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Culinary Content Hidden-Camera Series Arts Docs Discovery’s David Zaslav A+E Networks’ Abbe Raven www.tvreal.ws
HOT DOCS, MIPDOC & MIPTV EDITION THE MAGAZINE OF FACTUAL PROGRAMMING
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A+E Networks • Double Divas • Counting Cars • Betty & Coretta NorthSouth Productions’ Double Divas zeroes in on a lingerie boutique located in Atlanta, Georgia. The series offers “an eye-opening peek into the world of intimate apparel,” while “boasting a hilariously unfiltered cast exuding Southern charm and hospitality,” says Marielle Zuccarelli, the managing director of international content distribution at A+E Networks. Counting Cars focuses on the restoration and customization of classic cars and motorcycles, which are then sold for a profit. The show is led by Danny “The Count” Koker, who has frequently appeared on Pawn Stars. A+E Networks is also bringing to the market Betty & Coretta, a two-hour movie about the respective wives of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Betty & Coretta is a gripping film that touches on a side of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz that we don’t hear much about and which is very relatable,” adds Zuccarelli.
“All of our content employs high-end production values, strong story lines and larger-thanlife personalities that transcend cultural barriers.” —Marielle Zuccarelli
APT Worldwide In This Issue
• Head Games • Easy Like Water • Discover Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
From director and producer Steve James comes Head Games, which centers on the high occurrence of brain injuries in both amateur and professional athletes. The documentary will be a prime focus for APT Worldwide at MIPTV this year, along with Easy Like Water and Discover Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Easy Like Water is about a social entrepreneur named Mohammed Rezwan, who is creating solar-powered floating schools in Bangladesh. Discover Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is a musical documentary led by George Marriner Maull, a conductor for the Discovery Orchestra. “We really feel that the high production value of these programs and the unique topics are going to appeal to international buyers,” says Judy Barlow, APT Worldwide’s VP of international sales. “Health, climate change and music are of interest globally, and each of these films takes on these subjects in a totally new way that is relevant to viewers today.”
Food-based series are in demand
Funny Money Hidden-camera shows are a timeless genre
Culture Club Sales are healthy for arts programming
Interviews Discovery’s David Zaslav
A+E Networks’ Abbe Raven
Nat Geo’s Germaine Deagan Sweet
“We’re seeing that the trend toward bundled rights across all platforms has become pretty much an industry standard.” Discover Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
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ARTE France • Geolino • Budding Stars • The Mystery of Dark Matter
Ricardo Seguin Guise Publisher Anna Carugati Editor Mansha Daswani Executive Editor Kristin Brzoznowski Managing Editor Joanna Padovano Associate Editor Simon Weaver Online Director
ARTE France is showcasing a variety of unscripted programs that come from the European public channel ARTE. Among them is Geolino, which explains a number of worldly topics, including the Big Bang theory. As described by Cédric Hazard, the com pany’s head of international distribution, it is “the perfect documentary series for inquisitive boys and girls aged 8 to 14.” Budding Stars is a performing arts show that watches young dancers complete a training course in Paris. The series provides “a gentle and friendly look at the very tough days of those young kids aiming to be opera dancers,” says Hazard.The company is also offering The Mystery of Dark Matter, a scientific series about the unknown substance of which the majority of the universe is made up. “It’s not a MIPTV without a strong science doc to offer to the world; it’s one of the most requested genres from our catalogue,” says Hazard. “And when it comes to the universe and its mysteries, there’s no doubt that our clients will follow us on this one, too.”
