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September 20, 2020 |

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Beyond Rights names acquisitions & sales chiefs, as TCB’s originals strategy pulled

Jimmy Humphrey & Simona Argenti

Jimmy Humphrey & Simona Argenti

Australia- and UK-based distributor Beyond Rights has appointed sales and acquisitions chiefs for its restructured operations following the acquisition of TCB Media Rights, with the latter’s in-house commissioning operation among areas affected.

Jimmy Humphrey will become Beyond Rights’ head of acquisitions and co-productions, while Simona Argenti has been confirmed as head of sales. Both execs held the same positions at TCB Media Rights, which was acquired by Beyond International earlier this year following the collapse of Kew Media Group.

The duo report into TCB’s former MD Kate Llewellyn-Jones, who in July took the newly created role of CEO at Beyond Rights. The sales division was created by the combination of Beyond Distribution and TCB, incorporating teams in London, Ireland and Sydney.

Llewellyn-Jones said the execs would help “demonstrate to the international marketplace what an exciting and spirited business we now have. I firmly believe that our independence, financial stability and healthy mid-size scale, coupled with innovative approaches, flexibility and an enviable content pipeline, will create enduring partnerships with buyers and producers and mark us out as ‘one to watch’ in the evolving distribution industry.”

Hannah Demidowicz

TCB’s commissioning closure

The restructure will also see seven London-based employees leaving the enlarged company. TBI understands that among them will be Hannah Demidowicz, the former BBC Studios exec who was appointed by TCB in 2018 to become commissioning editor, in what was a first for a factual distribution business at the time.

The respected exec, who also previously worked for National Geographic Channels International, drove TCB’s commissioning operation which saw it financing programming for its own catalogue. Earlier this year, the Paul Heaney-founded company greenlit two more original factual titlesIce Machines and Hitler’s Supercars – as part of that strategy.

Beyond is not moving forward with that side of TCB’s business, TBI has learned, but will continue to invest in programming via co-productions and pre-sale deals.

Llewellyn Jones said: “At the time of my appointment, it was confirmed that Beyond would be unlikely to continue with the original commissioning process that had been instigated by TCB Media Rights. It was a bold and innovative move for TCB to commission content directly and Paul and his team are to be lauded for the initiative. However, funding shows in this way can prove challenging and was not something that Beyond felt able to pursue.

“As the commissioning function is no longer a formal part of the Beyond business, Beyond Right’s (formerly TCB’s) commissioning editor, Hannah Demidowicz, has left the business.

“Hannah is an extremely talented, highly regarded and very popular senior colleague and we would have dearly loved to have retained her in some way. But with limited opportunity for her to use the skills she has acquired it was mutually agreed for her to leave so that she could find a role more commensurate with her experience. If her experience leads her back to the Beyond Group in the future, we will be very lucky to have her.”

Anne-Marie Pardoe

Other departures

TBI understands that other redundancies are affecting mostly sales roles, with departures including Beyond’s long-standing head of sales Munia Kanna-Konsek. She joined the company in as a post-production manager in 1993 and rose to become VP of sales across Asia, before taking up her most recent role.

Anne-Marie Pardoe, Beyond’s SVP of sales for German-speaking Europe, Scandinavia & Iberia, is also understood to be leaving, having joined the company from Disney Media Distribution in 2019 to replace Sam Partner, while Beyond’s VP of Western Europe Marzenna Czubowicz is also departing.

Czubowicz joined Beyond in 2004 having worked at BBC Worldwide (now known as BBC Studios) and was based out of London, overseeing sales for the Aussie company across Europe.

Beyond said its global sales operations would “ultimately comprise” a team of 25 people, with offices in London, Sydney and Dublin.

Beyond’s acquisition of TCB – which was opposed by its founder Paul Heaney – has seen the company’s catalogue expand to more than 7,500 hours covering unscripted, drama and documentaries, as well as feature films, children’s programmes and formats. Key titles in include Love It Or List It, Mythbusters, Abandoned Engineering, Underground Worlds and Border Patrol.

Heaney and the UK-based distributor’s exec director Dina Subhani left the company this summer, following its acquisition by Beyond.

In July, Beyond continued its expansion by striking a deal to acquire Seven Studios UK (SSUK) from Seven West Media (SWM). Beyond has also acquired the remaining 50.98% of shares in LA-based 7Beyond Media Rights (7Beyond) that it did not previously own from Seven Network.

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