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Strong links, large libraries, big bucks - and it's only the Initial.

"It's a simple question but a very complex answer," laughed Jean Cazes, president and CEO of Initial Groupe, when asked to explain the structure of his company. "It's made up of four different companies, but they are all connected. First, there is an investment company called IDA. Financially, it is the strongest element of the group. It owns pictures -- 450 titles -- some for the world market, some only for French-speaking countries or European territories. There's also about 1000 hours of television programming. The money for this company is provided by the main shareholders, who are mostly from the Caisse des Depots, which is a huge financial institution in France. So this is our library."

"The second activity is production, which is totally independent from IDA. We produce one or two feature films a year. La Thune, a comedy by Phillipe Galland, is a small-budget film ($2.5 million). Leon's Husband, which was written by Jean Pierre Mocky, starts shooting in May. It is a bigger film, budgeted a $5-6 million. We also produce one TV series every two years, but they are big ones. The budget for the series, Le Chinois is over $15 million for six 90-minute episodes, which is very expensive. Chinois is a co-production with Italy, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Our next series will be even more ambitious, with a $50 million budget. Again, it will be a co-production with most of Europe."

"Our third activity is an animation studion called France Animation, which is the largest animation facility in our country. We produce 52 episodes of 26-minute programs every year. Next year, we'll do an animated version of Robin Hood, a co-production with Hanna Barbera, Worldvision and Cinar in Canada."

"The fourth activity is quite important, although it is not quite a subsidiary. We are advisors to Cofimage, one of the largest tax shelter companies in France. By the end of 1991, it will have invested over $32 million in French productions. We have only invested five per cent of that into our own productions. The rest of it went into other projects." In business for six years, Initial has made great strides within a relatively small period of time.

"One of the main reasons for the company's success is our relationship with the Caisse des Depots, which is close to saying we have unlimited funds, provided that the investment opportunities seem to be sufficiently profitable."
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Title Annotation:Initial Groupe
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:company profile
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Words:400
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