Ex-Endemol, Sony execs launch new content company

Former Endemol and Sony executives Ed Louwerse and Julian Curtis have joined forces to launch a new distribution firm, Lineup Industries, TBI has learned.

The pair will run the international business from an Amsterdam base, specialising in distributing formats.

Louwerse was managing director and senior VP at Sony Pictures Television until last November. Curtis was also latterly at SPT, departing in May. Prior to their time at the studio and 2waytraffic, both of the distribution experts worked at Endemol.

The duo confirmed that they are launching the new business to TBI today. Louwerse said being independent will give Lineup an edge in an increasingly consolidated production and distribution sector.

“It is about who you can work with,” he said. “What’s unique that we can offer our studio and Endemol expertise from years in the industry, but can also be independent and work with anyone.

“We won’t need to put a show through an affiliated [production] entity, which means we can find the best partner for each project. We will work with the larger [production] companies, but will always find the ones that are best for that IP.”

At Sony, Louwerse oversaw international format sales and at Endemol was director of international sales. Curtis was responsible for EMEA and Asia Pacific format sales at SPT, having previously set up Endemol’s finished programming sales operation.

Curtis added that the pair, both of whom have more than 20 years’ experience in the business with large-scale content companies selling shows including Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Big Brother, had a level of deal-making experience that few indie distributors can match.

“We know about the levels of support a massive format needs and there is definitely a demand from the indie community for an independent distributor with the skills we have,” he said.

Curtis added: “A lot of independents are reassessing the distributors they work with and want they want. Because we are an independent start-up, we can also take on and fast-track edgier projects where appropriate.”

Lineup, which will be privately-owned, is set to announce several Dutch and international producers and content creators it will work with as it brings its first slate of shows to MIPCOM in October.

Making its market debut in Cannes, Lineup also be acquiring content as it seeks to build its catalogue. “It’s important that the same people will be buying and selling formats, we will be across deals at all of the stages,” Curtis says.