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SEPTEMBER + OCTOBER 2019 15 FIRST LOOK
Dating formats embrace diversity… at long last
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Behind the scenes of two major live natural history events
The sky’s the limit for limited series
Our picks of Cannes-bound content worth catching
A look at two producer-led initiatives designed to improve your bottom line
THE FINAL CUT Blue Ant International’s Solange Attwood on distribution’s “new normal”
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Biruté Galdikas is one of three female anthropologists featured in our MIPCOM Pick Trimates.
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the UK, following several troubling incidents involving participants in unscripted series, the concept of broadcasters’ and producers’ duty of care towards cast members has been front and center in the media and industry circles. The government is also taking the issue seriously, with the UK parliament conducting an inquiry into current production practices and media regulator Ofcom proposing new rules to protect the “welfare, wellbeing and dignity” of reality TV casts. These are, of course, incredibly important concerns for producers and broadcasters of unscripted content around the world, and they deserve attention and action. But the idea of duty of care also extends to those producing content — a reality that is starting to sink in at the creative and corporate level. Various industry bodies around the world are investigating how health — particularly mental health — is impacted by the frequently taxing demands of producing television and ﬁlm. After receiving 2,000 calls to its industry help line, the UK-based Film and Television Charity is leading what it has called the Looking Glass study, which will investigate the prevalence of mental health issues within the industry, and propose potential solutions. Film and TV workers were asked to contribute anonymously to what is being called the largest survey of its kind to date, with the results to be released this fall. Other territories have also conducted similar studies. A 2015 report from Australia’s Entertainment Assist contained a sobering statistic: 44% of respondents from the entertainment industry reported having moderate to severe anxiety — a number 10 times higher than the general population. Also from the same study: suicide attempts for Australian entertainment industry workers were more than double that of the general population. Numerous realities impacting the business suggest the problem will get worse before it gets better. Across the globe, as the industry shifts to an increasingly freelance-based model, and shrinking budgets for content require those in the production trenches to consistently do more with less and on tighter timelines, stresses are mounting and pushing many dangerously close to the breaking point. Certainly, those of us who work under deadlines are well acquainted with the pressures that accompany them. While it is heartening to see moves being made, such as the surveys, studies and industry support groups arising to both illuminate and tackle the struggles being faced, it is also imperative to realize that the change needed to create a healthier production community has to come from within — with production companies and their network partners committing to best practices that will protect not only those in front of the cameras, but those behind the scenes as well.
September + October 19 Volume 23, Issue 1
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hen I look back over the last few decades, it seems to me that for the most part, the movement to advance inclusion, tolerance and indeed celebrate people of different ethnicities, religions, gender identities and physical abilities has progressed at light speed over the course of the past 10 years. I grew up on a farm in what was then Rhodesia during the years of Ian Smith. I was the daughter of hard-working farmers and I was taught by the powers that be, as they were, that generally speaking, racism was acceptable, that homosexuality was a sin, and that people with mental disabilities should be locked away. For 17 years I believed this was acceptable. Not because I was an awful person, but because that is what I was taught. It was situational, or my “normal.” We only had two black and white TV channels, and there were no models of diversity to speak of. Media was essentially the government’s mouthpiece. Fast forward to 1985 when I immigrated to Canada to study journalism in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, with access to more available mainstream media than I could ever have imagined. Though there were multiple channels, there seemed to be virtually no representation of minority groups, on or off the screen. At that time, forward-thinking media organizations were just beginning to realize that a better reflection of the population on screen made business and, frankly, common sense. Diversity was on the radar. Thirty years on, there is still work to be done. But it is safe to say that nowhere has our diverse human family been better represented than in unscripted programming — at least on screen. Typically, the casts of reality programs have been more diverse in terms of featuring people of color than those of the scripted genre, and A&E’s Born This Way celebrates people with disabilities in a way never seen before. Logo and VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (now a Netflix hit in its rebooted version, Queer Eye) and E!’s I Am Cait were frontrunners in LGBTQ+ programming, and as Frederick Blichert’s feature on page 15 reveals, there is more bold, inclusive programming emerging. The wheels of progress turn slowly, but it’s high time we start to see more of what’s happening on whatever screen you are watching, behind the camera and in the boardroom. Let’s make that our new normal.
‘Til next time, go well. Claire Macdonald VP, publisher Realscreen
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ROMANTIC REPRESENTATION With hit unscripted series such as Are You the One? and Dating Around embracing LGBTQ+ identities, have dating formats turned a corner on inclusion?
By Frederick Blichert
MTV’s Are You The One featured a sexually ﬂuid cast in its latest season.
Q&A with Reed Midem’s Lucy Smith
Topic moves into the SVOD scene
John Smithson on combating “budget blindness”
Netflix’s Dating Around features same-sex daters to more accurately reflect reality.
networks and media organizations move toward increasing diversity onscreen and behind the camera, it only makes sense that relationship programming would become more inclusive. LGBTQ+ identities have been part of the reality TV landscape for decades. The original “Fab Five” made their debut on Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in 2003. Three years before that, Richard Hatch, an openly gay man, won the first season of what was to become an unscripted juggernaut, Survivor on CBS. Beyond queer cast members in reality staples such as The Real World and Big Brother, entire shows have been built around LGBTQ+ characters and identities over the last couple of decades. Examples include TRANSform Me, The Real L Word, Gaycation, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Fire Island, I Am Jazz, I Am Cait, My Fabulous Gay Wedding/First Comes Love and Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. Another unscripted sub-genre, however, has been slower to move out of its established comfort zone. With ABC’s The Dating Game premiering in 1965, dating shows are firmly entrenched within popular culture. The basic premise — one man and one woman fall for each other — has been the norm since then, whether in The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Joe Millionaire, Paradise Hotel or countless other formats. But the status quo may be changing, as dating formats buck the trend in favor of greater diversity among participants. Last May, MTV announced that the cast of the latest season of its dating format Are You the One? would be made up entirely of people identifying as sexually fluid, meaning that any of the 16 participants could potentially pair off with one another, regardless of gender. Just a few months earlier, in time for Valentine’s Day,
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
Netflix premiered Dating Around, the global streamer’s take on the dating show, featuring six singles going on dates in New York. Of the six, two went on same-sex dates. Other examples of the shift include E!’s The Bi Life from last year, Logo and VH1’s Finding Prince Charming from 2016 and Logo’s Transamerican Love Story, now more than a decade old, having aired in 2008. With Are You the One?, bringing on sexually fluid contestants was prompted by the casting process of previous seasons. Lighthearted Entertainment’s Rob LaPlante, EP and co-creator of the series, says the move was an organic one. “We started to see people talking to us about sexuality in a way that was different, interesting, eye-opening, and rather than turn our backs on that and try to make the show continue to be what it always has been, we decided to open our ears and say, what is this thing?” he tells Realscreen. With Dating Around, on the other hand, the premise was always tied to capturing a snapshot of the New York dating scene in all its diversity. For Chris Culvenor, creator and EP for Eureka Productions, that would have been impossible to accomplish while looking through a strictly straight lens. “It just felt absolutely natural to us. I think good casting is about being flexible and being able to be nimble when you see something new and different in that process.” The two shows approached the question of LGBTQ+ representation from very different vantage points. Are You the One? already had an established fan base. In opting for a sexually fluid cast, it was sticking to an established format while arguably flipping the whole endeavor on its head. “Any time you make a change to an existing franchise like this, you get concerned that you might aggravate the audience in some way, just because they like it — they’re watching it [as it is],” says LaPlante.
In the end, the move paid off, prompting coverage from The Atlantic, NPR, Vice, Slate, The New York Post, CNN and more. Viewership nearly doubled in its first four weeks on MTV. As a new show, Dating Around had nowhere to go but up, and didn’t have a set brand to adhere to. “We actively avoided any reference points, because we wanted it to be a distinctly different dating show,” says Culvenor. “I think it was fascinating to see how a 73-year-old person dates, or how a 22-year-old person dates. We didn’t worry about alienating straight viewers, because we thought it was such a fantastic opportunity just to see how different people date.” Hit series such as LaPlante and Culvenor both report Netflix’s Queer that MTV and Netflix, respectively, were Eye have inspired supportive from the start, pointing to networks to feature goodwill across the board. MTV even LGBTQ+ characters suggested training sessions with GLAAD and identities. so that the production team on Are You the One? could learn about how LGBTQ+ communities have been represented — and episode. Fox’s 2008 A Shot at Love with misrepresented — in the past, helping them Tila Tequila, meanwhile, saw men and avoid certain common pitfalls. women competing for the TV and social Are You the One? and Dating Around stand media star’s affections, finding out she was out, not only as successful entries in the genre bisexual only at the end of the first episode. but as formats that do not Such shows may treat LGBTQ+ identities have emerged in less as requiring a new hook progressive times, but or twist. They are dating perhaps they also shows, full stop, and they served to clear a path to can work as-is regardless today’s more receptive It’s fascinating to of who appears on screen. atmosphere. Doug Ross, see how a 73-yearAre You the One? has creator and EP of Bravo’s old dates, or how a been a successful franchise 2003 series Boy Meets for years, while Dating Boy, fondly recalls the 22-year-old dates. Around features several process of pitching a gay We didn’t worry episodes without LGBTQ+ version of The Bachelor. about alienating participants. While that idea didn’t Some previous attempts fly, he was able to get straight viewers, at integration, however, a greenlight when he because it was opted for gimmicks added a twist — some of such a fantastic or narrative twists. In the contestants vying for 2004, Fox’s Playing It the star’s affections would opportunity to Straight saw a woman be straight, and part of see how different on a ranch with a group the challenge for him of men, going on dates would be to suss out the people date.” with them to figure out truly eligible contestants which were gay and before picking one. which were straight. In the UK, Sky1’s 2003 Ross was also producing Gay Weddings for format There’s Something About Miriam Bravo as he moved forward on Boy Meets had six men trying to woo Mexican model Boy. For context on how far society has Miriam, with the revelation that she was come, Gay Weddings was produced long a transgender woman saved for the final before same-sex marriage was legalized in
the U.S., and thus contestants prepared for commitment ceremonies that could not be legally termed “marriage” at the time. He recalls how, despite pushback from the show’s star, Boy Meets Boy was a successful experiment in creating empathy while having fun. “The straight guys really had this huge epiphany of, ‘Oh my God, I don’t think I ever really understood how much I took for granted that I could be who I am, and here I was in a situation where I couldn’t be who I was,’” says Ross. “I don’t think there was one that didn’t think it was a great learning and growing experience.” Ross says he would make the show again today, given the chance. “I’m sure that we would make some adjustments for 2019-2020, but I still think it would be an interesting experiment, and maybe even more interesting now that the culture has changed so much. “I really do believe that programs like Boy Meets Boy and the original Queer Eye, Will & Grace and a lot of other shows — some employing a lot of stereotypes, some trying to bust stereotypes, some challenging social conventions, some bugging people — helped to generate the current social conversation and get us to where we are today, so that a show like Are You the One? can actually be on MTV and be a hit. “It’s kind of cool, actually.” 017
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LUCY SMITH REED MIDEM
few big changes are on the way for MIPTV this April as the more than 50-year-old content and television market, with its ﬂag ﬁrmly planted in Cannes, undergoes an overhaul. Reed Midem, organizer of MIPTV and its sister market, October’s MIPCOM, rolled out the ﬁrst phase of its planned reinvention in July following industry consultation. The changes promise to modernize the traditional trade show experience with “innovative turnkey solutions” that offer exhibitors “ﬂexible, scalable options,” Reed Midem stated. With MIPCOM upon us, Realscreen reached out to Lucy Smith, the deputy director of Reed Midem’s TV division, to discuss the reimagined April market.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
What was the catalyst for Reed Midem deciding to transform MIPTV? We knew that, by listening to our clients, we needed to make some changes. People overwhelmingly recognize MIPTV as a necessary date in the calendar. We really want to transform it by offering more cost-effective and agile and ﬂexible solutions for companies to take part in it in a different way. In parallel, we’re of course working on the overall MIPTV strategy — on what we’ll do for the buyers, the content strategy, how we’ll change the format and the schedule.
