Newen Studios has tapped former Warner Bros. Discovery's Pierre Branco to lead the French company after Romain Bessi stepped down. Branco, previously country manager for WBD in France, Benelux, and Africa, will take on his new role at the TF1-owned company in April. Bessi, who has been in charge at Newen Studios for six years, will work with Belmer during the transition over the next few months. His next move is not yet known.
Rodolphe Belmer, chairman & CEO at TF1, will become chairman of Newen Studios as part of the reorganization. Branco left WBD last year after 18 months in his most recent role and more than 17 years with the company and its predecessors. He had previously been country manager for WarnerMedia in France, Benelux, the Middle East, and Africa and head of affiliates & ad sales for EMEA, and before that, led the MENA region for Turner.
Belmer said: "I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Romain Bessi for building a studio of European standing in a particularly tough competitive environment. The proliferation of content providers, the rise of streaming, and competition between global players are creating new opportunities for exacting and innovative production and distribution companies. So I am delighted to welcome Pierre Branco to lead a new phase in the development of Newen."
"During a brilliant career at one of the leading US studios, Pierre has acquired unrivaled knowledge of the global content, broadcasting, production, and distribution market. That experience, coupled with his business acumen and strategic capabilities, mean that Pierre is ideally prepared to meet Newen challenges, with the support of talented colleagues in France and internationally," Belmer added.
Newen Studios has been in expansive mode over recent years, most recently extending its activities in Germany by acquiring a majority stake in The Gryphon producer Dog Haus and consolidating its operations in the country under a new outfit named Spark Films. Spark Films is led by Martin Heisler and Eva Kemme, founders of Flare Film, which Newen acquired in 2021. It will become home to Newen's German operations, which now include Berlin- and Munich-based Dog Haus, launched in July 2021 by producer André Zoch, scriptwriter Erol Yesilkaya and director Sebastian Marka.
Newen is home to around 4,000 hours of content, from soaps, TV movies, cartoons, feature films, documentaries, and magazine shows. Its sales firm has a 12,000-hour sales catalog. The company owns over 50 production companies and labels across Spain, the UK, and France. It has most recently been focusing on expanding its interests in Spanish-language countries and, late last year, increased its stake in Kubik Films, the producer behind La Zona and Crematario, to a majority position. Newen also owns Izen Group, which it bought in 2021. Izen produces over 2,000 hours yearly, hosting labels including Zebra Producciones, BocaBoca, EuroTV Producciones, Hill Valley and Proima Zebrastur, IndaloYMedia, Capa Espana, and Newco.