French TV Group Newen Plans English-Language Push, Hires Former BBC Studios Exec for U.K. and North America Sales

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Newen Connect, the distribution arm of French broadcaster TF1-controlled TV company Newen Group (Versailles), has hired former Mercury Studios and BBC Studios executive Phil Sequeira to head up its burgeoning sales operations across the U.K. and North America as senior vp, distribution amid a planned push by the firm into English-language content.

“The appointment underpins Newen’s growth ambitions, which sees the European distributor place a dedicated focus in English-language markets,” the company said Monday.

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Reporting to Newen Connect’s executive vp distribution, Leona Connell, Sequeira will be responsible for “designing and implementing sales strategies for the U.K. and North America to help drive sales of new titles, as well as Newen Connect’s current cross-genre catalogue of over 6,000 hours.” He will also “explore and manage co-production opportunities” with broadcasters and platforms and “look for further growth opportunities with existing and new market entrants.”

Connell said: “While there has never been a better time to sell European content to the English-speaking market, we also recognize that English-language content has broad international appeal, so it is only natural that this should be the focus of the next stage of Newen Connect’s ambitious growth plans. Phil’s wide-ranging experience and his track record in delivering sales and co-productions within the U.K. and North America make him the perfect candidate to take on this important role.”

Added Sequeira: “The breadth and quality of existing programming in the catalogue, as well as our exciting slate of upcoming European and English-language productions, put Newen Connect in a tremendous position to fulfill the needs of so many broadcasters and platforms.”

Sequeira was previously senior vp sales, distribution and marketing at Mercury Studios where he “spearheaded the music production company’s global sales, marketing and distribution strategies across all territories, media and platforms,” Newen said. “Before that, he was vp of scripted sales and co-productions for BBC Studios, based in New York and Los Angeles, closing major deals with the likes of Amazon Prime for Steve McQueen’s award-winning anthology series Small Axe and Stephen Merchant’s The Outlaws; AMC for the Ben Whishaw-helmed dramedy This Is Going to Hurt, as well as HBO, Netflix, Disney+ and Showtime.”

He has also held sales executive roles at ITV Studios Global Entertainment and BBC Worldwide looking after Western European territories, including Benelux, the Nordics and German-speaking markets.

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