One of the proposed changes that’s gotten a lot of attention is the consolidation of space from nine ﬂoors to three. How will that affect exhibitors? We’re focusing the key exhibition areas to the three main halls in the Palais, the objective being to make it a more densiﬁed and efﬁcient way for people to do business, because when you have the same ﬂoor space as you have at MIPCOM with a smaller number of participants, you want to scale it so it makes sense. It’s not just about the size of the exhibition ﬂoor, it’s about offering people a new experience… When you bring people closer together, it means it’s a much more efﬁcient way to do business and it offers an opportunity to meet people more easily.
How do you respond to some of the skepticism or criticism from distributors about how the changes will impact their experience at MIPTV? We understand that change is not an easy thing for everyone. A lot of [companies] have had a very long history with us… We’re listening to the clients and we’re still having ongoing conversations. We’ll keep working with them to make this the best experience possible. It really is about coming up with solutions to make MIPTV work in a more ﬂexible and agile way for our clients. That’s a really key message.
MIPDoc and MIP Formats have been conﬁrmed for 2020 but is there a possibility that they may be ‘folded’ into the general MIPTV program over time? MIPDoc and MIP Formats are absolutely key, essential parts of the MIPTV experience. The factual industry is extremely strong at MIPTV. Whether they’ll evolve over time? Possibly… Whatever we do, we will make sure that it makes sense to the industry’s needs moving forward after 2020. Jillian Morgan
TOPIC Headquarters: New York City
Here, Realscreen shines a spotlight on emerging buyers and creators in the unscripted and non-fiction entertainment space. By Frederick Blichert
Parent company: First Look Media
Yet another new player is set to enter the increasingly crowded subscription video on demand (SVOD) space. But this one has already carved out a reputation and an audience for its offering via an earlier incarnation. Topic is set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019, replacing the original Topic.com site, which functioned as an online magazine incorporating video, photography, long-form journalism and podcasts, founded by First Look Media in 2017. Thus, it’s not a complete 180 into digital video for the brand, as the nascent streamer already has an original content library to draw from. “Anna Holmes, who was the editorial director of Topic, worked to really build an extensive library of short-form docuseries and some fiction,” Topic general manager Ryan Chanatry tells Realscreen. Chanatry, who came to First Look Media following a stint as Netflix’s director of global marketing insights, describes Topic’s offering as something distinct from the Netflixes and Disneys vying for the top spot in the SVOD space. “We’re not going for a volume play,” he says, but rather to develop a small stable of outstanding projects with human stories at their core. In short, Topic is “looking for projects that are provocative, and we mean that in the sense that they will create conversation,” he explains. “They will give you something to talk about with your friends, to drive social currency, and that really comes
Konstantinakos from creators that have very passionate points of view.” Topic is looking for content in myriad ways, including licensing work from networks and distributors, to commissioning originals, to finding new titles at festivals and markets. Former Viceland EP Gena Konstantinakos joined Topic in June as VP of development and video programming. She’s overseeing
We are looking for projects that are provocative... They will give you something to talk about with your friends, to drive social currency.”
originals and says she is looking for “auteur-driven, elevated and distinctive works, that in every case are not just emotionally compelling and grippingly entertaining, but the creator has something that they’re passionate about saying.” She hopes to hear from anyone who might fit that description and wants to produce new content with a distinct, informative and entertaining voice. And the company is leaning into the freedom that comes with a platform divorced from broadcast schedules and content blocks. “One of the things we’re really excited about with the opportunity for this service is we’re genre-agnostic and lengthagnostic,” says Konstantinakos. Topic has already lined up some unscripted originals, including Rough Draft with Reza Aslan, in which the best-selling author and television host sits down with other creatives to discuss their process. Expect more announcements concerning originals ahead of Topic’s launch.
POINTED ARROW A PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE
By John Smithson
here’s one word guaranteed to create producer hypertension: overspend. It’s on my mind as recently I’ve heard some grim stories of productions going substantially out of control and way over budget. It’s serious stuff. A runaway production can wreck your profitability, tarnish your reputation and even take down your company. Once upon a time, when things were altogether more genteel, broadcasters could be persuaded to pump more into the budget to stop a production from sinking. Not any more. There’s a bit of a perfect storm here. We have production companies promising the world to get the commission, and then over-delivering to win the undying love of their broadcasters while knowing, deep-down, there isn’t enough money. Then add networks with skyhigh expectations, huge ratings pressure, tight budgets and — sometimes — a hard-line, “be tough on the producer” approach to production management. In some ways this harsh environment is a healthy reflection of a mature business. There’s much less nurturing of companies these days — less bottle-feeding of the baby indie, until it’s ready to leave the creative incubator. There’s also less of a culture of dependency, where normally a big public service broadcaster or state funding body has dozens of companies in their creative orbit that can only exist in this protected ecosystem. In addition, many key suppliers have been acquired by bigger media groups. Thus, in many cases, the network is not picking on the little guy; rather, they are feuding with businesses that can be equally big beasts in the jungle. Increasingly the attitude is that if you want to play this game, these are the rules, no matter how harsh or unfair they may feel. Surviving this is one of the trickiest things
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
producers can face. There are no easy fixes, but there are some commonsense survival tips. Be really careful what you promise and make sure key creative parameters — such as shooting days, edit weeks, archive spend — are agreed upon at the contract stage. Never agree to a budget you know you can never adhere to — and, yes, I know we are all guilty of saying “yes” when it should be “no.” Somehow the lure of a commission creates a temporary budget blindness. If you see a problem emerging, blow the whistle early. Bad news only gets worse the later you leave it. It will certainly help to get a sympathetic hearing, even if there’s no cash to bail you out.
Increasingly the attitude is that if you want to play this game, these are the rules, no matter how harsh or unfair they may feel.” Where it gets harder is in the interaction with the commissioning editor. As a producer, this is a person you want to get on with. You want to embrace their ambition for a potential show and nurture the passion that takes you all the way to a green light. But beware. It’s their job to get the best possible show — it makes them look good and delivers kudos and ratings to their employers. It’s your job to deliver all of the above, and somehow stay on budget. It’s easy for a producer to get absorbed in this creative foreplay. But getting the balance between creative adrenaline and financial restraint is one of the greatest challenges of our job. Staying positive while open and realistic is always a good plan, and it’s so much better to offer solutions than worrying about problems. Ultimately, it’s not a matter of “can do, whatever the cost.” Instead, say, “This is what I will do,” and then do it well. John Smithson is creative director of Arrow Pictures, a feature and high-end factual label created out of Arrow, the UK-based indie which he co-founded in 2011.
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“ TOGETHER FOREVER
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SVOD WHO’S WHO The streaming landscape shifts practically weekly, with new entrants of various sizes and specialties entering the scene in greater numbers. Here, Realscreen provides a window into the rapidly growing SVOD world with an overview of various key players.
YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF…
Sure, the companies dominating the column inches devoted to subscription video may not need more press — and indeed, a few of the SVOD behemoths and behemoths-in-waiting included here declined to send along information for this feature. But given the pace of change in the sector, with launch dates, new key hires and slate announcements ﬂying fast and furious, we thought we’d provide updates on what the really big ﬁsh in the pond are up to. Subject to change, of course…
AMAZON PRIME WHO’S THERE: Jennifer Salke — Head, Amazon Studios Chris Castallo (pictured) — Head of unscripted, Amazon Studios Tracey Lentz — Head of creative, unscripted TV, Amazon Studios Albert Cheng, Vernon Sanders — Co-heads of television, Amazon Studios WHAT’S ON (recent and upcoming commissions): This Is Football (docuseries, produced by October Films, Brutal Media); Free Meek (produced by The Intellectual Property Corporation, Roc Nation, Isaac Solotaroff); Lorena (produced by Monkeypaw, Number 19 and Sonar Entertainment). Barry Walsh 025
APPLE TV+ WHO’S THERE: Zack Van Amburg, Jamie Erlicht — Co-heads of worldwide video Jay Hunt (pictured, at 2016 Realscreen Summit) — Creative director, Europe, worldwide video Matt Cherniss — Head of creative development, domestic Morgan Wandell — Head of international creative development Kim Rozenfeld — Head of unscripted and current programming
Molly Thompson — Head of documentaries
WHEN AND HOW MUCH: November 1, 2019 launch; US$4.99 per month. WHAT’S COMING: Dads (documentary, directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, produced by Imagine Documentaries and Nine Muses Entertainment, in association with Dove Men+Care); The Elephant Queen (documentary, directed by Victoria Stone and Mark Deebles); two documentary projects spearheaded by Oprah Winfrey. BW
Ricky Strauss — President of content and marketing Agnes Chu — Senior vice president of content Dan Silver — Vice president, unscripted
WHEN AND HOW MUCH: November 12, 2019 launch; US$6.99 per month. WHAT’S COMING: One Day at Disney (Endeavor Content); Pick of the Litter (KTF Films); The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Nutopia); Earthkeepers (Supper Club, Wellworth Pictures); Be Our Chef (INE Entertainment); On Pointe (pictured, Imagine Entertainment, DCTV). BW
NETFLIX WHO’S THERE: Ted Sarandos — Chief content officer Cindy Holland — VP, original content Lisa Nishimura — VP, independent film and documentary features Brandon Riegg — VP, unscripted originals HOW MUCH: US$8.99 monthly for basic plan, $12.99 for standard plan, $15.99 for premium plan. WHAT’S ON: Diagnosis (pictured, Lightbox and the New York Times); Our Planet (Silverback Films); The Mind, Explained (Vox Media); Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates (Concordia Studio, Netflix). BW
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CBS ALL ACCESS WHO’S THERE: Marc DeBevoise (pictured, right) — President and COO, CBS Interactive Julie McNamara (pictured, left) — EVP, original content, CBS All Access Jeff Grossman — SVP, content and product strategy, CBS Interactive Entertainment For CBSN: Nancy Lane — senior executive producer, programming and development, CBS News Digital WHAT’S ON: For CBS All Access Originals, the team recently announced the pickup of its first feature documentary, Console Wars, based on the book by Blake J. Harris, which takes an in-depth look at the fight for video game console supremacy between Nintendo and Sega in the 1990s. It’s produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Point Grey Productions, Scott Rudin Productions and Doug Blush in partnership with Legendary Television Studios. Fulwell 73, meanwhile, has a series featuring celebrity medium Thomas John coming in late 2019 or early 2020. The platform also offers live and on-demand viewing of all of CBS’s current unscripted programming, including The Amazing Race, Survivor, Big Brother, and Love Island among others, and is the only place to watch the Big Brother live feeds.
