• Acquisition of majority stake in one of the UK’s leading independent production companies, True North
  • Investment in exciting drama production company, Chrysalis Vision
  • Continuation of Sky’s long-term strategy to build a global production and distribution capability

Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company, has continued the growth of its international production and distribution business with the acquisition of a majority stake in one of the UK’s leading independent production companies, True North, and an investment in the exciting UK-based television drama production company from Chris Wright and Mick Pilsworth, Chrysalis Vision.

Over the last three years, Sky has expanded its production capabilities, under the Sky Vision banner, with a series of investments in select strategic partners, to sit alongside its wholly-owned production business Sky Vision Productions.

At the same time, Sky Vision has grown its international distribution business, distributing the highest quality content globally, becoming the distribution partner for a series of successful Sky Originals, for Sky’s acquired production companies, and third-party producers.

True North

True North, which was founded in 2001 and is run by the highly respected factual producers Jess Fowle and Andrew Sheldon, comes with an impressive track record, and is the biggest factual indie in the North of England. The company, which was previously backed by Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund, is headquartered in Leeds with a second base in Manchester, and is responsible for a number of hit series, including A New Life in the Sun, Teen Mom UK, Building the Dream, Homes by the Sea, Junior Vets on Call, The Lie Detective and Breaking the Silence Live.

Working across a number of genres including factual, features, children’s and reality, True North is responsible for some of the most enduring factual shows in recent times with many of its brands running to multiple seasons and selling across the world. Most recently, it has focused on developing popular factual entertainment shows and formats.

True North will continue to grow their bases in Leeds and Manchester and remain committed to developing a strong production business in the north of England. As Sky becomes the majority shareholder, Channel 4 exits its investment entirely.

Chrysalis Vision

Sky has also invested in UK-based television drama production company, Chrysalis Vision, which was founded by experienced media executives Chris Wright CBE, Mick Pilsworth, Roger Parry CBE and Luke Johnson, who have a strong track record in producing long-running drama series.

Led by Mick Pilsworth (CEO), the Chrysalis Vision team includes Sue Gibbs as Creative Director and Clova McCallum as Development Executive, and has a substantial, wide-ranging slate in development.

Jane Millichip, Managing Director at Sky Vision, said: “We’re excited to be investing in True North. Jess and Andrew have a fantastic reputation for creating and delivering high quality returnable series. We’re also delighted to be working with Mick and Chris, who have a great track record in building successful, creative businesses, and the whole team at Chrysalis Vision which will bolster our drama ambitions. ”

Andrew Sheldon and Jess Fowle, Creative Directors and Founders of True North said: “We’re delighted to be working with Sky, one of the most exciting and ambitious brands in the global TV industry, to help us achieve our international ambitions. Our previous investment partners Channel 4 were always going to be a hard act to follow. But Jane and her team showed an instinctive understanding and respect, not just for our content but for our culture too, and that proved irresistible.”

Chris Wright CBE, Chairman of Chrysalis Vision, said: “I am delighted to welcome Sky as a shareholder in the business and we all look forward to working with Sky’s Content team, and with Sky Vision, to develop, produce and distribute long-running prime-time television drama series with worldwide appeal and long-term value. This new arrangement gives our team the resources and contacts to take the business forward.”

As part of the agreements, Sky Vision will become the commercial and distribution partner for content, worldwide, for both True North and Chrysalis Vision, with the companies benefitting from the expertise of Sky Vision’s international sales teams. Existing terms with other broadcasters and distributors remain unchanged.