“We believe that TV channels are focusing more and more on quality documentaries.” —Cédric Hazard Budding Stars
Victor L. Cuevas Production Director Phyllis Q. Busell Art Director Meredith Miller Production Associate Cesar Suero Sales & Marketing Director Vanessa Brand Sales & Marketing Manager Terry Acunzo Business Affairs Manager
Ricardo Seguin Guise President Anna Carugati Executive VP & Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development TV Real © 2013 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.tvreal.ws
Breakthrough Entertainment • Boundless • Going Global The latest series from Breakthough Entertainment, Boundless follows a pair of marathon runners as they complete races from Mexico to Iceland. “Boundless takes viewers on a spectacular worldwide adventure,” says Nat Abraham, the company’s president of distribution. “It will attract viewers from the very first episode and keep them there for each installment with the high-stakes drama of each competition and the riveting character study of two lifelong friends and rivals.” This year the company is also presenting Going Global, which explores international locations that are ideal for both business and pleasure. “Going Global is a very unique take on travel, as it targets the business traveler and showcases all the glamour of the world’s top locations to live, work and play,” adds Abraham. He says that in addition to strong linear deals for Breakthrough, “the growth of OTT,VOD and IPTV platforms have increased the overall demand for our content.”
GET DAILY NEWS ON FACTUAL PROGRAMMING
“Asia and Latin America have been significant growth markets for us.” —Nat Abraham Boundless
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Canamedia • Saving the Ocean • Hellbound? • Robot Warriors Headlining Canamedia’s catalogue is Saving the Ocean, a new series that highlights the biologists, scientists, conservationists, fishermen and activists who are trying to preserve the ocean and its numerous inhabitants. Hellbound? is an investigative documentary that goes straight to the center of the debate about whether hell exists. It also explores the question, if it does, who goes there and why? The company has also lined up Robot Warriors, which examines the impact of robotic warfare. “This year we’ve focused on adding socially relevant and provocative titles to our catalogue that will enlighten while entertaining,” says Andrea Stokes, Canamedia’s international sales and acquisitions manager. “Our new programming touches on international issues that are currently hot in the media and will serve to spark debate among viewers.”
“Big, loud characters and wild observational doc-style series are continuing to be front and foremost in popularity.” Robot Warriors
Novovision • Pop Toon • Junior Hidden Camera
Novovision is serving up Pop Toon, which combines cartoons from the golden age of animation and today, for international buyers. “The premium compilation show brings together playful animation with universal appeal,” says François-Xavier Poirier, the company’s founder and CEO. Also on offer is Junior Hidden Camera, which has already enjoyed success in India and North America. According to Poirier, Novovision hopes to sell the title to European buyers at MIPTV, where the company is also introducing a new hidden-camera format. “Merging the best of hidden camera and the success of reality TV, we are creating a new concept that will be officially presented during MIPTV,” Poirier says. “The first preorders are already in the pipes, as this new concept will be the beginning of a new hidden-camera era.”
Junior Hidden Camera
“Our shows are unifying programs that bring together all the members of the family in front of the TV screen.” —François-Xavier Poirier
Passion Distribution • The Vanilla Ice Project • Save Our Business • The Good Son After having recently merged with Mentorn International, Passion Distribution comes to this year’s market with an expanded catalogue. First up on the unscripted slate is The Vanilla Ice Project, a property series led by the American rapper known as Vanilla Ice. Save Our Business watches as multimillionaire Peter Jones tries to rescue struggling companies. Then there is The Good Son, a feature documentary focused on Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, a boxer whose punches during a 1982 match led to the death of his opponent. “It is a beautifully made documentary which tells an amazing story and should resonate well with buyers,” says Sally Miles, the CEO of Passion Distribution. “This carefully crafted feature doc has wide appeal to biography, sports and also human-interest documentary buyers.”
“We’ve seen more demand for standout brand-defining factual series.” The Vanilla Ice Project 290 World Screen 4/13
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Terranoa • The Coasts of Brazil from Above • Rio: The Great Saga • Animal Doctors Brazil takes center stage in Terranoa’s five-part series The Coasts of Brazil from Above and the documentary Rio: The Great Saga. “Broadcasters are always looking for innovative and timely topics that can catch viewers’ attention,” says Isabelle Graziadey, the company’s head of international sales and acquisitions. “In Rio: The Great Saga, the mix of fictional sequences and 3D visualization brings a fresh approach to landmark history docs.” Terranoa is also looking to sell Animal Doctors, a science one-off that tackles the traditional boundaries between man and animal. In addition, Terranoa is showcasing Looking for Picasso, an event profile on the famed artist, and Killer Drones and Secret Wars, which examines the use of robotics in the battlefield.
