Australia’s CJZ buys Greenstone TV, gaining grip on local reality programming

Australia's Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder has got a toe-hold on New Zealand's reality TV, buying Greenstone TV for an undisclosed sum.

The Australian television production firm, which was formed from the merger of Cordell Jigsaw and Zapruder last year, expects to complete the deal in the coming few weeks, it said in a statement. The acquisition aims to build a stronger platform in the trans-Tasman market, which CJZ says is dominated by European and US formats.

Greenstone's "creative output dovetails perfectly with the successful and original content we provide networks here in Australia and internationally," CJZ managing director Nick Murray said. "This deal gives a platform to build the CJZ group for the future."

The acquisition comes at a time when New Zealand's screen industry is coming under pressure to lift its incentives for big budget foreign film and television productions, and the government is looking at short-term measures to tide the sector over.

The acquisition comes after UK-based All3Media's takeover of South Pacific Pictures earlier this year, and follows in the footsteps of foreign ownership of Eyeworks Touchdown Productions, the Natural History Unit and Screentime.

Programmes CJZ produces include Bondi Rescue, Gruen Planet, and Go Back to Where You Came From, which was nominated for an International Emmy Award. Earlier this month it appointed former SBS executive Matt Campbell as its chief executive.

New Zealand's Greenstone is known for producing programmes such as Motorway Patrol, Coastwatch and Neighbours at War, and has a foothold in Australia with Highway Patrol and Coastwatch Oz.

Managing director and shareholder John Harris said the new relationship will let Greenstone "continue to grow in its own right," and he will stay on in an advisory capacity. Greenstone will continue to be run by its existing management team.

CJZ creative director Michael Cordell said the bigger entity will look to develop new shows for the international market across all genres.