CJZ expands across the Tasman

Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ) has acquired Greenstone TV, one of New Zealand’s most prolific production companies, specialising in factual content.

John Harris, who founded Greenstone 19 years ago, is stepping down as MD but will remain as an adviser. The Greenstone management team of general manager Bryan Hall, head of production Andrea Lamb and financial controller Glenda Paterson will remain in place. No price was disclosed.

Day-to-day oversight of the Auckland-based business will be shared by CJZ MD Nick Murray and Matt Campbell, who started as CEO of CJZ on November 4.  CJZ creative director Michael Cordell will be involved in developing new shows at Greenstone.

Greenstone is currently producing returning series of Highway Patrol, Renters, Motorway Patrol, Neighbours at War, Border Patrol, Dog Squad, Highway Cops and the new observational documentary series Coastwatch Australia and Showtime. Its customers are TVONE, TV2, TV3 and Prime in New Zealand and the Seven Network.

"We had been sniffing around in New Zealand for people we could partner with and John Harris popped up on the radar as being interested in selling to us,” Murray tells IF. “It was good timing.

“Their creative output dovetails perfectly with the successful and original content we provide networks here in Australia and internationally. This deal gives us the platform to build the CJZ group for the future."

Harris said, “It felt like the right time to make this move. I have a high regard for the CJZ team and the new relationship will allow Greenstone to continue to grow in its own right. We share similar values, high standards and a deep respect for our production staff. It‘s a perfect fit.”

Campbell, the former MD of Shine Australian and before that executive director of content at SBS Television, was hired by CJZ in anticipation of the Greenstone acquisition.

Murray said, “We have a much more complex business now than we had two years ago [when Cordell Jigsaw merged with Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films]. We needed more firepower.”

Campbell, who fills Murray’s previous position of CE0, has taken over some of his duties in production, distribution and helping to pitch shows to networks.

Murray is confident that some of the Greenstone-created shows such as Showtime, which follows amateur theatre groups as they prepare for a performance, can be readily adapted for the Australian market.

He sees the consultancy deal with Harris as open-ended, saying it will continue “for as long as he wants to.”