“We have extended our presence in Latin America, which is an area where business continues to grow.” —Isabelle Graziadey
The Funny Shorts Company • Caramba Hidden Camera • The Stunt Comedy Show • Cheeky Cam
The series Caramba Hidden Camera is targeted at children and adults alike. “Surprise, outrage and maybe even a little bit of fear for a moment is what victims find themselves discovering in this wildly funny candid-camera show,” says Mads DirckinckHolmfeld, the CEO of The Funny Shorts Company. The Stunt Comedy Show uses stuntmen as performers in a series of nonverbal slapstick-style sketches. “The Stunt Comedy Show is an example of a top-quality production where care is taken not only to produce the funniest sketches, but also to do this at a very high technical standard,” adds Dirckinck-Holmfeld. “The show is shot in HD, and great care has been taken to ensure the audio side works perfectly.” The company also brings to the market Cheeky Cam, a new hidden-camera program.
The Stunt Comedy Show
“It’s a big world out there and the nonverbal comedy genre can sell anywhere.” —Mads Dirckinck-Holmfeld
World Wide Entertainment • Ocean Models • Against the Grain: The Year Mother Nature Struck Back • Ubiq: Cool Stories about Cool People The glamour and drama of the modeling world come to light in Ocean Models, a reality series from World Wide Entertainment that revolves around the world’s first six-star modeling agency. Also from World Wide Entertainment, Against the Grain:TheYear Mother Nature Struck Back is about farming families who are managing their harvests in a difficult growing season. There is also Ubiq: Cool Stories about Cool People, which depicts creative trends and styles from around the world. “Every episode is a tale, structured around a theme that shows products, trends and characters,” says Mem Bakar,World Wide Entertainment’s sales director. Referring to all three highlights, Bakar says, “They all have elements that a large audience base can relate to, and we believe the audience will be quite receptive to the themes and stories covered.”
Against the Grain: The Year Mother Nature Struck Back
“Europe is our main focus at the market, [including] Scandinavia and Benelux.” —Mem Bakar 292 World Screen 4/13
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ITVS GE’s There’s No Taste Like Home.
TastyTV Food-based series led by star culinary talents are in demand across multiple platforms. By Kristin Brzoznowski
t wasn’t too long ago that there was only a smattering of cooking shows on the air, most of which were relegated to daytime public television. My, how things have changed! There is now an incredible variety of food programming, including entire networks dedicated to the genre, hit prime-time series and hosts who are regarded as culinary rock stars. Indeed, talent-led food-based programming has generated big business for many in the media industry, among them FremantleMedia International. “I think it’s fair to say that FremantleMedia International has one of the most enviable lifestyle portfolios there is,” says David Ellender, the company’s CEO. “We work with the most established and renowned names in food, such as Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart and Anthony Bourdain, along with build the profile and reach of fresh new talent with international potential like the U.K.’s Lorraine Pascale, New Zealand’s Annabel Langbein, Australia’s Donna Hay and David Chang in the U.S.” FremantleMedia International’s approach to the business of food programming is about much more than just selling 294 World Screen 4/13
the shows, Ellender explains. “We help our talent build their brands by the strategic placement of their TV content on international broadcasters and platforms. That’s why we are home to evergreen franchises like Martha and Jamie. In this genre it really is all about the talent.” Sally Miles, the CEO of Passion Distribution, agrees on this point. “The talent here is key,” she says. “Adam Richman is a driving force for the Man v. Food Nation brand, and has now become a strong personality for some networks.” TOP CHEFS
Passion, which is the distributor for the Food Network programming, is also home to Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day and Brunch @ Bobby’s, both of which have new seasons being launched at MIPTV and are led by well-known personalities—Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, respectively. “Furthermore, quality and perpetuity are big selling points,” Miles continues. “When channels consider picking up a series they are often looking for a brand they can build. Good production value is as important as longevity; these
