Docsville OTT Service Acquired by Hong Kong’s Lightning International (EXCLUSIVE)

Hong Kong-based boutique distributor Lightning International has acquired the U.K.’s documentary streaming service Docsville.

Docsville was set up and launched in 2018 by award- winning documentary maker Lawrence Elman and Nick Fraser who had previously been a high-profile executive with the British Broadcasting Corporation. There he was known for creating the award-winning and influential “Storyville” documentary strand.

The service debuted on Amazon Channel in the U.K. as an add-on subscription for Amazon Prime members. Supported technically and financed by the Swedish tech giant Magine, it quickly became available in 156 countries and as an app for both iOS and Android devices.

Docsville is also involved in financing and co-financing of new documentaries, acquiring new films, and creating a comprehensive back catalog of documentaries. At the time of launch, it was one of the first independently-run, premium, documentary platforms on OTT.

Lightning is a TV content distributor and multi-channel operator founded by another BBC alumnus James Ross. It expects to widen Docsville’s content offering and reach, with Fraser and Elman continuing to produce documentary projects under the Docsville Studios banner.

“Docsville’s focus is stories of people, passion, specific events and happenings,” Ross told Variety. “Our initial efforts with the platform will be targeted at helping it in the business-to-business segment.”

“Nick and Lawrence have created a fantastic platform for sharing some amazing documentaries, from the world’s leading producers and story-tellers. We are looking forward to further developing Docsville and delivering it to documentary lovers around the globe,” said Ross.

“I am overjoyed with the deal and the expertise that Lightning has with channels and content will only add to the already strong offering from Docsville,” said Fraser in a prepared statement.

Lightning owns two linear channels Pet Club TV and Action Hollywood Movies. Pulse TV is a joint venture with Rialto Film Channel in New Zealand, and Lightning represent all the Trace channels (Trace Urban, Trace Sport Stars) and Fix & Foxi within the Asia-Pacific region. The company also represents more than 3,000 hours of content from 20 independent producers.

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