as bowls and bowl underlays.

Trixie is the first licensee in the pet-supplies market to use the popular brand featuring the clever TV sheep. This was made possible by the licensing agency in charge, WDRmg, which holds the merchandising rights for the successful British format in the GAS region. In consultation with the Shaun licensor Aardman Animations, Trixie’s pet-care products are now distributed in many European countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

“‘Shaun the Sheep’ is a strong license brand that appeals to children and adults alike. The rural setting on a farm with lots of other animals offers ideal identification potential for pet-owners,” explains Julia Wurzer, Head of Brands at WDRmg. “With the Trixie products, Shaun is appearing in the pet market throughout Europe. The expansion of our cooperation shows that the licensed brand and the product are a perfect match, and demand for Shaun products for pets remains very high.”

“Shaun the Sheep” is a production by Aardman Animations in cooperation with BBC, WDR and WDR mediagroup. In Germany, the format airs as part of the “Sendung mit der Maus” on Das Erste and on KiKA, and in reruns on other channels of the ARD network. A total of 150 episodes of seven minutes each are available. Following the success of Shaun’s cinema premiere in 2015, a sequel of “Shaun the Sheep Movie” will start production in September 2017 and is scheduled to hit cinemas in 2019.

Press release: Shaun the Sheep - WDR mediagroup and Trixie offer new licensed products for pet accessories (PDF)Images: Shaun the Sheep - WDR mediagroup and Trixie offer new licensed products for pet accessories (ZIP, 9 MB)

Reality and Comedy: WDR mediagroup expands its international distribution catalogue with original WDR formats

Copyright: WDR

Just in time for MIPTV (3rd to 6th of April in Cannes), WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) has added two new reality formats and a fictional comedy series to its international distribution catalogue. In “Made with Love”, couples have to demonstrate how well they know each other by re-furnishing their partner’s flat. In “My Garden on a Plate”, participants try to out-cook each other using ingredients from their own gardens. And the series “Suck it up!” is about a vacuum cleaner salesman who gets himself involved in the most bizarre predicaments. All three formats were commissioned by WDR and are now available for international adaptation or remake for the first time.

In the home furnishing format “Made with Love”, the participating couples have to give a room in their home a makeover for their respective partner, supported by an interior design expert and a handyman. The end result shows whether they’re able to capture the taste of their partner without allowing their own preferences to creep in.

“My Garden on a Plate” is the perfect format for hobby cooks and gardeners: Six participants take it in turn to prepare a three-course meal using produce from their own gardens. They then have to rate each other’s performance – both in terms of their culinary skills and garden design.

The six-part comedy series “Suck it up!” centres around a vacuum cleaner salesman who has six weeks to sell 60 units of the latest model in order to keep his job. But customers like suicidal life coaches and narcissistic music producers make it tougher for him than expected, and he keeps getting embroiled in extremely odd situations.

Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg: “These three new formats give an idea of our strategy for building up our catalogue: We want to position ourselves as broadly as possible while simultaneously betting on quality and originality. The addition of reality formats on topics such as a cooking and home decorating and a brand new comedy series further broadens our spectrum to cover a variety of different programme genres.”

Press release: Reality and Comedy - WDR mediagroup expands its international distribution catalogue with original WDR formats (PDF)Images: MIPTV 2017 - formats (ZIP, 12 MB)

WDR mediagroup takes over international distribution of “Little Sandman”

Copyright: Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb)

For children in German-speaking countries, it’s a firmly established part of their daily bedtime routine: “Litte Sandman” has been enchanting young TV viewers with bedtime stories since 1959. Ahead of MIPTV 2017 (3rd to 6th of April in Cannes), WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) has taken over the international distribution of the cult programme as well as four additional children’s formats that deal with dreaming and going to sleep. The sales mandate transferred to WDRmg from Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) and its subsidiary rbb media covers global rights for TV broadcasting, DVD publication and video on demand exploitation outside the German-speaking territories.

