Zodiak, Endemol Alums Launch New Pan-European Content Creator


Gaspard de Chavagnac and Marina Williams have teamed up to launch Asacha Media Group, a newly formed European content creation group backed by private-equity firm Oaktree.

Headquartered in Paris, Asacha Media Group will primarily focus on serving the growth in demand for non-English-language scripted content from streaming platforms and European broadcasters. In addition to developing, packaging and producing scripted series and movies, the company will produce reality shows, kids’ entertainment, factual programming and documentaries.

As a first move, Asacha Media Group has acquired a majority stake in Italian production houses Picomedia and Stand By Me and French production company Mintee Studio, and discussions are currently underway for further acquisitions in other key European markets.

De Chavagnac and Williams will lead the group as co-CEOs, and Marc-Antoine d’Halluin will be vice chairman of the supervisory board. De Chavagnac has held numerous senior positions in the industry, including CEO of Zodiak Media Group France from 2014 to 2017, and managing director of Fremantle France from 2004 to 2007. Williams was COO of international operations at Endemol Shine Group from 2015 to 2019. Prior to the merger with Shine Group, Williams joined Endemol in 2008 as CEO of Central and Eastern European operations, adding the MENA region to her remit in 2013. She was previously executive VP and a member of the management board of Central European Media Enterprises (CME). D’Halluin is currently CEO of MBC Group in the Middle East and formerly CEO of Zodiak Media Group.

Picomedia, founded and led by Italian former CEO of FremantleMedia Italy Roberto Sessa, is known for producing high-end scripted series as well as theatrical feature films. In addition to his continuing leadership of Picomedia, Sessa will now join Asacha Media Group’s supervisory board.

Stand By Me, founded by Italian screenwriter, director and TV producer Simona Ercolani, is behind a slate of factual titles, reality series, kids’ programming and documentaries. Ercolani will now serve as group chief creative officer for entertainment, factual and kids for Asacha Media Group, while continuing to lead Stand By Me as CEO and creative director. Stand By Me stakeholders Francesco Nespega and Giuliano Tranquilli will also become shareholders of Asacha Media Group, along with Ercolani.

Mintee Studio is a scripted producer, founded and led by de Chavagnac alongside Jacques Salles and Floriane Cortes.

All founding partners and acquired production companies’ founders are also investing in Asacha Media Group along with Oaktree.

De Chavagnac commented: “Asacha Media Group’s aim is to become an international leader in content creation and production with the financial support and business development expertise of Oaktree. We are launching with three first-rate companies that have proven track records and exceptional talent, and we have the resources to quickly expand our international footprint.”

Williams added: “Asacha Media Group is building a powerful cross-border partnership of closely aligned talent, who will each share a stake in the overall business. This model provides us with the expertise and geographical reach needed to deliver world class content to a diversity of international platforms with wide-ranging budgets.”

Vincent Catherine and Hugo D’Avout, managing directors at Oaktree, commented: “We are extremely proud to support Asacha Media Group and are committed to the strategy and vision of the business. During these challenging times, we have been impressed by the skills and experience of Asacha’s founding partners as well as the talent leading Picomedia, Stand by Me and Mintee Studio, all of whom have exceptional track records in content creation and production. Given the strength of its expertise in the market, Asacha Media Group is well-positioned to meet the ever-growing demand for premium content in the European market.”