Argonon Expands International Footprint Through New Acquisition and North American COO

  • Acquires production company, Like A Shot Entertainment
  • Appoints Shirley Escott as US COO for Leopard USA and Tough Cookie
  • Marks progress on current Argonon strategies to increase presence outside of the UK and focus on IP

Argonon Group today announces the new acquisition of Like A Shot Entertainment and the appointment of a US-based COO, Shirley Escott, marking Argonon’s intentions to expand into non-UK territories and focus on IP, co-production and distribution as part of Argonon’s second five-year strategy.

Argonon Group, the international media group made up of 11 companies, is a co-production expert – with 50% of its turnover from sales outside of the UK. Post-Brexit, Argonon’s resolve to strengthen its outward-looking stance has further increased.

Co-founded by Henry Scott and Steve Gillham, with Creative Director Bruce Burgess, UK-based production company Like A Shot was established in 2011 and as of 29th December 2017, the company joined Argonon Group. With an emphasis on presales, co-production and acquisition-based relationships with broadcasters – whilst retaining IP – Like A Shot works with international broadcasters and production partners to produce and fund quality factual entertainment content inspired by history and science – maximising the potential for global sales and over several years.

In its first five years, Like A Shot sold and produced over 180 hours of wholly-owned content and has worked with numerous clients including UKTV, Channel 5, Discovery USA, Discovery UK, Discovery Europe, SBS Australia, ZDF, Foxtel, Nat Geo and Viasat World. Like A Shot series regularly broadcast in more than 100 countries. Recent productions include: the hit series Abandoned Engineering for UKTV and Discovery Science Channel USA, with Series 2 in production; Somme: The First 24 Hours – With Tony Robinson for Discovery UK and SBS Australia); Witness to War for Discovery USA and UK, UKTV’s Forbidden History with Jamie Theakston (now on Series 5) and Private Lives with Tracy Borman for UKTV and SBS Australia. Like A Shot’s content has an established record of successful global sales – bringing yet more rich content to Argonon’s library for the international market.

Laura Bessell, Argonon Group COO says: “After exceeding our first five year goals, Argonon is now a year into its second phase of growth. With IP and maximising distribution rights at the heart of what we do, welcoming Like A Shot to the Group will further enable us to expand our network and use new ways of creating production, funding, IP and distribution opportunities. Henry and his team are poised for further success stories and increased scale with Argonon’s support.”
Henry Scott, Managing Director of Like A Shot, says: “Joining Argonon, with its experience of creating original high-quality content and maximising rights, is a brilliant opportunity to build on our unique business model – increasing Like A Shot’s access to new markets for our programming and IP to travel internationally. We look forward to a productive partnership with the Argonon team at this exciting time.”

In North America, investment in new venture Tough Cookie, and the continued success of Leopard USA with Big Beach Builds (DIY Network) and House Hunters International (HGTV), demonstrate Argonon’s focus on building a strong US production base.

Shirley Escott is the newly-appointed COO for Leopard USA and Tough Cookie. Based in New York, she will oversee operations for the companies and report into Argonon’s CEO James Burstall and COO Laura Bessell – taking up this permanent position from a previous consultant.
James Burstall, Argonon Group CEO says: “Shirley is a very warm and committed senior executive with deep roots in the US production community, which will help the group evolve and grow. Her international expertise across all scale of budget, staff size and productions means she is the perfect fit to help Argonon further build on our presence in the US.”
Shirley Escott says: “I am thrilled to be joining Argonon at this exciting time of their development and expansion in the US and I’m looking forward to working with James and the entire team at Argonon, Leopard USA and Tough Cookie.”

Escott joins Argonon Group with 20 years’ experience in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and USA in senior production and executive roles across a broad spectrum of genres. Her most recent role was EVP Production/Co-Executive Producer at Stephen David Entertainment across all departments and her production credits there include the Emmy-nominated World Wars (History), American Genius (National Geographic), Mob Series 1 and 2 (AMC), Roman Empire: Reign of Blood (Netflix) and American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story (Amazon). Previous positions include SVP Production at Picture Shack Entertainment, New York, EIC Content and Production for BBC Worldwide, New York and Senior Executive / Head of Production – BBC Production USA. Escott started her new role on 16th January 2018.

* Windfall Films is highly successful in co-productions with Europe, Australia, USA and Canada – recently, Unearthed (Discovery Science, France TV, N-TV Germany). BriteSpark Films excels in UK-US-Canada co-pros, e.g. Hunting Nazi Treasure (Corus Entertainment, Canada and More4, UK). Argonon International has a history of selling original formats such as Cash In the Attic to M6 France, TV3 Norway and HGTV USA (aired in 167 countries) and finished titles – recently The Bubble Wrap Boy sold into NINE Australia, TLC Africa, TLC Finland, Real Time Italy, TLC Eastern Europe and SBS Netherlands. Nelly The Snakeskin Woman, which launched at MIPTV 2017, has travelled to 52 territories including SBS Netherlands and Nine Australia. Sales of the highly successful Botched Up Bodies franchise, following a deal with Discovery Networks Latin America for all the series, have gone up to 127 territories since it launched.