Besides 24 current episodes of “Little Sandman”, the Cologne-based company will be offering 39 episodes of the series “Kalli” and “Jan & Henry” at the international trade show for TV content, as well as 26 episodes of “Timmi the Rocketeer” and “Lennart in Grumble Valley”. All of the recent additions bring new colours to the existing catalogue of high-quality children’s programming that for the most part comes from the public service broadcasting domain.

Klaus Wilhelm Baumeister, CEO of rbb media: “We’re looking forward to collaborating with a strong partner like WDRmg, who has an excellent reputation in international distribution.”

Andrea Zuska, Chief Content Officer at WDRmg: “Our co-operation with rbb media enables us to bundle additional titles from the ARD family portfolio and make them known beyond the borders of Germany. Plus there is a strategic aspect to our taking over the international programme sales of ‘Jan & Henry’ – we’re acting as licensing and merchandising agency for this title too, which enables us to implement an integrated brand management at the international level.”

Press release: WDR mediagroup takes over international distribution of “Little Sandman” (PDF)Images: WDR mediagroup takes over international distribution of “Little Sandman” (ZIP, 10 MB)

WDR mediagroup and Sixteen South take an adventure into the “WildWoods”

Copyright: Sixteen South

WDR mediagroup (WDRmg) from Cologne has secured the international programme distribution rights for the new live action children’s series “WildWoods” by Belfast-based studio Sixteen South. The show, targeted at kids aged 4 to 7, will be filmed in summer 2017. It features puppets in beautiful outdoor locations and aims to encourage children to appreciate nature. The show has been acquired by RTÉ for Ireland and by ABC KIDS for Australia.

“WildWoods” is an adventure puppet comedy series based around an odd couple: city-boy Cooper, a Sasquatch, and nature-loving Poppy, a Sugar-glider. In each of the 26×11-minute stories, a simple task usually goes very wrong as Cooper’s sheltered indoor existence makes him ill-prepared for outdoor living. Shot in the woods all across Ireland, the real outdoor locations provide a backdrop that reinforces the series’ key messages of appreciating the wonder of nature and respecting the environment.

Sixteen South is the current BAFTA Independent Production Company of the Year 2016 and has won multiple international awards for its shows, having already collaborated with some of the world’s leading kids’ production companies and broadcasters including Sesame Workshop, Disney, Nick Jr, The Jim Henson Company and the BBC.

Colin Williams, Creative Director at Sixteen South says: “’WildWoods’ is a very special show that encourages children to rediscover and to reconnect into the great outdoors. We’ve always loved puppetry and are thrilled to be going into production on this very special puppet show, shot completely outdoors – and we’re delighted too to be working with such great partners as WDR mediagroup.“

Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg, is equally convinced of the potential of “WildWoods”: “This visually unique series with the exciting approach of having puppets act in a real environment will work throughout the world.“ Andrea Zuska, Chief Content Officer, adds: “’Wildwoods’ fits perfectly in our international distribution portfolio of innovative kids’ programmes. This high-quality series allows us to sharpen our profile as a relevant provider and marketer of content on the international stage.”

The international distribution of children’s productions is a growing business segment for WDRmg. Last year, the commercial subsidiary of WDR announced a partnership with the Irish production company Kavaleer to develop the children’s detective series “Dougie Noir”. An animated series adaptation of the children’s book classic “Bobo“ (worldwide distribution), “Gigglebug“ (worldwide distribution) as well as the youth adventure series “Arman’s Secret“ (GAS distribution) have already been produced and are now available.

“WildWoods” is supported by some production funding from Northern Ireland Screen.

Press release: WDR mediagroup and Sixteen South take an adventure into the “WildWoods” (PDF)Image: "WildWoods" 1 (PNG)Image: "WildWoods" 2 (PNG)

On the way to new heights: WDR mediagroup sends “Q Pootle 5” into international commercial orbit / New products set to launch at Nuremberg Toy Fair 2017

Copyright: NICI

“Q Pootle 5” travels at full throttle, and not just aboard his spaceship! The hero of the outer-space animation series of the same name, and his band of alien friends, are about to take off in international commerce as well. WDR mediagroup (WDRmg), the licensing agency that holds the rights to commercial exploitation of the original children’s format in the GAS region, has cleared the way for a broad range of new merchandising products. At the Toy Fair in Nuremberg (1-6 February 2017), for the first time, renowned manufacturers NICI and Bullyland will be presenting “Q Pootle 5” plushes, toy figures and sets, cups and much more. After the fair, the products are set to launch at retail across Europe and, in some cases, in Australia, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Toy manufacturer Bullyland has created a range of toy figures and keychains as well as gift and play sets that will be available in Europe and beyond, in Australia and Africa.