HBO MAX WHO’S THERE: Kevin Reilly — Chief content officer Casey Bloys — President of programming, HBO Sarah Aubrey — Head of original content Jennifer O’Connell (pictured) — Executive vice president of non-fiction and kids Lizzie Fox — Vice president, non-fiction (ex-CNN)
WHAT DO THEY WANT: “Consistent with our overall philosophy, we are looking for unscripted shows that are premium in nature, conceptually unique and/or directly compatible with our library of content,” says a spokesperson for the platform.
Rebecca Quinn — Vice president, non-fiction (ex-Pulse Creative)
HOW MUCH: US$5.99 per month for limited commercials and $9.99 per month for commercial free.
WHAT DO THEY WANT: According to O’Connell, HBO Max’s unscripted division is looking for programming “for everyone in the home with a focus on female skewing projects for all ages — kids, Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X.” As for the doc genre, “We are doing feature docs, limited as well as returnable series — specifically in the Pop Culture and Pro Social spaces. “Lifestyle programming including travel, food, and fashion as well as docusoaps and occusoaps and our competition shows are rooted in reality and authenticity,” she adds.
WHERE IT’S AT: CBS All Access is also available in Canada and is 10 All Access in Australia. Frederick Blichert, BW
Brett Boydstun — Senior vice president, non-fiction production Jeniffer Kim — Senior vice president, international originals
WHEN: Launch is currently slated for spring of 2020, but no subscription price has been announced at present. WHAT’S ON: At presstime, the HBO Max team had just announced two unscripted greenlights: Legendary, focusing on vogueing teams, from Scout Productions; and design competition series The Greatest Space (w/t), from New Media Collective and Scout Productions. Daniele Alcinii, BW
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WHO’S THERE: Randy Freer — CEO
WHO’S THERE: Steve Burns — Chief content officer
Craig Erwich — Senior vice president, originals
Devin Cheema — Senior vice president, operations and administration
Beatrice Springborn — Vice president, content development Jordan Helman — Vice president, content development Belisa Balaban — Director, documentaries
Rob Burk — Executive producer Jorge Franzini — Executive producer
QUIBI WHO’S THERE:
WHAT’S ON: The Amazing Johnathan Documentary; Fyre Fraud; Jawline; Untitled Padma Lakshmi Series (upcoming).
Jeffrey Katzenberg (pictured) — Founder and chairman
WHAT DO THEY WANT: “Programming that reflects culture, becomes part of the conversation and superserves fans content they are passionate about.”
Brian Tannenbaum — Content, alternative development
HOW MUCH: US$5.99 per month, or $11.99 for ad-free. Jillian Morgan
Meg Whitman — CEO Doug Herzog — President, entertainment Kate Presutti — Content
Alex Montalvo — Content, alternative programming WHAT’S ON: Beauty (with Tyra Banks); Chrissy’s Court (with Chrissy Teigen); Elba vs. Block (with Idras Elba); Murder House Flip; Punk’d (reboot); Singled Out (reboot); Fierce Queens (w/t); Fight Like a Girl; Thanks a Million (with Jennifer Lopez). WHAT DO THEY WANT: Scripted and unscripted content across all genres (drama, comedy, horror, animation). RIGHTS: Quibi kingpin Katzenberg has been hitting the industry conference circuit recently, promoting a distinctive business model that is making many producers take notice. Quibi projects will exist in two versions — one that is edited into the bitesized episodes that will drive the service and one that is long-form fare. For the shorter episodes, rights revert back to the creator after a sevenyear window of exclusivity, and for the long-form versions, the IP ownership reverts back to the creators after two years, who can then shop the project to other international buyers. WHEN AND HOW MUCH: Quibi launches in April 2020. Subscription prices are US$4.99 with ads, $7.99 without. JM, BW
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
WHAT’S ON: Pompeii: Disaster Street (2020); Amazing Dinoworld (2020); The History of Home (2020); The Woodstock Bus (pictured); Hi$tory; Ancient Oceans; Breakthrough: Cornfield Shipwreck; Bright 9: Predicting Sports Stars. WHAT DO THEY WANT: Top quality films across all factual genres. Budgets vary to fit the project and rights. HOW MUCH: The HD service comes in at US$2.99 monthly or $19.99 annually, while the 4K service is $9.99 monthly or $69.99 annually. RIGHTS: For commissions, CuriosityStream wants all rights, all media, in perpetuity. For copros, depending on the size of its contribution, the streamer takes exclusive North America, all media, as well as worldwide non-exclusive SVOD for a five-year term, with geoblocking in territories where the program has been previously sold. For acquisitions or presales: non-exclusive SVOD worldwide for a five-year term, with geo-blocking where previously sold. DA
IWONDER WHO’S THERE: James Bridges — Co-founder and CEO Andreas von Maltzahn — Co-founder Mark Bridges — Co-founder
SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL PLUS WHO’S THERE: David Royle — Executive vice president and chief programming officer, Smithsonian Networks Chris Hoelzl — SVP, program development, Smithsonian Channel Joseph Giraldi — EVP of marketing, digital media and product strategy, Smithsonian Channel WHAT’S ON: Apollo’s Moon Shot; America’s Hidden Stories; Britain in Color; America in Color; Aerial America: Dallas 24; The Hunt for Eagle 56; Mystic Britain; Secrets; Volcanoes: Dual Destruction; An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates (pictured); Spy Wars. WHAT DO THEY WANT: “We look for factual entertainment that will resonate with our target audience of Gen X ‘knowledge seekers’ in a variety of genres: history, air and space, natural history, science and technology and arts & culture,” say Hoelzl and Giraldi. “We place a premium on programs that come with exclusive access and the potential to break news. Relevancy is one of our buzzwords, and factual accuracy is an absolute requisite. In all cases we require exclusivity in the U.S. Programs currently must all be suitable for initial broadcast on our linear channel.”
WHERE IS IT: Currently focused on acquisitions, the service launched in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore in March of 2019, with plans to launch in the rest of South East Asia in Q4 of this year. WHAT’S ON: The Kleptocrats; Alt-Right: Age of Rage; Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War; Fish Out of Water; Faces Places; Bombshell: The Heady Lamarr Story; Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. While iwonder has not commissioned original content as of yet, “we are picking up rights for late stage or just finished productions,” says CEO James Bridges. HOW MUCH: US$4.99 in local currency equivalent. WHAT DO THEY WANT: The wish list for the streamer includes festival-favorite feature docs and series across all genres, current affairs feature docs and series, and local content for Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Africa. BUDGETS: “We are only taking rights for APAC, Middle East and Africa so we aren’t yet committing to production-sized budgets,” explains Bridges. “But we are acquiring first run exclusives at market rates for the region.” DA
BUDGETS AND RIGHTS: “Budgets will vary based on the type of the show and the extent of rights which are available. We are competitive with other factual networks. “For distribution rights, like most networks today, we aim to try and maintain holistic rights to our programming across all platforms,” they add. HOW MUCH: US$4.99 per month. The subscription includes both commercial free viewing and 4K UHD support for no additional charge. JM
By Carl Mrozek
TAKING AUTUMNWATCH ABROAD
hile various networks in the U.S. are now experimenting heavily with live natural history programming, in the United Kingdom the genre has thrived for years, as seen in the success of the BBC’s longrunning, seasonal ‘Watch’ strand. Beginning with Springwatch in 2005, autumn and winter eventually gained their own “spin-offs,” with the BBC taking crews of over 100 to various locales in the UK countryside to capture live the visual magic of the changing seasons. Last fall, the BBC commemorated its 10th season of Autumnwatch with its ﬁrst live program off the continent: Autumnwatch: New England. The goal was to break out of the UK box, but not completely. “Much of New England resembles our Lakes District, particularly the forests, renowned
Last October, the BBC broke with tradition and moved the 10th season of its live Autumnwatch series outside of the UK, to New England. Here, the team behind the U.S./UK copro shares its experiences and lessons learned from the ambitious project. for their color,” says series producer, Chris Howard, about the move. “It has many ‘new’ wildlife for us like raccoons, porcupines, possums, skunks, bears, moose, turkey… That’s many new stories for our naturehungry audience.” While the decision to produce Autumnwatch abroad ultimately spawned a little audience backlash (with one irate viewer tweeting, “What the actual f***?” during the ﬁrst episode), the process of getting to air in the ﬁrst place provided extra challenges, not the least of
which were budgetary. Enter American public broadcaster PBS, which embraced the project wholeheartedly and signed on as a full copro partner sharing production responsibilities, as well as budget. “Obviously, there are signiﬁcant ﬁnancial advantages for both parties in a coproduction, besides being able to work in lockstep with a like-minded partner like the BBC’s NHU, with whom we’ve worked on other large live productions like Big Blue Live
A placid scene at Squam Lake in New Hampshire, the site for Autumnwatch’s ﬁrst foray into the U.S. (Photo: Carl Mrozek)
and Wild Alaska Live,” says Erin O’Flaherty, director of general audience programming at PBS. “We were excited to host Autumnwatch: New England, as a true partnership with shared access to all B-roll footage and sequences and other resources.” At the same time, each partner was responsible for providing their own producers, hosts, camera persons, production guidelines and scripts. This enabled the BBC to cater to its ﬁercely loyal Autumnwatch audience (irate tweeter notwithstanding) and PBS to appeal to a broader audience. PBS did opt to share Autumnwatch’s seasoned co-host, Chris Packham, a world-wise naturalist capable of extemporizing on wildlife on both sides of the pond. But to better engage a broader American viewership, the U.S. copro partner selected Samantha Brown, a native 033
