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DRG hires Sky Vision, Zodiak sales execs

Nice Entertainment Group distributor DRG has brought on sales executives from Sky Vision and Zodiak Rights following an uptick in turnover.

Richard HalliwellAmity Easter Utley is exiting Sky-owned sales company Sky Vision to take on distribution responsibilities for DRG in Spain and Portugal, while Jo Halstead is leaving Banijay Group’s Zodiak to oversee Japan, Southeast Asia, Denmark and in-flight.

DRG, which is part of Modern Times Group-owned European producer Nice, said the hires came on the back of a 25% increase in turnover between April 2015 and April 2016. They also follow a series of first-look deals struck throughout this year.

“We have had a terrific 12-18 months and with everything firmly in place for this growth to continue, the time is now right for us to begin to expand and develop our sales team to ensure that we have the right people, in the right roles, to properly service all of our clients – be they producers, broadcasters, global OTT platforms or non-theatric businesses such as airlines,” said DRG managing director Richard Halliwell (pictured).

Nice had been made available for sale earlier this year, though no deal has materialised nor looks likely at this stage. Its parent, MTG, has restructured significantly to focus on digital opportunities, and last month posted solid revenues of 13 billion (US$458.56 million) on operating profit of SEK162 million.

Halliwell said DRG was planning for “ongoing expansion through 2017”, adding: “As buyer demands shift, we need to respond by evolving a sales team has the right mix of local and global expertise, plus platform and genre expertise, in order to maximise returns from the range of programming we have delivering throughout next year and beyond.”

Some 95% of DRG catalogue comes from indies, which Easter Utley and Halstead both said was a key factor in making the switch.

“For me, the primary appeal of DRG is its rather unique position and I look forward to working in a business which has operational and pipeline independence, yet the security that comes from being part of a major group,” said Easter Utley.