Digital Rights Group (DRG) is expanding into the US and has hired former HBO International president Lee deBoer to lead its assault.

DeBoer will be chairman of Digital Rights Group America, which will aim to pick up more programming from US producers and focus on pitching some of DRG's scripted formats, such as ITV's Doc Martin, to US broadcast and cable networks.

DRG chief executive Jeremy Fox told Broadcast that the US was “a priority” and that it had chosen to try and grow organically rather than through acquisition.

“We did have a look around to see if there was a company we could buy. But nobody in America does what we do,” Fox said. “We need to represent producers out there and also sell stuff. I know we're not going to sell finished programmes to the broadcast networks, but we are going to have to make inroads into cable.”

According to deBoer, the company is planning to take on more staff, with the aim of having a presence on both coasts.

“We can help US producers, and in some cases networks, who are looking for a world-class distributor,” said deBoer, who spent nearly 20 years at HBO and was responsible for the channel's expansion in Latin America, Asia and eastern Europe.

DRG already represents a number of US shows, including NBC format Singing Bee, which has been sold to more than 30 territories by Zeal TV, and Showtime sketch comedy series Tracy Ullman's State of the Union.