EXCLUSIVE: Jane Featherstone and Liz Murdoch‘s Sister saw revenues skyrocket by $100M last year, although the This is Going to Hurt and Chernobyl producer failed again to turn a profit.
The transatlantic outfit’s turnover grew by a mammoth 273% to $134M for full-year 2022, according to a Companies House filing seen by Deadline, as the outfit shook off the shackles of the Covid-19 pandemic and delivered a number of high-profile projects. The vast majority of the revenue came from TV shows.
Sister’s filing pointed to “the realisation of a pipeline of projects and recovery from the delays to the production schedule of programmes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic” as a driver of revenue growth. Big shows delivered in the year included BAFTA-winning BBC drama This is Going to Hurt, The Split Season 3 and HBO/Sky’s The Baby.
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As with last year, Sister failed to turn a profit but the EBITDA loss halved to $9.6M, while net debt was virtually flat at $21.8M and shareholders’ equity nearly halved to $36.9M.
Sister’s filing flagged “investment in creative and operational staff in its U.S. operations” as a reason for the loss, along with “increased losses due to the results of joint ventures and associates,” having bought a minority stake in Disney+’s Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story indie Dorothy Street during the year. Sister has a number of these investees including Richard Bacon’s recently-opened Yes Yes Media, and many are startup businesses that require funding. “The ability of our associate investments to navigate an increasingly complex media landscape and the cost-of-living crisis” was flagged as a “principal risk to the business.”
Deadline understands that Sister is not targeting a specific year to turn profit but acknowledges it is still in an investment phase having launched around four years ago as an independent studio. Staffing numbers rose by 25% over the year to 69.
“Significant momentum” is expected over the coming three-to-four years, according to the filing, as Sister seeks a path to profit while it continues to build out its U.S. operation. Former Netflix TV boss Cindy Holland recently joined as Global CEO, replacing Stacey Snider, and the indie has opened a New York office to add to its LA hub, Deadline can reveal.
The company is understood to be hopeful that the economic crisis and dual labor strikes will not stymie growth in 2023, although knock-on effects could arise the following year. Shows to have delivered this year include Amazon Prime Video’s The Power and The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies for the BBC, while the likes of Dan Levy movie Good Grief had to pause due to the strikes but are still on track. Other projects lauching further down the line include Netflix trio Kaos, Eric and Black Doves, along with Taylor Jenkins-Reid feature My Ex-Friend’s Wedding.
The impact of inflation, costs of production and uncertainty over subsciber numbers were all flagged as “principal risks,” along with global buyers’ “seeking to retain or negotiate distribution rights previously controlled by the producer.”
“2022 was a year of investment and strong growth for Sister,” CEO Chris Fry told Deadline. “We look forward to building on this momentum, as we deliver on our mission to empower visionary creators across all forms of entertainment.”
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