Former Nine Entertainment chief Hugh Marks plans to challenge some of Australia’s leading production companies as he searches for investors to help him set up a local film and television studio.
Industry sources familiar with the plans, who spoke anonymously as the project was in its early stages, said Mr Marks had been working with Carl Veneci, the former head of Endemol Shine Australia. The couple is looking for a third strategic investor to establish the company by next year.
Mr. Marks declined to comment.
Creating the studio would be Mr. Marks’ first major step since he exited Nine, the owner of this masthead, earlier this year. Marks resigned from the television, radio, live broadcast, and real estate company one year ago after going public with his relationship with former live reporter and NRL commercial director Alexei Becker.
Media sources familiar with the non-competition agreement said that he is prohibited from running a television company and online classified advertising business. However, he is not prohibited from running a film and television studio.
People familiar with the plans said Marks and Venety were trying to create a studio that would not only produce content but sell it to international markets in the same way as powerful Hollywood companies such as Disney. The pair will provide the infrastructure for production partners as well as the ability to sell formats to domestic and international markets.
The studio’s creation comes at a time when international companies such as Disney and ViacomCBS are restoring content and operating direct-to-consumer streaming services. The move put pressure on the local TV and live broadcast market, which previously relied on big production deals with Hollywood studios to deliver engaging content to viewers.
However, the plans are still in their early stages and there is no guarantee that they will move forward unless Mr. Marks and Mr. Veneti can secure a third local or international partner.