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Sky Deutschland and ARD making original drama

German pay TV operator Sky Deutschland is teaming up with public broadcaster ARD to collaborate on a period crime drama series, Babylon Berlin, that will be aired on Sky ahead of its free-to-air broadcast.

Brian SullivanARD will reportedly contribute about €9 million (US$12.3 million) of the total €25 million budget for the eight or 10-part series, with Sky contributing €4 million and the balance to be financed by international sales, which will be handled by Munich-based Beta Film.

Babylon Berlin will be directed by German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Cloud Atlas) and produced by X Films, the Berlin-based outfit set up by Tykwer and production partner Stefan Arndt.

If the project goes ahead, the series, set in 1920s Berlin and based on detective novels of Volker Kutscher, will be the first step into local drama production by Sky Deutschland, whose 21st Century Fox sister companies BSkyB and Sky Italia have previously invested in some high-end drama productions.

At the recent ANGA COM conference in Cologne, Sky Deutschland CEO Brian Sullivan told attendees that his company would get involved in some “high-quality projects with partners” and spoke of the need for pay TV operators and local broadcasters to get involved in local production. Sullivan said that local content creation “can be something that supports pay TV as well as free-to-air”.