Sky Studios acquires stake in UK based natural history producer True to Nature

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Sky Studios acquires stake in UK based natural history producer True to Nature

Sky Studios today announced its acquisition of a 24.9% stake in True to Nature (TTN), one of the UK’s fastest growing producers of high-end natural history programmes.

Bristol-based TTN was founded in 2016 by former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, Dr Wendy Darke. Despite only being three years old, TTN is already delivering a number of premium factual series this year, including EXPEDITION with Steve Backshall, a 10-part series currently airing on Dave (UKTV), as well as Undiscovered Worlds with Steve Backshall on the BBC. Other productions this year include Planet of Volcanoes on PBS, ZDF and ARTE as well as a five-part series, Gangs of Lemur Island for Love Nature and the Smithsonian Channel.

Following completion of the deal, Wendy’s highly recognised editorial and production team will be further strengthened and expanded, enabling TTN to tell even more of nature’s most compelling stories.

The investment is the first to be made by Sky Studios, Sky’s new Europe-wide development and production capability. With the backing of new owners Comcast, Sky’s investment in original content will more than double over the next five years across a range of genres.

Gary Davey, CEO, Sky Studios, said: “The content coming out of True to Nature has blown us away. Viewers have never been more interested in the natural world than they are today and all of us at Sky Studios can’t wait to work with Wendy and the team to see what we can create together."

Wendy Darke, Founder & CEO, True to Nature, said: "At True to Nature, the natural world is at the heart of everything we do. We want to use storytelling to build lifelong relationships between viewers and the natural world. Our new and exciting creative partnership with Sky Studios feels like the natural next step to continue to realise our ambitions for True To Nature and we’re looking forward to making our dreams, reality.

Sky Studios will provide TTN with the support needed to accelerate its growth and become a leading international developer of wildlife shows. Whilst retaining full creative independence, TTN will also work closely with Sky Studios to develop content for distribution on the Sky platforms.

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About Sky

With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 31,000 employees help connect our customers with the very best of Sports, News, the arts and to our own local, original content. Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, Patrick Melrose, Das Boot and Gommorah we launched Sky Studios and now plan to more than double our investment in original drama and comedy over the next five years.

Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, it is our responsibility to do it safely – that’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

We also believe that a company of our scale has a responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community. Our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign has reached millions across Europe, we’re on track to be free of single-use plastic by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re a proud employer – recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our approach to inclusivity.

About TRUE TO NATURE Limited: General:

TRUE TO NATURE is a Bristol-based Independent Production Company founded by Dr Wendy Darke, former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit in June 2016. We specialise in innovative, world-class natural history content and TV production using great story telling to build lifelong relationships between people and the natural world. At TRUE TO NATURE we have a culture where talented people are valued, supported and trusted to collaborate and do their best work. We encourage, grow and develop high-performing teams to take creative risks, resulting in ground-breaking new formats and innovative production techniques. We pride ourselves on building longstanding relationships with our commissioners and stakeholders, to ensure that together we deliver outstanding never-seen content and stories with the highest factual integrity and production values for all audiences in the UK and worldwide. The natural world is at the heart of what we do, and we are passionate about being a voice for nature.

TTN Productions to date:

  • EXPEDITION WITH STEVE BACKSHALL: 10 x 60’ series: UKTV Dave Original series with 4 x 60’ UNDISCOVERED WORLDS WITH STEVE BACKSHALL premiering on BBC Two in 2019. Distributed by Fremantle and co-produced with France 5.
  • LIVING VOLCANO, 1 x 60 on PBS Nature, PLANET OF VOLCANOES, 1 x 60, on ZDF and ARTE and Distributed by ZDF Enterprises in 2019.
  • GANGS OF LEMUR ISLAND, 5 x 60’ series, BAM – LOVE NATURE with Smithsonian Channel and co-produced by Arte and distributed by Blue Ant Media in 2019.
  • SHARK BITES with Steve Backshall: 20 x 3’ for CBBC premiering in 2017.

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