New Englander and producer/host of PBS travel series Places to Love, to co-host its three episodes. Meanwhile, Packham’s co-hosts for the BBC’s fourepisode version included veteran co-hosts Michaela Strachan and biologist Gillian Burke. Even with the coproduction arrangement, it fell to Howard to choose the set and base of operations for the project. “We searched all over New England for an ideal base of operations, with fantastic foliage and scenery, great wildlife habitat, preferably on or near a large lake to mirror it all,” he recalls. But there were also logistical needs to factor in, including broadband and a robust electrical grid to power all the lights, cameras, monitors, switchers and other gear, plus ample space to maneuver and park large production trucks. “We also needed to house and feed a crew of 65+ nearby. No place had it all, but Camp Deerwood on Squam Lake in New Hampshire came closest,” he says, citing its track record of hosting the Henry Fonda film classic On Golden Pond. Missing at Squam Lake, though, was sufficient broadband to patch isolated remote cameras into the system. Fortunately, a local broadband provider agreed to lay the requisite fiber optic cable through the forest in order to link a cluster of remote cams at Squam Lake Natural Science Center, to master control over three kilometres away. Once installed, the fiber channel enabled Howard’s team to live switch even the most distant of the 30+ cameras via the main switcher. These included a number of infrared cameras utilized for capturing the antics of flying squirrels, raccoons, foxes, possums, deer, bears and other nocturnal wildlife. As with much wildlife filming, the most intractable challenge proved to be the weather, which was quite soggy and foggy in the week before the first live broadcast. “The steady rain fogged our lenses and kept wildlife hunkered down,” Howard recalls. “I was growing concerned about having enough wildlife footage in hand for all seven programs. Fortunately, the weather broke just in time and the footage began rolling in pretty steadily afterwards.” As a hedge against bad weather and bad luck, Autumnwatch typically deploys some camera teams ahead of schedule. “Typically, our long lensers start shooting (wildlife) a month or two before the rest and they set out trail cameras which get moved around as needed,” he says. While advance trail cameras weren’t feasible in New England, Howard did dispatch a cameraman to film early fall sequences featuring moose rutting, early foliage, flowers, butterflies, young turkeys and a spectacular sunset roost of swallows in a coastal marsh. Nevertheless there was a footage deficit leading up to the first broadcast, despite moving up the production schedule by nearly two weeks in order to catch the peak foliage, according to Howard. While the PBS and BBC versions of the series were both geared for primetime, the five-hour time gap between the UK and the eastern U.S. meant that the Beeb went live in daylight at 3 p.m. each day, whereas PBS went live in darkness at 8 p.m. Hence PBS fully utilized the arsenal of infrared cameras for its live shots, whereas the BBC’s live shots were all diurnal,
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
BBC’s Autumnwatch hosts Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke. (Photo: the BBC)
during its afternoon broadcast, although they also made good use of the growing pool of “previously recorded” nighttime (and daytime) footage. Going live at night also enabled PBS to highlight one of its secret weapons, a military grade thermal camera called the Super Hawk, in its many live shots with veteran cameraman Bob Poole. Poole’s passion for wildlife and the Super Hawk made him an engaging guest host who invited PBS viewers to peek in on various cryptic critters through his viewfinder, including coyotes stalking deer at close range, plus black bears and even a fisher. “This cool camera made it feasible to film animal behaviors that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” Poole says. Another challenge was in needing to shoot two live shows per day on two consecutive days to accommodate their overlapping broadcast schedules. Autumnwatch runs from Monday to Thursday on BBC2 which overlapped with PBS’s three-day run from Wednesday to Friday on two days. “Shooting two shows per day required extra care to be sure that all the prerecorded pieces were ready, that all technical requirements were covered and that everyone was well-rehearsed,” Howard admits. “That meant long days for those working on both programs, but we also had designated staff for each show to make sure it all ran smoothly.” Chris Packham, who co-hosted both shows, had to take care to refocus his commentary from BBC’s natural history aficionados in the afternoon to PBS’s broader audience a few hours later. Despite challenges and the odd bit of controversy, the season performed well. Rosemary Edwards, the BBC’s exec producer of Autumnwatch, says that viewership in 2018 was on a par with prior seasons ranging from 2-2.5 million per episode. PBS, meanwhile, scored 7.5 million over three nights. And live natural history programming appears to be gaining a foothold elsewhere on PBS. This spring, WNET’s ‘Nature’ undertook American Spring, three consecutive days of live programming featuring spring across America, in late April. The project was executive produced by veteran live natural history producer Al Berman and partly funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Hosted by ABC’s Juju Chang and biologist Thor Hanson, sequestered on a scenic outdoor set just outside Sequoia National Park, the program featured live video fed from across the U.S. Still, U.S. viewers won’t find Autumnwatch on PBS in 2019. “While we greatly enjoyed working with the BBC on Autumnwatch: New England, they will be back on British soil this year, in the Cairngorms of Scotland,” says Flaherty. (With files from Barry Walsh)
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BOTTLE This past June, National Geographic and Plimsoll Productions returned to Yellowstone National Park to embark upon another season of Yellowstone Live. Here, Plimsoll’s president of international production, Andrew Jackson, compares and contrasts the challenges of the two seasons, and shares lessons learned about live wildlife TV. For the second run of Yellowstone Live, Plimsoll had new cameras and a lightning-proof base.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
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of the last places to choose if you want to minimize risk. Just finding the animals is hard enough. In our first year producing the series for Nat Geo, we spent many fruitless hours in helicopters searching for wolves. We had the best pilots, armed with local knowledge, the best spotters and some of the best wolf experts. We knew where the wolves were supposed to be but every night, nothing. No live wolves. As a final, last-ditch effort, we changed tack. We deployed the helicopter before dawn. We hoped, by flying to the dens where they were most likely to have gone to sleep the previous night, we’d find wolves waking up. It worked. On our last show we finally had the most amazing footage. That first season was a lesson in flying by the seat of our pants. No one had ever produced a show, live, across such a large canvas
makeshift transmission site in a Montana field. They all needed housing, feeding and coordinating. Our first season was set in August, at the height of summer, when millions descend on Yellowstone and fill the hotels. Thus, most of our crew camped at our specially built “Homebase” transmission site. That was great when the sun shone, but not so great after dark, when temperatures plummeted. The showers froze and the wood stoves couldn’t cope. For season two, we were in hotels. It was June this time, colder, with a much higher likelihood of severe storms. Indeed, they came through thick and fast. Lightning was our biggest problem. Any strike within eight miles of Homebase sent us scurrying for shelters that were “lightning safe” — a term that didn’t apply to our Homebase studio in season one. We’d chosen a beautiful, 037 SPECIALIST FACTUAL
here’s an excitement to live TV that no other show can match — anything can happen. It’s one of the biggest attractions for an audience. However, as showrunners, to reduce our own stress, we do everything to minimize risk. We control our environment — usually a studio. We script our hosts, vet our talent. We rehearse again and again, until everyone knows their lines. But try that in the wild, in the wind and rain… with animals. That’s Yellowstone Live. Our “studio” is one of the greatest National Parks in the world. Including the greater ecosystem, it’s more than 34,000 square miles of wilderness, much of it above 7,500 feet, where the weather turns on a dime, and all of it sitting atop the world’s largest super volcano. Seriously, it’s one
Yellowstone is one of the last places to choose if you want to minimize risk. Just finding the animals is hard enough.” with so many different species including grizzly bears, big cats, bison, moose, wolves and more. Technically, it challenged the best in the business — those damn mountains kept getting in the way. And editorially, it took all of our combined natural history and live television expertise to stand any chance of getting the action as it happened. We had a team of 30 wildlife filmmakers and support crew — a total of 170 people on our
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A Plimsoll production tent for season two of Yellowstone Live.
100-year old wooden barn with a tin roof, in an idyllic location with a lake out front, mountains as a backdrop. It looked perfect but it wasn’t lightning safe. While we risked it for season one, for June it was too risky. We lightning-proofed it, thankfully, as our last show started inside the barn, in lightning lockdown. Late June is baby time in Yellowstone. Everything is warming up and there’s food aplenty. We followed individual families — a wolf pack and pups, a grizzly Mom and cubs, young beaver kits and their parents. The rivers are also in full flood mode, hugely challenging for wildlife as they try to cross them. One of our most dramatic scenes came at night when a mother and baby bison became separated as they crossed a fast-flowing river.
For season two, we had a long-range thermal camera on hand. New to Yellowstone Live, it works in complete darkness and can film wildlife up to two miles away. It picked up the action as the baby bison was swept downstream. The mother made it to the other side, but the baby turned back. As it hauled itself out of the river, cold and tired, the camera picked up an approaching grizzly. Unfortunately, the mother was too late to save her baby. It was the first time the camera had been used in Yellowstone, allowing us to film this drama after dark. For all its challenges, Yellowstone Live is one of the most rewarding live shows I’ve ever been involved with. Across two incredible seasons, I watched a hugely experienced team pull off eight extraordinary shows. We reveled in the beauty and the importance of America’s oldest National Park. We watched, live, as Old Faithful delivered on time, and we thanked our luck as the wildlife played ball. We got a lone wolf, hunting bison, live. And for our grand finale, a bald eagle chick fledging, live. America’s National Emblem, taking its first flight on Yellowstone Live.
By Daniele Alcinii
The emergence of SVOD has resuscitated the concept of the limited series. Now that cable networks are following suit, what are the beneﬁts and challenges for producers and buyers alike in “making it mini”?
Lightbox’s Murder Mountain, a six-episode, true crime docuseries for Netﬂix.
