BBC Studios & ZDF Strike Partnership to Develop, Co-Produce Content


BBC Studios and Germany’s ZDF have entered into a strategic partnership to develop and co-produce content across scripted and factual genres.

The long-term pact will see the two organizations co-develop scripted series and co-produce landmark factual shows. The partnership is meant to benefit audiences in both the U.K. and Germany with a bolstered pipeline of top-quality TV programming.

BBC Studios and ZDF have already partnered on a new drama, The Mallorca Files, from Cosmopolitan Pictures/Clerkenwell Films, which is currently in production.

As part of this deal, ZDF will have an exclusive first look in Germany at co-producing all titles from BBC Studios Natural History Unit. ZDF will also have the first option on BBC Studios’ factual catalog, including science, history, documentaries and natural-history programming.

“Producing ambitious, high-quality TV content is all about partnerships,” said Paul Dempsey, president of global markets at BBC Studios. “So this strategic deal, bringing two of the leaders of European public service broadcasting closer together, is a hugely important and exciting opportunity. Global hits like Planet Earth II wouldn’t have been possible without international partners like ZDF, which came on board early as a co-producer. ZDF has been Germany’s key investor in our content over the last few years and is the ideal partner, sharing the same editorial values.”

Norbert Himmler, chief content officer at ZDF, commented: “ZDF and the BBC are united by the aspiration to offer the highest quality programs across all genres. The new substantial agreement consolidates the traditional and successful cooperation between the two broadcasters and strengthens our position against increasingly fierce competition—especially in times of limited financial resources.”

Philipp Schmid, managing director of BBC Studios Germany, added: “Since BBC Studios merged last year as a fully integrated production and distribution business, partnerships like this allow us to work even closer in developing and co-producing content with a strategic partner like ZDF. This allows us to significantly broaden our creative and commercial activities in the German market with ZDF, while the depth and variety of our programming will continue to provide wide-ranging opportunities to our other partners in the territory.”