US cable broadcaster AMC is set to become the majority shareholder in Agatha Christie Limited after striking a deal to acquire Video on Demand firm RLJ Entertainment, Inc.
The company owns Acorn TV, the VoD service which brings US audiences a library of British dramas, as well as UMC, the first subscription video-on-demand service created for African American and urban audiences. The services have a combined subscriber base of 800,000.
RLJ Entertainment, which was founded by Robert L. Johnson, is also the majority shareholder in Agatha Christie Limited, owner of the author’s intellectual property and brand.
Today’s deal gives AMC control of one of the most enduringly popular catalogues of British literature which has been adapted for the stage, television and cinema, including most recently Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express.
Amazon recently agreed a multi-show deal with Agatha Christie Productions for seven dramas based on the author’s works.
Josh Sapan, President and CEO of AMC Networks said: “Bob Johnson is a legend for good reasons that we are the beneficiaries of.
“His management team is extraordinary, having successfully transitioned Acorn TV from a home video and DVD business to a leading direct-to-consumer subscription service, and growing both Acorn TV and UMC in a competitive environment, by offering excellent, sought-after content and creating strong brands.
“In addition, RLJ Entertainment’s majority stake in the Agatha Christie library—a content brand which remains one of the most popular and venerable—provides AMC Networks with valuable IP opportunities.”