MAKE IT MINI
their heyday, scripted event television series such as 1977’s Roots for American broadcast network ABC brought forth enormous viewing numbers. But by 2009, the format had fallen so out of favor with television viewing audiences that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences had only two programs to choose from for its outstanding miniseries category that year. Over the last decade, however, limited series — particularly non-ﬁction projects — have risen anew from the ashes to land increasingly at the heart of the cultural zeitgeist and cable network schedules. Inﬂuenced in part by the commissioning model from digital streaming services, linear television has gambled more on limited, long-form projects. ESPN’s OJ: Made in America, HBO’s The Fourth Estate and The Case Against Adnan Syed, and Showtime’s Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, for instance, are among the myriad non-ﬁction miniseries in recent years that have managed to generate high ratings and awards hardware. “It’s no secret what’s happening to cable’s overall numbers,” says Matt Robins, creative director at UK-headquartered October Films (the team behind the six-part premium Amazon Prime series This Is Football and CNN’s The First Ladies). “But cable’s just learning how to use [the limited series] as a weapon to grab attention, to build these standout conversation moments that drive social engagement and marketing buzz. “It’s a really useful way to operate the brand and be relevant.” But how has cable’s embrace of the limited series, in response to the subscription video on demand (SVOD) approach to programming, impacted producers’ bottom lines and their development processes? American broadcasters and their digital streaming counterparts are — and have previously been — willing to pay substantial sums for non-scripted premium limited series. And while appetites from linear cable networks have been ballooning, limited series projects such as Netﬂix’s Making A Murderer and Wild Wild Country require a substantial amount of unfunded development prior to being greenlit, thereby making it more difﬁcult for smaller producers to break ground and compete. The development phase generally tends to take longer when creating a limited series. The research and development for a deck is far more detailed and speciﬁc in an attempt 039
to provide buyers with a strong sense of the final product, whereas the majority of returnable ideas are figured out in production, notes Rushie Perera, VP of development at London- and Los AngelesRobins based multi-platform prodco Lightbox (Netflix’s Diagnosis and Murder Mountain). Perera In order for a project to have its best shot at success, producers are increasingly asked to spend more time diligently researching their subject and to offer a deeper dive through extraordinary access, never-before-seen archive or unique points of view. Here, the old saying rings true — time is money. Fether “With such competition over viewers, a limited series needs to stand out, feel audacious, extraordinary and/or have A-list talent to attract an audience — there is no time to win the audience over,” explains Joely Fether, CEO of Raw TV, a UK-headquartered prodco with a roster that ranges from returnable series (Discovery’s Gold Rush) to feature docs (CNN Films’ Three Identical Strangers). “Whether drama or factual, a limited series has to grab the audience and keep them from the get-go. Limited scripted series Land are expensive punts, which is probably why we are seeing more non-scripted limited series.” “It’s more expensive to develop McCarthy limited series,” says Stephen Land, CEO of Jupiter Entertainment, the prodco behind Snapped and Atlanta Child Murders. “But producing limited series can and should be profitable. “You either have to have a number of limited projects that you are sequencing to cover your cash flow or, as with the case of Jupiter, you compliment that limited slate with some long-running series,” he adds. “Otherwise the numbers won’t work.” Despite the challenge to the business model, the limited series has also allowed more established
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
production houses the prospect of taking those potentially lucrative pitches out to more buyers, which in turn creates further financial opportunities, explains Lightbox’s Perera. “It doesn’t really impact the development of the creative because we’re going to develop the shows in the best way we see fit and hope that we find a buyer who wants to make the same show we do,” she says. “We do find that in most cases cable buyers are looking for projects that are more domestic facing whereas streamers appreciate projects that have a global appeal as well as domestic ideas.” Networks are increasingly finding value in commissioning limited series that drive relevance and watchability for viewers while complementing ongoing mega franchises. “Growing up at various other brands, when we were healthiest that was always the model,” says Gena McCarthy, head of unscripted programming and development, Lifetime & FYI. “When you’re firing on all of those cylinders… that’s when you usually, in my experience, see the most explosive and consistent growth. “It’s all driven by the right topics that feel like they are truly special and merit a miniseries treatment. If you can get to that point, it makes your brand more vital and more successful.” A+E Networks-owned, female-focused net Lifetime, for instance, has found success with its Surviving R. Kelly title, which presented more than two decades worth of sexual misconduct allegations against the disgraced R&B crooner. The January 2019 premiere delivered 1.9 million total viewers, marking Lifetime’s best performance in more than two years in all key demos and Lifetime’s best unscripted performance in more than three years in all key demos, based on Nielsen Media Research reports. “In the limited series swings that we have, there’s incredible pressure that every series really delivers a significant performance number,” says McCarthy. “We’re not commissioning them as vanity properties, they have to work extremely well for us.” Since then, the network has turned the ‘Surviving’ concept into something of a franchise with the greenlight of Kreative Inc.’s four-hour investigative doc Surviving R. Kelly: The Aftermath, offering even deeper insight into the case surrounding Kelly, who is currently facing federal and state charges for sex crimes and racketeering; and Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, a docuseries on the late, notorious billionaire financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein from Robert Friedman’s Bungalow Media + Entertainment. Lifetime has additionally ordered two new documentaries about the rise and fall of the NXIVM cult and the college admissions scandal as part of their ‘Beyond the Headlines’ strand. The right limited series or miniseries can allow networks such as Lifetime to experiment in new genres, reinvent classic genres with a contemporary approach or pressure test the viability of doing bigger franchises with a limited launch. But for production outfits the limited series can be seen as an opportunity to develop more, create more, and work with more talent “It’s very helpful to have these limited runs because it always broadens the conversation and gives you a shot at something new, vibrant and different, and that’s why we all get out of bed in the morning,” concludes October’s Robins.
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2019 BEST IN SHOW
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As summer gives way to fall, once again Realscreen’s editorial team has immersed itself in clips from content heading to Cannes for this October’s market. From lifestyle programming to natural history, from true crime to science and several points between, here are our picks for non-ﬁction and unscripted content to seek out during MIPCOM. Congrats to the submitting company for our Best in Show, which receives a free pass to the upcoming Realscreen Summit in New Orleans.
XY CHELSEA Directed by Tim Travers Hawkins (1000 Voices), this is a portrait of former U.S. Army soldier turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning as she leaves prison after serving seven years of what was to be a 35-year sentence, commuted by then-president Barack Obama in 2017. Manning gained notoriety in 2010, after being found to have leaked close to 750,000 documents to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. A hero to some, a traitor to others, a day after receiving her 2013 prison sentence she released a statement announcing that she is a transgender woman. This access-driven doc illustrates the complexities, triumphs and challenges of a subject whose story continues to unfold in unpredictable ways.
BEST IN SHOW
BEST IN SH
Partners: The British Film Institute, Field of Vision, Pulse Films, in Association with Faliro House, 19340 Productions, Showtime Documentary Films. International Sales: Dogwoof. Length: 1 x 92 minutes Premiere: May 2019, Tribeca Rights available: World excluding North America, Sweden, Norway, Spain, and Israel
THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY
John Edward Szeles, aka The Amazing Johnathan, began to cement his reputation as an unpredictable and provocative entertainer in the 1980s, as his mix of eye-popping magic and gut-churning gore caught on. But after announcing he was diagnosed with a dangerous heart condition in 2014, he effectively retired from performing, claiming that he had only a year left to live. Years later, the comedian is still alive, mounting a comeback tour and starring as the subject of two documentaries — the latter being a surprise to at least one of the filmmakers. Ben Berman’s The Amazing Johnathan Documentary is a multi-layered look at both an infuriatingly elusive subject and the perils and pitfalls inherent in searching for the “truth.”
Their stories have been told before through archive-rich documentary (Jane) and acclaimed dramatic features (Gorillas in the Mist), but their impact on science, culture and nature conservation cannot be overstated. The trio of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas, dubbed the “Trimates,” ushered in a new era of primatology through their studies of the Great Apes in their natural habitats. Importantly, their work has inspired a generation of women to both follow their footsteps and blaze their own trails in science. Narrated by Grey’s Anatomy’s Sandra Oh, this project spotlights both the amazing achievements of the original Trimates, and the efforts of those who have come after.
Partners: Cold Iron Pictures, Anonymous Content, Horse Horse Horse; distributed by Kew Media Distribution, Dogwoof (theatrical, UK) Length: 1 x 91 minutes Premiered: August 2019 (Hulu) Rights available: All rights worldwide excluding Canada and the U.S.
WAR ON PLASTIC WITH HUGH AND ANITA Never one to shy away from a big gesture that makes a point, chef/TV presenter/activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall declared his own personal “war on plastic” by pretending to dump truckloads of the stuff into the sea while onlookers gasped. It makes good TV while also driving home a horrifying truth: every minute of each day, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic is dumped into the world’s oceans. In what’s been called “the Blue Planet effect,” a wave of awareness about the issue has swept through culture. This series, co-presented with Anita Rani from the BBC’s Countryfile, combines the “stunt activism” that Fearnley-Whittingstall has employed in past specials with footage from some of the world’s most affected areas with hard-hitting results. 044
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
Partners: Keo Films; distributed by Hat Trick International Length/volume: 4 x 60 minutes Premiered: June 2019 (BBC1) Rights available: Worldwide
Partners: Primate Legacy for CBC’s ‘The Nature of Things’; distributed by CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution Length/volume: 2 x 52 minutes, 2 x 44 minutes Premiered: September 2019 (CBC) Rights available: Worldwide
WARRIOR WOMEN — THE TRUTH WITH LUPITA NYONG’O This engaging doc follows Academy Award-winning actor, author and producer Lupita Nyong’o on an illuminating voyage of discovery to Benin, West Africa, where she immerses herself in the story of the real-life warrior women who inspired the Dora Milaje special forces of the massive Marvel hit film and comic series Black Panther. Through her travels she learns of armies of African women, known as the Agoji, who were based in what was the Kingdom of Dahomey and fought neighboring kingdoms as well as European powers.
Partners: Sandstone Global Productions for Channel 4; distributed by Cineflix Rights Length: 1 x 60 minutes Airing: October 2019, Channel 4 (UK) Rights available: All rights, excluding format — worldwide excluding UK and Ireland
SMART CHOICE SMART CONTENT
The Great Hotel Escape
Stacey Meets the IS Brides
Prisoners’ Wives: Visiting Hours
Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes
Orange Smarty www.orangesmarty.com
Real Screen 09/19.indd 1
COUNTRY MUSIC When Ken Burns casts his lens upon a topic, he dives deep, and his latest — a 16-hour exploration of the uniquely American art form of country music — is certainly no exception. From its Appalachian beginnings, to its various incarnations and evolutions — Texas Swing, honky-tonk and “new country” among them — Burns and his team explore the genre’s origins through meticulously researched archive and interviews with its most revered singers and songwriters. Legendary performers such as Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, and Garth Brooks are featured, as are such icons as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.
BIG CAT COUNTRY Partners: Florentine Films, WETA for PBS; distributed by PBS International Length/volume: 8 x 120 minutes Premiered: September 2019 (PBS) Rights available: Worldwide, all media
UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST Through a series of video missives, the radical terrorist group ISIS broadcast their intentions to a horrified world, with several of the clips featuring gruesome executions of journalists or aid workers held captive by the extremists. Featured in many of the videos as the executioner was a masked ISIS member with a British accent, nicknamed “Jihadi John” by the press. This comprehensive doc examines the radicalization of a young man, his transformation from a quiet and awkward teenager into the “poster boy” of one of the most fearsome terrorist groups of recent times, and the efforts of UK and U.S. intelligence to find, and ultimately stop him.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
Billed as a “lion docusoap,” this natural history series charts the intersecting destinies of three prides of big cats — the Mwamba, Hollywood and Kaingo — as they fight for territory amongst each other while negotiating internal power plays. The action features the arrival of the Nomads — four young males out to dethrone the current, aging alpha males of the Mwamba pride while vying for the affections of the lionesses in the Hollywood pride. Through captivating visuals, courtesy of Zambian cinematographer Nathan Pilcher and second camera Sam Davies, audiences will be immersed in dramatic, real-life stakes that rival any unscripted projects set in the concrete jungle.
Partners: Plimsoll Productions for Love Nature 4K and Smithsonian Channel; distributed by Blue Ant International Length/volume: 6 x 60 minutes, 4K and HDR Aired: June 2019 (Love Nature Asia and Canada, Smithsonian Channel UK) Rights available: One year holdback in UK/ LatAm (available April 2020)
BEST ROOM WINS Partners: Nutopia in association with Livedrop Media for HBO and Channel 4; distributed by eOne International Length: 1 x 98 minutes, 1 x 68 minutes Premiered: May 2019 (Channel 4, UK); June 2019 (HBO, U.S.) Rights available: Global, excluding U.S., Canada and the UK
First airing on NBCU cable net Bravo in the U.S., this design competition series takes the “make over a room” aspect of other shows in the genre and adds an aspirational luxury element into the mix. Hosted by Genevieve Gorder (TLC’s Trading Spaces, Netflix’s Stay Here), a team of designers is tasked with making over a room for clients, using multi-million dollar estates for inspiration but working within a US$25,000 budget. The winning designer gets a spread on ElleDecor.com and bragging rights, and the clients receive a champagne living space created with a beer budget.
Partners: Shed Media US for Bravo; distributed by NBCUniversal International Formats Length/volume: 10 x 60 minutes Premiered: May 2019 (Bravo, U.S.) Rights available: Format rights outside of the U.S.
