The studio international networks division, led by CEO David Lynn, nabbed the majority stake in the Israeli media player it didn't already own.
ViacomCBS Networks International, a unit of the Hollywood studio, on Monday said it has acquired 100 percent control of Ananey Communications Group, an Israeli pay TV channel provider and content producer.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but ViacomCBS acquired a controlling stake in Ananey after, in December 2017, first picking up a minority stake. Besides producing content for its own and VCNI's channels in Israel, Ananey also produces the hit teen drama Greenhouse Academy for Netflix.
Ananey has also long licensed or represented Viacom's global brands for Israel, including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., including after the merger with CBS to create ViacomCBS.
Ananey's founder and chairman Udi Miron takes on a new role as special advisor to Ananey and becomes a general partner of a newly formed venture capital fund, Gazella — New Media Experience, that he and VCNI will jointly invest in. The fund will focus its investment in Israeli media and technology businesses.
As Ananey is consolidated into VCNI, CEO Orly Atlas-Katz will report to Maria Kyriacou, president of VCNI's operations across Australia, Israel and the U.K.
"Ananey is a well-established and successful producer of local and global content and it is a strong fit with the rest of our international networks and studios business," David Lynn, president and CEO of VCNI, said in a statement on the rationale for the deal.
Lynn oversees Viacom's media networks and related businesses outside the U.S., and reports to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, a former CEO of VIMN.
CBS is launching a month-long sequence of Sunday movie nights in May, featuring five contemporary classic movies to keep viewers entertained while they stay indoors. The network announced that the weekly programing event will kick off on May 3 and will feature two “Indiana Jones” films, “Forrest Gump,” the first “Mission: Impossible,” and “Titanic.” The titles all hail from Paramount Pictures' library, which is also part of the ViacomCBS family.
“It's a five-week programming event with epic films, iconic stars and brilliant stories that viewers love...and love to watch together,” Noriko Kelley, an executive vice president at CBS Entertainment, said in a statement.
As for newer projects, CBS made headlines yesterday when the company announced that it would air a special pandemic episode of “All Rise.” The Simone Missick-led legal drama's upcoming episode will be shot using various social media platforms and online technologies and the production will abide by social distancing guidelines.
ViacomCBS is one of numerous entertainment companies that have been broadly impacted by current events and are starting to experiment with different forms and schedules for their offerings. The company has halted production on shows ranging from “The Amazing Race” to “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and other companies and studios have followed suit for their own projects. CBS' May film programming will replace the original episodes of “Love Island” that were scheduled for May 24 and May 31; the status of the reality series is up in the air to the ongoing pandemic.
CBS previously ran a “CBS Sunday Movie” franchise that ended in the 2004-2005 television season.
IndieWire is keeping track of all film and television industry-related events and projects that have been impacted by the pandemic. IndieWire is also documenting all of the positive news to come out of the outbreak and also has a list of resources available to entertainment industry workers in need of aid.
The schedule for CBS' upcoming May Sunday movie night programming is as follows:
May 3: “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 10: “Forrest Gump” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 17: “Mission: Impossible” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 24: “Titanic” 7-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 31: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT