Ellen Windemuth talks to Tobias Jaeger about building an entertainment powerhouse, factual television, and selling her company
Tobias Jaeger sat down with our founder and CEO Ellen Windemuth to talk about factual television, OTF's dominance in the space, hiring the best people, and ultimately selling the firm she spent more than 20 years building.
Ellen Windemuth started her career nearly 30 years ago in sales of factual television. After working for companies like Atlantis and Fremantle she founded Off The Fence in 1994. Since then she has built the company into the omnipresent global leader with a catalog of several thousand of hours of high-quality factual programming. Ellen and her team have made themselves an attractive target for acquisition and while she resisted the many offers she had gotten over the years, she finally struck a deal with German pubcaster ZDFenterprises in early 2019.
“I don’t believe in half/half. I don’t believe in 70/30. I think you either wanna control your company or you don’t. If you wanna control your company and you’d like an investor, then you sell less than 50%. Or if you need someone to actually come on board as a partner and you actually want to cross-pollinate, then you might as well sell a 100%. So the first thing I said was, “I’ve thought about this for a long time and if I sell, I’d like a partner with whom I can share information but also share strategy. And one plus one makes three, that’s what I’m looking for.”
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