Night Train Media, the German production and investment group run by Herbert L. Kloiber has acquired Swedish distribution and sales group Eccho Rights from Korean media giant CJ ENM, Night Train announced Thursday.
Based in Stockholm, with offices in Istanbul, London, Madrid and Seoul, Eccho Rights is a leading player in the international scripted TV business and was one of the first companies to see the potential in non-English-language drama, particularly from Scandinavia, Turkey and South Korea. The group licenses some 17,000 hours of drama per year and operates direct-to-consumer digital channels that reach more than 10 million subscribers worldwide. Eccho Rights series include Viaplay’s Swedish hit Threesome, the Channel 5 drama Compulsion and South Korean film trilogy Midnight Thriller. The group is also the international distributor for Servant of the People, the Ukrainian comedy series that launched the real-life political career of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Seoul’s CJ ENM acquired a majority stake in Eccho Rights in 2018, a stake it has now sold to Night Train.
Eccho Rights will continue to operate as an independent entity within the Night Train Media Group, the companies said. Fredrik af Malmborg will stay on as CEO with a substantial shareholding in Eccho Rights. Kloiber will assume the role of Chairman of the Eccho Rights board. Handan Özkubat will continue as Director of Turkish Drama and digital operations, Adam Barth will stay as Eccho Right’s Director of Co-Production, Development and Acquisitions.
“We share the same vision for the future of TV production and distribution, and having the support of Night Train Media, Eccho Rights will strengthen its position as the go-to partner for creators looking to retain their independence in an ever-consolidated industry,” Fredrik af Malmborg said in a statement.
Eccho Rights’ Co-Founder, Nicola Söderlund, will retire after 20 years at the Eccho/Sparks Network.
“We are impressed by Eccho Rights’ growth, not only by its sales of popular drama series from across the globe, but also by its strategic vision,” Kloiber said in a statement.” Eccho’s key business areas are complementary and synergetic with NTM’s. Combining our strengths could not come at a better time, when even worldwide streamers are increasingly licensing content in selected territories.”
Night Train is backed by private equity company Serafin Group, and last year acquired a majority stake in Paul Heaney’s non-scripted distribution company, BossaNova. Night Train noted that alongside working with Eccho Rights, it will continue to co-finance with third-party distributors.