Tokyo, Japan | December 2–5 THE PLACE TO BE FOR FACTUAL MEDIA CREATORS WORKING ON ALL PLATFORMS • Meet the world’s leading content creators, producers and distributors working in science, history and natural history • Discover new trends and technology at inspiring sessions and panels • Connect with executives and decision makers from the world’s leading broadcasters, streaming services and digital media
THE REAL PRIME SUSPECT Prime Suspect, a hugely successful crime drama starring Helen Mirren, was largely inspired by the work of Jackie Malton, a former Metropolitan Police officer and one of the first female officers at Scotland Yard. Here, the inspiration for Detective Chief Inpector Jane Tennison, Mirren’s character in the series, returns to the crime scene to illustrate how detectives painstakingly determine their prime suspects. Examining some of the most notorious cases in the U.S. and UK, with the help of police, detectives and other experts who were part of the original investigations, Malton provides the audience with insight about the sleuthing process, and captivating explorations of baffling criminal cases.
JUDI DENCH’S WILD BORNEO ADVENTURES Partners: Monster Films for CBS Reality (UK); distributed by Orange Smarty Length/volume: 10 x 60 minutes Premiered: September 2019 (CBS Reality, UK) Rights available: Worldwide excluding UK, Republic of Ireland, Africa and Poland
EUPHORIA OF BEING It is hard for many of us to comprehend the depth of suffering that was the Holocaust. For Éva Fahidi, it was all too real. At the age of 20, she returned to her home in Hungary from Auschwitz-Birkenau, with 49 members of her family murdered, including her mother, her father and little sister. After reading her memoir, choreographer and director Réka Szabó approached Fahidi, also a dancer, to create a work based on her life story. This film documents the preparation of the piece, as well as the relationship between the 90-year-old Fahidi, Szabó and dancer Emese Cuhorka. Candid interviews with Fahidi also provide additional perspective.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
At the age of 84, Dame Judi Dench is a veritable legend of stage and screen. She is also a passionate lover of nature and the animal kingdom. In this program, it’s the latter aspect of her personality that comes to the fore, as she visits the Borneo rainforests, and is introduced to the myriad creatures great and small within this incredible habitat. Accompanied by her longtime partner (or “my chap,” as she refers to him), conservationist David Mills, and discussing both the natural magic and the troubling dangers facing the rainforests today with scientists and experts, the two-parter is a revealing look at two of the world’s great wonders… Borneo and Dench.
Partners: Atlantic Productions for ITV; distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment Length/volume: 2 x 60 minutes Premiered: July 2019 (ITV) Rights available: Contact ITVSGE
ANCIENT SKIES Partners: Campfilm, Ltd., The Symptoms; distributed by ro*co films international Length: 1 x 83 minutes Premiered: August 2019 (Locarno Film Festival) Rights available: All rights available in all territories excluding theatrical rights in Hungary
From the moment we as a species were first able to point to the sky and marvel at what we saw, the Great Beyond has been a source of mystery and wonder. From mythmakers to scientists, the open skies have entranced and befuddled human beings for millennia. This three-part series traverses history and science with the help of expert testimony and captivating CGI, revealing how humanity has interpreted the cosmos over the course of its history, and how our earliest ideas of what lies above informed what we know today.
Partners: Impossible Factual in association with PBS and ZDF Enterprises; distributed internationally by ZDF Enterprises Length: 3 x 50 minutes Premiered: July 2019 (PBS) Rights available: All rights, all media outside North America
BRIDGING THE EXPANSE In our modern day existence, we are prone to taking many things for granted, including the many engineering miracles that we engage with on a daily basis. While many factual series shine the spotlight on some of those, particularly the towering skyscrapers that form our skylines, this series highlights the creations that seem to conquer nature and gravity — the world’s most amazing bridges. Here, you’ll learn more about the stories behind these incredible feats of engineering, and the teams that turned them into reality.
THE SERENGETI RULES Partners: Wild Bear Entertainment; distributed by Passion Distribution Length: 6 x 60 minutes Premiering: TBC Rights available: Worldwide
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
Partners: HHMI Tangled Bank Studios for PBS; distributed by PBS International Length: 1 x 60 minutes, 1 x 84 minutes Premiering: October 2019 (PBS) Rights available: Worldwide, all media
HOW DID THEY BUILD THAT?
DAMIAN LEWIS: SPY WARS Hosted by British actor Damian Lewis (Billions, Homeland), this series delves deep into some of the most intriguing spy stories in the world of espionage. Shot on location in London, Moscow and Israel, and utilizing expert interviews and first-person recollections as well as docudrama-style reenactments, Spy Wars lifts the veil on several exciting instances of dangerous derring-do, from the Cold War era to recent examples of counter-terrorism.
In the 1960s, five scientists — Tony Sinclair, Mary E. Power, Bob Paine, John Terborgh, and Jim Estes — set out to some of the most remote places on Earth to discover more about the workings of nature. From the Serengeti to the Arctic Ocean and several incredible natural vistas between, the scientists unearthed valuable discoveries, such as the importance of what are called “keystone” species, that have given us a far better understanding of the adaptability and increasing fragility of our ecosystems. Here, we learn more about their work, their findings, and the significance of those in the present day, in the midst of the ecological challenges we face.
Partners: Alaska Productions for A+E Networks; distributed by A+E Networks Length/volume: 8 x 60 minutes Premiering: October 2019 (A+E UK) Rights available: Worldwide
Engineering-oriented programming, with its focus on man-made marvels from around the world, can travel well. This series, not to be confused with the series that aired on Discovery at the turn of the 2000s, packages three such stories per episode, dissecting spectacular marriages of science, architecture and engineering from across the globe. Broadcasters signing on so far include Welt in Germany and BBC Worldwide for CEE, the Nordics, Africa and Asia.
Partners: Curve Media; distributed by TCB Media Rights Length/volume: 8 x 60 minutes Premiering: TBD Rights available: Worldwide
REFLECT ON REALITY
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 20 nov - 1 dec 2019
300+ documentaries check the program at IDFA.nl
MADE IN BOISE
WILD TREASURES OF CHINA The vast wild spaces of China are home to scores of incredible yet elusive animal species; iconic specimens with ranges of behavior rarely captured by natural history film crews. This French/Chinese copro boasts breathtaking photography and spectacular vistas and focuses on several such creatures: among them, the Tibetan blue bear and antelope, the Siberian tiger, the giant panda, and first in the series, the snow leopard. Shot over three years in 4K and directed by Frédéric Larrey, the first episode of five will be delivered in early 2020.
Partners: Zed and CCTV-9; distributed by Zed Length/volume: 5 x 52 minutes; 4K Premiering: Early 2020 Rights available: Worldwide excluding China
MYSTIC BRITAIN Ice age shamans, Druids, demons and witches, oh my! British TV presenter, comedian and barrister Clive Anderson and anthropologist and factual TV presenter Mary-Ann Ochata embark on a journey through time to uncover England’s mystical secrets. Touring through various British locales, the intrepid duo discovers fascinating facts about England’s hidden occult history, from human sacrifices to mummification. And of course, a trip to Stonehenge is in order as well.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER ‘19
The small, Midwestern American city of Boise, Idaho, serves as the unofficial, and unregulated, surrogacy capital of the U.S., with as many as one of 15 women opting to have babies for other people. This film follows four women who have made that choice, and through their stories and those of the parents to be, documents the challenges and complexities that are part of the process. Made in Boise also shines a light on the growing demand that is propelling the surrogacy industry.
Partners: Pinay Pictures; distributed internationally by MetFilm Sales Length: 1 x 85 minutes Premiered: June 2019 (AFI Docs) Rights available: World excluding U.S., Taiwan and South East Asia
SINGLETOWN Partners: Blink Entertainment for Smithsonian Networks; distributed by Off the Fence Length/volume: 10 x 60 minutes Premiered: April 2019 (Smithsonian Channel) Rights available: Worldwide excluding North America
There have been several interesting variations on the tried and true dating format (see page 15), and this is certainly one of them. Here, couples in established relationships call time on their togetherness for the length of a summer, during which the partners will indulge in the single life. By the end of the series, the partners on pause will have to decide whether they want to return to their relationships, or put an end to their union once and for all.
Partners: Keshet Productions for ITV2 Length: 15 x 60 minutes (format) Premiered: September 2019 (ITV2) Rights available: Worldwide
A+E NETWORKS 235 East 45th Street New York, NY 10017 Tel: +1-212-210-1400 Website: sales.aenetworks.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org MIPCOM STAND NUMBER: P3.C10
THE UNXPLAINED WITH WILLIAM SHATNER New (8 x 1 hour) Genre: Factual Entertainment/ Unscripted From the producers of Ancient Aliens and The Curse of Oak Island comes The UnXplained, a one-hour, non-fiction series that explores the world’s most fascinating, strange, and inexplicable mysteries. Hosted and executive produced by Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal) each episode will feature compelling contributions from scientists, historians, witnesses, and experiencers – each seeking to shed light on how the seemingly impossible can happen. From mysterious structures (like Florida’s Coral Castle) and so-called “evil” places (like the cursed “White City” of Honduras) to strange creatures and bizarre rituals, The UnXplained will explore subjects that have mystified mankind for centuries. DAMIAN LEWIS: SPY WARS New (8 x 1 hour) Genre: Docu-drama In this new actionpacked, tell-all factual series, award-winning actor Damian Lewis unpacks some of the most thrilling covert missions in modern-day history with the help of new declassified information, high-profile experts, and intelligence officers who were there. From the most notorious spy exchange of recent times to the fake film production that freed Americans during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis to in-depth profiles of the world’s most skilled and lethal double agents, it’s James Bond meets every John le Carré thriller you’ve ever read...only these standoffs, assassinations, and hostage exchanges were absolutely real! GENERATION DATING New (Pilot 1-hour) Romance gets a reboot when Generation Dating asks: What would happen if we let two strangers, one old and one young, run each other’s love lives? Can they each benefit from the other’s vastly different life experiences? In each stand-alone episode of Generation Dating, first, they spend time together, including going out and meeting family and friends. Then they find each other a date. Once they’ve tracked down the eligible singleton, they plan a unique date experience. And then it’s time to give each other a makeover. We follow both dates to see how they get on. After their dates they meet for a debrief, find out how it went and what they have learned. What will they have taught each other about finding love and believing in themselves? And whether they find true love or not a new, unique friendship may just have blossomed along the way on Generation Dating.
