First Round: Who are you? Ooh, ooh

First Round bows to nobody in its admiration for US procedural TV drama, so it felt a sense of personal vindication recently when news emerged that Goldmans Sachs Capital Partners had offloaded its 50 percent stake in the ‘CSI’ TV franchise for a whopping $400 million.

Doesn’t it make you feel better about the world to learn that a) a really good TV show is worth the thick end of a billion dollars and b) this is basically all down to private equity?

On the other hand, some elements of this deal did make First Round feel moderately uncomfortable, in much the same way as it does when CSI Miami’s Horatio Caine talks to people while gazing enigmatically over their shoulder into the middle distance, or when Gil Grissom starts trying to impress women with his detailed knowledge of earwig anatomy. (Disturbing Wikipedia fact of the month: more than half of the twenty-five-thousand fan fictions written about CSI on FanFiction.Net involve Gil Grissom. Go figure, as our American chums say.)

For one thing, First Round must confess that it had never heard of the buyer, media investment firm Content Partners – a humbling revelation when you’re packing this sort of encyclopedic industry knowledge. And subsequent attempts to get its head round the business model (something about modelling future cash flows from IP) gave it a pounding headache.

One thing First Round is pretty sure about, however: if it were Goldman Sachs, it probably would have thought long and hard about selling one of the few reasons it has to be popular…