ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) has acquired Israeli producer and pay-TV channel provider Ananey Communications Group to grow its position in the region.
The media conglom purchased a minority stake in the company in December 2016, and the latest purchase gives it the remaining shares.
Ananey is the studio behind popular tween-skewing live-action series Greenhouse Academy (pictured), and will now be consolidated into VCNI, with its CEO Orly Atlas-Katz reporting to Maria Kyriacou, VCNI’s president of Australia, UK and Israel. Ananey’s founder and chairman, Udi Miron, will stay on in a new special advisor role, and will also act as partner on the newly formed, jointly funded venture capital fund The Gazella–New Media Experience. VCNI and Miron will both invest in the fund, which is focused on growing Israeli media and tech-related businesses.
VCNI acquired Ananey to tap into its catalogue and production expertise, and to have access to its new and existing content for the mediaco’s international TV networks and streaming services, according to a statement from VCNI.
Ananey is long-time partner of VCNI in Israel, owning and operating six local pay-TV channels, as well as managing VCNI’s local channels Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon. As a producer, Ananey has been vying for a greater international presence in recent years, and has been building up its slate with the aim of reaching audiences worldwide. Its flagship series Greenhouse Academy was based on a Hebrew-language series that ran for four seasons exclusively on Nick Israel, and in 2013 Nick UK picked up an English-dubbed version of it. Most recently, Netflix commissioned Ananey-owned studio Nutz Productions to remake the series for an international audience, and in 2018 the global SVOD ordered a third and fourth season of the show.
The company has also been growing its slate rapidly, lining up the tween drama Rising (50 x 22 minutes), which is set to air on Teen Nick (Israel). It’s other tween-skewing series The Hood (150 x 22 minutes) and Spell Keepers (150 x 22 minutes), also air on Teen Nick.
The studio also produces live-action shows for kids and preschoolers, and one of its more popular series is the unscripted children’s show Craft Party, which CBBC commissioned a UK version of to be made by London-based Keshet Productions.
Ananey’s new series Sky (40 x 22 minutes) comes from Greenhouse Academy creator Giora Chamizer, and is a tween drama debuting on Teen Nick about an alien who crash-lands on earth and has to avoid detection, while pretending to be the most popular (and meanest) girl in school.