ViacomCBS said it completed the acquisition of a 49% stake in Miramax from beIN Media Group. beIN Media retains 51% ownership of Miramax, the award-winning studio whose business was disrupted as sexual harassment charges surfaced against founder Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was found guilty of rape charges in February and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Newly minted ViacomCBS is in talks to take a minority stake in the Miramax library, an asset that Viacom had previously kicked the tires on prior to its recent merger with CBS, insiders confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Miramax, the onetime indie film powerhouse founded by the Weinstein brothers, has laid off 20 employees in a second round of downsizing this year under a new chief executive. The Santa Monica film and television company cut executives in the sales and finance departments, as well as workers in support roles, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly.
It helped to develop all the new ways we watch TV — on-demand, bingeing, mobile. But the Silicon Valley company still has to keep reinventing itself.
Miramax is beefing up its TV operations with the hire of former Working Title Television head Daniel Pipski to oversee its TV series development and production in the newly created position of VP, television. He will report to Miramax EVP, production and development, Zanne Devine.
On the heels of a similar deal with Netflix, Hulu has partnered with Miramax to distribute hundreds of movies to both paying and non-paying consumers. Members of Hulu Plus, the video hub’s subscription service, will now have access to Miramax’s full film library, including Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Scream and Swingers. In addition, Hulu will offer select films via its central, ad-supported service.
Independent film studio Miramax is in licensing talks with Netflix and other video services — including Amazon, Hulu and Google — to distribute its 700-film library online. No agreement has been reached, however the terms for any deal would likely exceed $100 million.
The soon-to-be owners of Miramax are looking at a deal with Google Inc. to generate revenue from the independent film studio’s 700-film library. The deal talks are a signal that under former News Corp. executive Mike Lang, who is expected to become chief executive of Miramax once a sale to Ron Tutor and Colony Capital closes next month, Miramax will be looking to new digital distribution platforms to generate profits from its content.