Granada Media has firmed up its international expansion drive, signing its strategic alliance with Australia's Seven Network and opening the doors of its new German subsidiary, writes Tim Dams.
The Australian joint-venture, revealed exclusively in Broadcast (12.11.99), will be the country's largest TV production house, combining Granada's Australian TV production company, Artist Services, with Seven Network's existing in-house production business.

The 50:50 venture begins trading in March in Melbourne and Sydney. Artist Services chairman Steve Vizard will head the new operation. Under the deal Granada also pays£56 million for a 9.1 per cent stake in Seven Network.

In Germany, Granada Produktion fur Film und Fernsehen opened for business this week, fronted by the former managing director of Tele Munchen's production division, Rikolt von Gagern. Granada Produktion will use the group's format catalogue to develop both domestic and international projects.

Also signed up are new head of development and series producer Frank Speelmans, a former RTL drama producer and head of development at Action Time division Action Concept. The entertainment producer is Ernst-Peter Henking, who arrives from SAT 1. Christoph Benkelmann from Hamburg-based Multi-media becomes drama producer.

Granada also revealed it has struck a£15 million deal with a group of 200 Chinese cable TV companies to launch a version of Coronation Street in China called Joy Luck Street.