The extensive “Q Pootle 5” range by plush manufacturer NICI comprises not only stuffed animals and pillows in different sizes but also pencil cases, purses and all the gear required for an intergalactic menu (lunchboxes, drinking bottles, cups). International test sales of these items are initially planned in Asia and Latin America.

Julia Wurzer, Head of Brands at WDRmg, said: “’Q Pootle 5′ is all about adventure and friendship. The programme alternates action-packed space scenes with quiet moments in which the focus is upon the lovingly crafted characters. This combination makes the series popular with children around the world and boosts demand for the brand in the licensing market.”

Ben Butterworth, Snapper Productions, added: “We are over the moon at the reception ‘Q Pootle 5’ and his pals have received in Germany and around the world. We know that fans of the series have been eagerly awaiting the chance to get their hands on new products and we are extremely pleased with the quality of the toys and other merchandise that has been created by NICI and Bullyland.”

“Q Pootle 5” is produced in the UK by Snapper Productions and is based on the best-selling books by children’s author and illustrator Nick Butterworth. The series has so far been sold to more than 70 countries worldwide. In Germany, where it airs on KiKA, the programme has garnered a market share of 54.5 percent in the target group of 3- to 5-year-olds (source: AGF/GfK 2015).

Visitors to the Nuremberg Toy Fair will find the “Q Pootle 5” products by Bullyland in Hall 5/C-30 and by NICI in Hall 1/E-05, F-04.

Press release: WDR mediagroup sends “Q Pootle 5” into international commercial orbit (PDF)Images: "Q Pootle 5" products (ZIP, 33 MB)
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"Gigglebug" comes to Channel 5's "Milkshake!"

Copyright: Gigglebug Entertainment The British broadcaster is betting on Gigglebug’s international popularity in the online world and will stream the episodes of the series on Milkshake!’s first ever YouTube channel as well as on the block’s website,

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Reality and Comedy: New orginal WDR-formats on the market

Copyright: WDR Content buyers from all over the world can now purchase the rights to produce international adaptations or remakes of the brand new reality formats "My Garden on a Plate" (pictured) and "Made with Love" as well as the fictional comedy series "Suck it up!".

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"Little Sandman" added to sales catalogue

Copyright: Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) The German cult programme as well as four additional children's formats that deal with dreaming and going to sleep are now available for international TV broadcasting, DVD publication and video on demand exploitation.

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"Shaun the Sheep": New licensed products for pet accessories

Copyrights: Trixie Heimtierbedarf Trixie, the European market leader for pet supplies, will expand its popular range of "Shaun the Sheep" accessoires. Pet-owners can look forward to new plush squeak toys and cosy dog comforters.

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“WildWoods”: broadcasting rights available now

Copyright: Sixteen South The new live action series by Irish production studio Sixteen South will be filmed in summer 2017. It features puppets in beautiful outdoor locations and aims to encourage children to appreciate nature.

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Kavaleer and WDRmg team up for "Dougie Noir"

Copyright: Kavaleer, WDRmg 2016 Kavaleer Productions and WDR mediagroup will collaborate on a new 52 x 11 action-comedy series for 6-11 year olds, "Dougie Noir". The (estimated) €4.5m series is scheduled to begin pre-production Summer 2017.

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On the way to new heights in international commercial orbit

Copyright: NICI Q Pootle 5 travels at full throttle, and not just aboard his spaceship! Renowned toy manufacturers NICI and Bullyland will launch a range of new merchandising products at retail stores across Europe and beyond.

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