Bertelsmann Acquires Ufa

Bertelsmann enters into movie and TV production.

In May 1960, Bertelsmann Fernsehproduktion is established to supply ready-to-air content like movies, documentary series and television dramas to ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen – public-service German TV channel). However, legal uncertainty delays the launch of the channel and the company falters. In 1964, Bertelsmann acquires Ufa with its music publishers and production companies, as well as the Ufa movie theaters, followed shortly afterwards by investments in the movie distributors Constantin, Pallas and Nora. This results in interesting synergies: Bertelsmann stars like Peter Alexander appear in movies and TV shows, their records are released by Ariola, and book tie-ins are sold through the Lesering. With the acquisition of Ufa, Bertelsmann enters the television and movie industry and its rise to become the leading European media group begins. As part of RTL Group, three genre-specific units now operate under the umbrella of UFA GmbH: UFA FICTION, UFA SERIAL DRAMA and UFA SHOW & FACTUAL.