Left Bank and Stellify owner takes minority stake in David Coulthard’s outfit
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has secured a minority stake in sports and entertainment producer The Whisper Group, as the indie officially ends its relationship with the C4 Indie Growth Fund.
Reports emerged in December that Sony was considering taking a stake in the indie run by David Coulthard, Jake Humphrey and Sunil Patel.
The Whisper Group is comprised of sports and non-scripted production company Whisper, Chapter 3 Graphics and East Media.
Sony immediately takes a minority stake in the growing indie, which recently retained Formula One coverage for Channel 4 and has several upcoming productions for 2020 that are yet to be announced. It has also secured sports commissions that include NFL, Paralympics, F1, SailGP, Women’s Super League, International Cricket and W Series coverage.
The investment is in keeping with SPT’s wider strategy of diversifying the group’s production portfolio, which has included the launch of pop-culture-focused creative label Human Media in 2018, and further broadened into children’s programming with the acquisition of Silvergate Media in December 2019.
Whisper co-founder and chief executive Patel said the company is keen to grow internationally and develop formats that could build up its catalogue of IP.
“Sport is at our heart and we’ll remain committed to immersive sports broadcasting, however, we have other ambitions which this move can help us to realise,” added Patel.
Garvie said: “Whisper has become one of the most talked about production companies in the UK. Very quickly, they have established themselves as an innovative leader in sports content.”
Co-founder Coulthard said the significant agreement marks a new stage in Whisper’s growth.
“Our award-winning sports coverage attracted SPT to us in the first place and its expertise can directly help us progress into new areas,” he added.
The move brings an end to C4’s Indie Growth Fund involvement with Whisper. In 2015, the fund took a minority stake in the burgeoning company, which proved to be a springboard for the then-fledgling outfit.
“We would never be where we are today without the trust and belief that was placed in us by C4,” added Patel.
This article first appeared on Broadcast. Words by Joanna Tilley