Alfred Haber Distribution, Inc. 111 Grand Avenue, Suite 203 Palisades Park, New Jersey 07650 P: (201) 224-8000 F: (201) 947-4500 email@example.com www.alfredhaber.com EXECUTIVES ATTENDING: Alfred Haber, President Andrew Haber, Vice President, International Sales Steven Weiser, Vice President, Domestic & International Sales Patricia Villagran, International Sales Executive MIPCOM 2019 MIPCOM Booth: Palais 1, P-1.L50 MIPCOM telephone number: +33 (0)4 92 99 8300
COMPANY DESCRIPTION: The Alfred Haber Group of Companies – Alfred Haber, Inc., Alfred Haber Distribution, Inc. and Alfred Haber Television, Inc. – together form one of the world’s largest distributors of U.S. network annual events and music specials, and are leading independent distributors of primetime reality series, specials, and documentaries. Please visit www.alfredhaber.com. 62nd ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS® – CBS – New! Running time: 1 x 210’ Genre: Music/Awards Show It’s all about the music as the industry’s biggest names perform on “Music’s Biggest Night®” – the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards®, the world’s most popular, and most prestigious, televised music awards show, to be broadcast in over 190 territories worldwide. SHALLOW GRAVE – Crime & Investigation UK – New! Running time: 8 x 60’ Genre: Reality Murders have been committed elsewhere, with the victims’ bodies transported and left at a “the deposition site,” or shallow grave. It’s the most difficult crime puzzle of all – but can the police put the pieces together and crack the case? HELP! MY HOUSE IS HAUNTED – UKTV Running time: 12 x 60’ Genre: Reality From Zak Bagans, the creator, executive producer and star of Ghost Adventures, the #1 paranormal show in the world, it’s the spine-tingling UK series that finds answers to unexplained supernatural phenomena that help families reclaim their properties from unwelcome spirits. 2020 26th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD® AWARDS – TNT/TBS – New! Running time: 1 x 120’ Genre: Film/TV Awards Show The dazzling, 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards will be a night filled with excitement, drama, laughter, and entertainment’s biggest stars as actors vote solely for actors in honoring the finest film and television performances of the year. TOP 20 FUNNIEST – truTV Running time: 49 x 60’ Genre: Reality Laughter is the best medicine…and it makes for a great television show, too. TV’s absolute FUNNIEST show includes comedic commentary over viral videos, home movies, news bloopers and more while we count down the week’s most hilarious videos.
all3media international Berkshire House 168-173 High Holborn London WC1V 7AA Tel: +44 (0)20 7845 4350 Fax: +44 (0)20 7845 4399 firstname.lastname@example.org www.all3mediainternational.com Stand No: P3.C10
all3media international is the distribution arm of the all3media group. We promote and license a catalogue of awardwinning TV programmes and formats to broadcasters and media platforms across the globe. Our catalogue contains over 11,500 hours of content across all genres, and we work with over 1,000 broadcast, DVD and digital platform clients from more than 200 countries.
Eddie Eats America North One Television for UKTV, UK | 12 x 30 mins World’s Strongest Man winner Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall, eats three million calories a year to feed his extreme bodybuilding regime. Now he’s taking on the most calorific country on earth: can Eddie conquer America, one meal at a time? With his lifetime ambition realised and a 500kg dead lift world record to boot, 27-stone Eddie is ready for his next challenge, so the big man with the big personality is heading to a nation never afraid to go extra-large. As he criss-crosses the states, facing one epic food challenge after another, can Eddie overcome the biggest, spiciest, most mountainous eats the country has to offer? Dying for Meat Raw for BBC One, UK 1 x 60 mins Following on from 2018’s awardwinning Drowning in Plastic, animal biologist and meat-eater Liz Bonnin embarks on one of the toughest investigations of her career. From cattle farms in the decimated Amazon rainforests to US research labs growing in-vitro meat, Liz discovers the stark and sometimes stomach-churning reality of the meat industry. Her aim is to discover if our insatiable appetite for meat is killing the planet. On her travels, Liz meets characters on all sides of the debate: scientists who argue that meat is an essential part of our lives, environmentalists charting the environmental effect of three billion tonnes of animal manure and food scientists developing meatless alternatives to our everyday meals. The film is a fascinating investigation into the global meat industry and a planet’s ecosystem on the brink of collapse. The Dog House Five Mile Films for Channel 4, UK 8 x 60 mins There are nearly nine million dogs in Britain – but finding the right homes for them isn’t always easy. Set inside a rural British Dog Rescue Centre famous for its commitment to matching homeless dogs with new owners, this series bears witness to the joy, comedy and pathos of the human-dog dating experience. Each of the eight programmes records the arrivals of unwanted pets complete with heart-rending tales of abandonment. At the same time, they tell stories of doghungry humans – families, couples, singletons – all carrying their own baggage of poignant and touching backstory and hoping their lives might be transformed by the introduction of a new four-legged friend. The climax of each story is the theatre of the meet. Multiple fixed cameras mounted inside a special pen observe every beat of the first meetings between the dogs and their prospective new owners. Will the nervous dog come out of its shell? Will there be a connection? Will lives be changed forever?
APT Worldwide 55 Summer Street Boston, MA 02110 U.S.A. Contact: Judy Barlow Judy_Barlow@APTonline.org Tel: 1-617-338-4455
Outside: Beyond the Lens (10x30) - Travel Go beyond the lens, where the real magic of travel is found. The people, the food and the unplanned adventures of a trip are what the joy of exploration is all about. Join Jeff Aiello and his award-winning crew as they tell the stories of travel cinematically, bringing to life their experiences at some of the most beautiful travel destinations on Earth. Locations include Australia, California, Colorado, the Swiss Alps, Alaska, Utah and Texas. To the Ends of the Earth: Birds of East Africa (1x60) - Nature Wildlife photographer Todd Gustafson shares stunning photographs and video images of fascinating, beautiful and dramatic birds in East Africa, and asks us to consider how these wild creatures have so much in common with each other and with us. We all experience or witness the endless struggle for survival as we compete for mates, food, and territory, along with the joys and worries of raising our young. Gustafson, a Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature’s Best award winner, is a visual storyteller whose images and orchestral score bring into focus all that humanity and the natural world share. Canvasing the World with Sean Diediker (13x30) - Travel In this unique travel series, Sean Diediker journeys to exotic locations to experience the people and places that inspire his original paintings. CyberWork and the American Dream (1x60) - Science/Technology Could a robot replace you? Find out in this fascinating look at the coming impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on jobs. Me, Dorothy ... and this Road to Oz (1x60) - Art & Culture You’ve never seen a ballet like this! Go behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew of Septime Webre’s groundbreaking, jaw-dropping million dollar extravaganza production of The Wizard of Oz.
MIPTV LISTINGS AVAILABLE
Passion Distribution No 1. Smith Square 77-85 Fulham Palace Road London W6 8JA +44 (0)207 981 9801 email@example.com www.passiondistribution.com Stand: P4.C18
Executives attending Emmanuelle Namiech, CEO Nick Rees, COO Nick Tanner, Director of Sales & Co-productions Sean Wheatley, Head of Acqusisitions Agnes Mbye, Senior Sales Manager, Formats
Contact Realscreen Sales firstname.lastname@example.org Pompeii: The Untold Story (Documentary 1 x 90’) Raksha Dave and Dan Snow piece together the definitive account of what happened in the weeks, years and centuries after the volcanic disaster in 79AD. Produced by Voltage TV for Channel 5.
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NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS: THE SECRETS OF THE BUILDERS 2x52’ (2019) Last April, the world held its breath as Notre Dame, the most wondrous of cathedrals, almost burnt to the ground and with her 800 years of history. Our film tells Notre Dame’s story, starting in the Middle Ages, when master builders reinvented the art of construction to erect Gothic cathedrals. Eight centuries of passion, talent, blood, destruction and rebirth, during which time the cathedral witnessed some tumultuous moments in the history of France, from the most glorious to its darkest periods. A gripping docu drama using 3D animation combined with exclusive footage and interviews of historians, scientists, architects and engineers.
Architecture The Railways Built (Documentary Series 10 x 60’) The series showcases stunning railway architecture from across the UK and Europe built in the 19th Century. From grand stations to signal boxes, viaducts to railway villages and everything in between. A Brown Bob Productions production for Yesterday (UKTV)
World’s Most Expensive Cruise (Lifestyle 4 x 60’) A new lifestyle series which offers exclusive access and behind-the-scenes insight aboard the most luxurious ship ever built. Produced by ITN productions for Channel 5.
MIPTV LISTINGS AVAILABLE Red Arrow Studios International Medienallee 7, 85774 Unterfoehring, Germany +49 89 9507 7303 redarrowstudios.com/international/ firstname.lastname@example.org MIPCOM STAND: P4.C14
DOG’S MOST WANTED Reality Series (10 x 45’) Produced by: Dorsey Pictures and Entertainment by Bonnie and Clyde for WGN America The FBI, the US Marshalls, and every State throughout America have their ‘Most Wanted’ lists. Now celebrity bounty hunter Duane ‘The Dog’ Chapman is handpicking names from each of them to make a list of his own. After his wife Beth is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Dog decides to come out of retirement in an effort to help treat Beth with the one thing he knows will make her feel better: bringing fugitives to justice. At the beginning of each episode, Dog, members of his family and his ferocious team of hunters known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’ choose a criminal at large as their next target. Once we’ve heard what the fugitive did to earn their place on the list, the hunt is on! Meat the Family Entertainment Format Produced by: Spun Gold and Rise Films for Channel 4 (UK) How much do we really know about the animals we put on our plates? Why would we eat a lamb, but not a dog? This noisy, new social experiment series sees four meat-eating families welcome the animal they most frequently serve for dinner into their homes for three weeks - from chicken and sheep, to pigs and even cows - to see if living with it as a pet makes it less palatable to eat! During the experiment, the families learn about animal welfare; farming and production; food processing, and the impact eating animals has on the environment and our health. At the end of three weeks, they are forced to make a tough decision: go vegetarian forever and send the animal to a sanctuary, or remain meat eaters and kill their new best friend. CULT OF PERSONALITY Factual Series (6 x 48’) Produced by: Big Media for Reelz (US) Charles Manson. David Koresh. Jim Jones. Cult leaders whose twisted ideologies and horrific crimes have made their names synonymous with evil. The ability of these men to command devotion did not end with their imprisonment, or even necessarily with their deaths. Long after their convictions for kidnapping, abuse and murder, there are still those who choose to follow their warped teachings. Over six episodes, each focusing on a different cult, the series looks at the lives and legacies of some of history’s most notorious cult leaders and asks how they were able to charm, manipulate, and abuse so many for so long, and why people are still drawn to them. A compelling look at unquestioning devotion.
Contact Realscreen Sales email@example.com
ZDF Enterprises GmbH Erich-Dombrowski-Str.1 55127 Mainz / Germany phone: +49-6131-9911611 fax: +49-6131-9912611 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.zdf-enterprises.de
Ancient Skies Science + Knowledge (3 x 50’) With breath-taking CGI, beautiful landscape footage and some of the world’s most important astronomical artefacts, Ancient Skies looks at the cosmos through the eyes of our ancestors, and charts our changing views of the cosmos throughout history. We take a journey through past visions of the heavens from all over the world, from those of our earliest ancestors to the recent past. From hunter-gatherers to Edwin Hubble, we’ll see the myriad of ways that we have observed and imagined the heavens, and explain the science behind the things our ancestors sought to explain through mythology. Episodes: Gods and Monsters, Finding the Centre, Our Place in the Universe Produced by: Impossible Factual in association with PBS and ZDF Enterprises Lost Kings of Bioko Wildlife + Nature (1 x 50‘) Off the coast of Central Africa lies an isolated island, covered by primeval rainforest and surrounded by dark ocean waters, inhabited by a greater variety of species than nearly any other place on Earth this terra incognita is called BIOKO. The ruler of this realm is one of the world’s least known primate species, the drill. This film explores the secret lives of these, including the nesting grounds of various sea turtles and the rugged caldera. We follow Motuku, an alpha male, and his family. The newest member of the group is little Sipoti. Over the next few years he will learn the intricacies of the drill society – something researchers will be learning with him as little is known about this monkey species. Perhaps he’ll someday become an alpha and rule over his own rainforest kingdom on the island. Produced by: Doclights GmbH / NDR Naturfilm in association with NDR, WDR, ARTE, ORF, SVT and SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL
THE BOTTOM LINE
As producers continue to face shrinking margins and the challenges inherent in needing to do “more with less,” finding smarter, more efficient and yes, cheaper work solutions is more important than ever. Here, a look at two recent initiatives geared towards making it easier to make TV.
