Guardian and Sony ink ‘first-look’ content rights deal

Guardian and Sony ink ‘first-look’ content rights deal

Guardian Media Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment have agreed an exclusive first look agreement.

The three-year deal will allow Sony to have first rights to developing materials from The Guardian‘s 200-year archive of articles, blogs, columns, videos and podcasts, as well as current and developing news stories, into films, TVs and documentaries.

This will be through its TV and film production divisions including companies like Left Bank Pictures, Bad Wolf, Eleven, The Whisper Group, 3000 Pictures, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Screen Gems.

The Guardian will launch this Sony partnership with three option deals, meaning they have exclusive options to buy the rights in a writers’ work.

The deal was brokered by agency group Curtis Brown and will be handled by an executive team appointed by the two companies.

Analysis: diversifying content and revenue?

What does this partnership mean for other companies in the business of making content?

James Fleetham, The Guardian’s director of clients, marketing, and research, told The Media Leader the deal shows how journalism can be adapted to other content and publishers are needing to diversify their revenues.

Some other examples of this include newsletters, podcasts and social which can reach new audiences.

The publisher has been signing deals with the BBC, Netflix and Sky with “a slate of other projects” in development in the UK and US.

Elizabeth Gabler, president at 3000 Pictures, said: “The scope for this collaboration across feature film as well as television really speaks to the huge breadth of potential and reach of this deal. The Guardian has an esteemed history of great journalism, and with Colette and Black Sheep they have garnered huge acclaim for their documentary feature output. We are proud they want to work with Sony Pictures as they continue to move into this space, and we can’t wait to start developing projects with them.”

At the moment this deal is just for film, TV and documentaries, but Sony Music Entertainment has also been making moves into the audio space in the form of podcasts, recently acquiring How To Fail with Elizabeth Day which will be joining its network in January 2024.

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