In a press release issued today, The Weinstein Company announced that it has entered into a unique first look development deal for film and television projects with the media and publishing giant Gannett Company Inc.. The terms of this deal are such that TWC gains total access to the Gannett portfolio, which includes USA Today, USA Weekend and Newsquest, as well as a host of local website and television stations.
Gannett and TWC will hire a development executive who will oversee a slate of both scripted and unscripted projects. TWC will distribute all content that is generated via the joint venture
Maryam Banikarim, Gannett Senior Vice President, commented: “The Weinstein Company has been turning local stories into national conversations to critical acclaim for years. Gannett is thrilled to share the great content from our award-winning editorial teams and work with The Weinstein Company to develop these stories into what could be the next blockbuster.”
According to TWC President of Television Meryl Poster, the deal provides them with access to more local content, which, she notes, is “where powerful and compelling stories often begin.”
“We’re looking forward to exploring the rich local and national landscape covered by Gannett news organizations across the country and finding those untold stories and relatable characters,” she said.
Although the press release implies that the deal is “unprecedented,” the monopoly it creates over local content is comparable to what Condé Nast is trying to do with its entertainment group. While optioning off the rights to the content generated within its network is lucrative for both Gannett and TWC, the original producers of that content are inconsequential, left completely out of the equation.