July of 2016, producers Colby Gaines, CEO of Back Roads Entertainment, and Michael Hirschorn, founder of Ish Entertainment, moved into an office space together. Besides sharing the space, they also shared ideas about working smarter — “economizing The GreenlightGO platform connects companies with space and our businesses and sharing and creating efficiencies in equipment available with those who need it. a space,” says Gaines. A few months into that process, another idea emerged. “I had been thinking about an The tech platform, like Airbnb, brings customers ‘Airbnb of production facilities,’ and and suppliers of space together through listings, Michael had been thinking about complete with photos and specs. “It’s discreet something similar, but not really and anonymous — you don’t know exactly whose as a tech platform,” Gaines recalls. space it is and that’s on purpose,” says Gaines. “I’ve had an office space for 18 or “We don’t want producers and storytellers 19 years and within reason, you reaching out directly to the facility, as most of the can predict when it’s going to be facilities are not in the business of being hotels for utilized. It’d be nice if it was used production. They’re production companies and for as far as the eye can see, but producers making shows.” that’s not how business works. One For those prodco owners looking to put their of the biggest challenges in business space and their gear to use while they’re is scaling up and scaling down between shows, says Gaines, “We can say to smartly and efficiently.” them, ‘We know you have a certain amount From there, Gaines and Hirschorn of space that’s not being optimized. How decided to invest in the notion can we help? We can be the sales team that producers with space and/or or sales support squad.’” The team is also equipment lying dormant for chunks establishing links with service suppliers such of the year would be interested in as music companies, legal and staffing. listing it via a platform used by Prospective suppliers can look at the contract producers in need. agreement on the site and if they choose to “When we did the research, we list their spaces, they can then post pictures By Barry Walsh found that space was the number two and information. “When we connect a storyteller most searched for item on the Internet with your supply and we consummate the deal, then for the entertainment business — number one was we take 15% of that deal,” says Gaines. “At this point, we’re of a personnel,” says Gaines. “So we had the research to manageable size with our database, so that we can vet every support it, and we had lived it.” supplier and storyteller who comes through the platform.” By the beginning of 2018, they invested further in That may change in the near future, as Gaines says GreenlightGO, people and tech, and eventually brought on Brian now representing spaces in eight U.S. cities, aims to be global by Meece, a friend of Gaines and co-founder of the the end of 2019, “in every major media city around the world.” crowdfunding site RocketHub, as CEO. By that point, Gaines sees the platform as a potential revenue driver for the idea was solidifying into what Gaines calls “a established producers, and a vital resource for those on the way up. mix of high touchpoint and tech,” and GreenlightGO Building a business in the current climate is “a lot of risk,” he began in earnest. says. “You have to find ways to do what you do by thinking smartly about that process.”
In establishing GreenlightGO, producers Colby Gaines and Michael Hirschorn have aimed to connect producers looking for an additional revenue source with producers looking for office space and in the process, create an “Airbnb of production facilities.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
An artists’s rendering of the Queens MediaWorks complex.
margin compression continues to impact the unscripted industry in the U.S., financial pressures have made producers realize the strength of community — the creation of the Non-Fiction Producers Association (now NPACT) in 2015 is a case in point. Now, through efforts to buoy the unscripted industry while also improving the bottom lines of prodcos big and small, producers are increasingly thinking outside the box — or, in this case, inside a couple of very big ones. Queens MediaWorks (QMW), a non-fiction production, media and business hub intended to serve the New York-based unscripted production industry, was first announced in 2017. Producers Bruce
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David Klein, president and executive producer at Atlas Media Corp, and Brent Montgomery, CEO of Wheelhouse Entertainment, were joined as founding partners by investor Richard Seet and his business partner, soccer star and entrepreneur David Villa. With support from New York State Assemblyman Francisco Moya, the team unveiled plans for a complex that would entail more than 150,000 square feet of office and production space, at 30-50% lower costs per square foot than the equivalent space in Manhattan. Fast forward to 2019, and the project is well underway, if a little different than first conceived. After announcing the initiative, gauging industry interest and interviewing a range of developers,
The upcoming Queens MediaWorks project aims to offer sizable cost reductions to New York’s non-fiction production industry, and fortify the unscripted community in the process. By Barry Walsh
according to Seet, “There was enormous interest in being able to potentially set up a campus for the non-fiction production industry in New York.” As a result, the team, working with leading real estate firm JLL, is now set to acquire two buildings in Long Island City, with an aggregate footprint of approximately 450,000 square feet. With assorted as-of-right incentives available to prospective companies looking for space, rents could come in at 50% of the going rate in Manhattan.
Klein cites Long Island City’s proximity to Manhattan — “You’re talking about a five to seven minute train ride from Grand Central,” he says — and the “insanely cheap” rents as the key factors for zeroing in on Long Island City. The current vision is for QMW to house more than 50 industry businesses — big and small and across a variety of sectors, from production space to post facilities and specialty service suppliers — across its twobuilding campus. One building is already built and “in move-in condition,” says Seet. Plans are to have that ready for business for the first quarter of 2020, and for the second building to be up and running by December of that year. Currently, a dozen prodcos are being outfitted for office space, and architects are working with three companies that are interested in having studio space within the buildings. As more producers look for cost-effective ways to operate their businesses, pool resources and work smarter, more projects such as Queens MediaWorks may emerge. For example, Sky Studios has just announced its own production hub, The Hive, set for New York and Knoxville, Tennessee. Klein says that bringing together prodcos with service providers and post facilities is an especially attractive move given the current climate. Klein adds that Seet is also working on “very interesting incentive plans for the companies that are part of it, to own a piece of the building and essentially be part of any increase in value over the years in the real estate.”
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REMIX YOUR BRAND SHERATON NEW ORLEANS
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PARTIES MEETING SPACE BRANDING CUSTOM OPPORTUNITIES
The Witches of Salem, a multi-part docudrama launching at MIPCOM, is a copro from Canada’s Saloon Media and Talos Films in the U.S. for Travel Channel and T+E.
IT’S OBVIOUS: As EVOLVE OR ELSE “Business as usual” is a phrase that is slowly but surely being eased out of the lexicon for content creators and distributors. Blue Ant International’s Solange Attwood, EVP of international sales, talks about the new normal in international distribution, in which diversiﬁcation in various forms is essential. 060
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the dog days of summer come to an end for those of us living in the Northern hemisphere, I have luckily had some — dare I say, well deserved — vacation time. On the beach and surrounded by friends and family, I was reminded of the simplicity of life. For me, the act of slowing down allows for the “obvious” to become clear. One of the most obvious realities facing our industry is that the distribution game has shifted. Although we all employ different strategies, gone are the days of running a distribution business solely by licensing ﬁnished content. And while there has been much discussion about distributors being the “new commissioners,” more importantly in this increasingly vibrant content landscape, the key to success across our industry is diversity. In a world where there is a growing appetite for original and ﬁrst-run
THE FINAL CUT
content, it is vital that distributors continue to diversify their sales tool kits. Distributors now work as agents to secure commissions, as Blue Ant International did with Channel 4 for our natural history series Orangutan Jungle School (produced by NHNZ). They fully fund content, as we did with our Best Cake Wins franchise; they broker global coproduction arrangements, such as The Witches of Salem, launching at MIPCOM; they facilitate alternative ﬁnancing models, including not-for-proﬁt or ad-funded; they are investing much earlier to help development efforts with trusted production partners; as well as securing branded blocks, output and package arrangements, and preselling their latest slates. These are only some of the new ways we are working with our clients and partners. One added benefit to this diversification, as well as the new multi-platform and global shape of the content business, is the beneficial consequence of pulling production and distribution activities closer together. This exciting shift has also created a groundswell of innovation and storytelling from an editorial perspective. Streaming services — buyers willing to open up billion-dollar wallets — have popularized foreign language content and continue to shift consumer consumption of content via the Internet at a global scale. All of our channel partners are upping their game as they continue to look for, and support, new and young talent, taking every opportunity to try unique formats and editorial approaches with the goal of standing out in a world with a lot of supply. The result? The creative choices that producers are now able to make are far more broad and, you guessed it, diverse. From our vantage point, Blue Ant Media’s global production studios have seen the beneﬁts of the new normal and are ﬁnding increased
success all over the globe. Saloon Media and Look Mom Productions! in Canada, Beach House Pictures in Singapore, Blue Ant Digital Studios in the U.S., Northern Pictures in Australia and NHNZ in New Zealand are all beneﬁting from an increased diversity in both their creative offerings and the deal making process.
All of our channel partners are upping their game... taking every opportunity to try unique formats and editorial approaches with the goal of standing out in a world with a lot of supply.”
Innovations such as alternative run times or chaptering of storytelling, the creation of hybrid genres, accelerated and constant advancement of new technology, and attention to inclusion and diversity both on and off screen are leading to never-before-seen stories that impact the cultural zeitgeist. If distributors want to stay relevant in a changing world, we too must diversify our editorial offerings in order to keep pace with growing demand and help to provide access to a unique and relevant array of storytelling. Last but not least, we need to diversify our own talent, be bold and take risks. A diversity of experience among your team and decisionmakers — be it through age, gender, ethnicity or geography — helps us better understand and take advantage of our truly global opportunities. 061
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Curated in partnership with the 2020 Advisory Board
Program highlights include a keynote from Kathleen Finch, Discovery Inc.
Solange Attwood EVP, International Blue Ant Media
Danny Horan Head of Factual Channel 4
Kathleen Finch Chief Lifestyle Brands Oﬃcer, Discovery, Inc.
Kate Beal Chief Executive Oﬃcer Woodcut Media
Tara Long President, Global Unscripted Television Entertainment One
Gena McCarthy Howard T. Owens EVP, Head of Unscripted Founder & Co-CEO Programming, Lifetime & Head Propagate Content of Programming, FYI A+E Networks
Alex Piper Head of Unscripted, North & South America YouTube Originals
Maggie Pisacane Partner, Non-Scripted TV WME
Sean Cohan President Wheelhouse
Ghen Maynard Senior EVP, Alternative Programming CBS Television Studios
Tina Perry President OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Maria Silver President Optomen Productions
THE INVISIBLES T H E E P I C , U N TO L D S TO R Y O F T H E N E W G E N E R AT I O N O F C O C A I N E M O G U L S Come see us at: MIPCOM stand R7. B16 www.beyonddistribution.com