Matt Nable in ‘The Sounds’. (Photo: South Pacific Pictures). 

AMC-owned streamer Acorn TV has secured a new distribution deal with ABC Commercial for a significant range of local content for its ANZ-based subscription service, and has partnered with Sky NZ to commission Kiwi thriller The Sounds.

The new ABC agreement will include Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Jungle Entertainment’s A Moody Christmas and The Moodys. The agreement also lists UK productions Kingdom, Shameless and made for television film, Churchill’s Secret. All ABC content in the agreement will be available to stream in locally September and October.

ABC Commercial has been a founding content partner for Acorn TV, which re-launched in 2018 in North America and recently hit the 1 million subscribers.

“ABC content resonates with Acorn’s core audience, so we are extremely happy to build on our partnership and see more of the ABC’s world-class list of content already successfully streaming on the Acorn TV platform,” said ABC Commerical head of content sales and distribution Jessica Ellis.

Acorn TV has already experienced success with Australian titles including Jack Irish and A Place to Call Home. Earlier in the year the anglophile-centric streamer acquired Every Cloud Productions’ four Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries  for North America, in addition to securing a streaming deal for the upcoming film, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, to follow after its theatrical release in the US.

“After our success in introducing several major Australian series to our audiences in North America, Acorn TV is thrilled to work with ABC Commercial to add more first-rate Australian and British content to our subscribers in Australia and New Zealand,” said Don Klees, senior vice president of Acorn Programming for RLJ Entertainment.

Originally launched in 2011, Acorn TV was acquired by AMC Networks for US$274m last year fromRLJ Entertainment. The streamer was known as a specialist provider of UK television programming for US subscribers but has been aggressive in including a strong Australian, New Zealand, Irish and Canadian offering since the AMC takeover.

Acorn Media Enterprises (AME), the UK-based development division, has also partnered with Sky NZ to commission thriller The Sounds, produced by South Pacific Pictures in partnership with the Toronto-based Shaftesbury. It will premiere in 2020 on Acorn TV in the United States as an Acorn TV Original and in New Zealand on Sky NZ.

The eight-episode drama set in New Zealand’s South Island on Marlborough Sounds and is directed by Peter Stebbings and created by New Zealand based author, Sarah-Kate Lynch, who also serves as lead writer.

The series is now filming on location in and around the greater Auckland and Northland areas of New Zealand through November. It stars Rachelle Lefevre and Matt Whelan, alongside Matt Nable, Emily Piggford, Peter Elliott, Anna-Maree Thomas, Vanessa Rare, Tandi Wright, Morgana O’Reilly, Tainui Tukiwaho, John Bach, Josh McKenzie, Adam Brown, Emma Fenton  and Sara Wiseman .

The series is produced in association with CBC, who have the Canadian broadcast rights. Acorn TV has the home entertainment rights and will offer the series to its Canadian subscribers with all3media international distributing globally. Acorn Media Enterprises has secured all rights in the United States, Ireland, and United Kingdom; secondary rights in Australia; and home entertainment and non-exclusive SVOD rights in New Zealand.

South Pacific Pictures CEO and executive producer Kelly Martin said: “South Pacific Pictures is privileged to be working with Sarah-Kate on this series.  It’s an intriguing and intense tale from start to finish, one that will keep audiences guessing right up to the last frame.  It’s a testament to the quality of the material that we have such a great line-up of partners on board with Shaftesbury, Acorn TV, Sky NZ, All3 Media, and CBC and that we have been able to attract such a stellar cast.”

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