NBC Universal strikes Matchbox deal

NBC Universal has taken a majority stake in Australian production company Matchbox Pictures.

Matchbox was launched in 2008 by a quintet of Australian producers. It makes drama, docs, kids and feature film content. NBCU, now part of Comcast, will sell Matchbox content internationally.

However, it will not sell two of Matchbox’s big-ticket projects, the upcoming TV adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ novel The Slap and crime series The Straits. International rights to these lie with UK-based distributor DCD Rights under the terms of an agreement that pre-dates the NBC deal.

NBCU confirmed it has bought into Matchbox, noting that it was its first international investment in a producer outside of the UK.

It is the first international acquisition since Comcast absorbed NBCU earlier this year although Australian press reported that the deal has been in the works for ten months, meaning it would pre-date the departure of former NBCU international boss Pete Smith.

The reports added that the deal comes after Michael Edelstein, NBCU president of international TV production, had been in Australia, looking to recruit TV executives to set up an Australian production outpost.