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two components have been strong factors in the success of Cupcake Wars, which is now in its seventh season, launching at MIPTV. It is also a creative show which is simple and accessible, and that has, along with the current baking trend, helped its success.” Having strong talent leading the show is certainly one attractive element for broadcasters and viewers. In other cooking series, it is the added entertainment value of competitions that has the draw. With these shows, the chemistry between the contestants is an essential ingredient. ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) has found this to be the case with several of its competition-style programs, including Best Dish and Hell’s Kitchen. BATTLE ROYALE
“Best Dish…is a competition for real people to show their cooking prowess with a real prize at the end—their dish in the marketplace—so it offers real achievement,” says Mike Beale, the director of international formats for ITV Studios. “Over 400 episodes have aired with both amateur and, more recently, professionals competing.” At MIPTV, ITVS GE is launching Cook Me the Money, produced by ITV Studios. “It steps up the amateur competition to a new level, as it is not professional chefs or food critics who decide what’s best but the public,” explains Beale. “The contestants must learn about the business of food as they compete to cook and sell the most dishes from neighboring food vans.” Breakthrough Entertainment also reports a strong appetite for culinary battles featuring relatable, everyday chefs. “Lately we have found with food-based series that there has been a greater demand for shows with competition, conflict and high stakes,” says Nat Abraham, the company’s president of distribution. “Strong characters competing with one another, as seen in Breakthrough’s American Food Battle, creates dramatic tension and provides an entertaining foray into food and into the people who have devoted their lives to it.”
Tricon Films & Television, which represents such titles as Restaurant Makeover and its spinoff Restaurant Takeover as well as the edgier Bitchin’ Kitchen, has had success in a number of territories around the globe. Jon Rutherford, the company’s senior VP of distribution and business development, says that those shows’ international appeal stems from the fact that they are “fresh and young.” He adds, “The quality of production as well as the long-running life of each title has proven that they attract a mass audience and stay relevant and exciting in today’s ever-changing television marketplace.” Niche channels devoted exclusively to food or broader lifestyle channels provide a great home for this genre of programming, says Rutherford. “However, with the increase in major competition series that are food-based and character-driven, the bigger terrestrial networks tend to pick them up for prime-time slots,” Rutherford notes. Passion’s Miles says that lifestyle and food channels have been the more obvious buyers, “however, more and more adventure-based networks are angling themselves towards food challenges and outdoor food-based programming. Man v. Food Nation and The Great Food Truck Race are perfect examples of this, with The Great Food Truck Race appealing to mainstream broadcasters and Man v. Food Nation being a typically male-skewing show. Cupcake Wars primarily attracts a female audience and therefore broadcasters keen on female programming always show great interest when new seasons of this series become available.”
Abraham says that a unique and appealing quality about Breakthrough’s food-based content is the reality elements. This makes the shows appealing to both male and female viewers alike, he says, since audiences feel like they can identify with what’s going on in the show. “David Rocco [in David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway and David Rocco’s Dolce Vita] takes audiences to Italy’s ocean shores, fishes and cooks meals right there on the beach. On the other side of the pond, chefs Henri and Nicolas from American Food Battle have a blast as they meet to challenge some of the grittiest chefs in America. Meanwhile, Craig [Harding] and Rob [Rossi] take us to the depths of the forest in Opening: Campagnolo as they forage for mushrooms in their attempt to create the perfect menu using local ingredients. The down-to-earth appeal of our culinary programs gives our broadcasters a unique taste for their audiences.” Breakthrough has licensed these shows to countries all over the world, says Abraham, “however, the territory that has consistently invested in our food-based programming is the Asia-Pacific region. Eastern and Central Europe have started to become strong licensees as well.” 4/13 World Screen 295
Chef’s choice: Breakthrough’s Opening: Bestellen is one installment in a franchise that looks at the launch of a new restaurant.
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In the kitchen: Jamie Oliver is the face of a number of shows represented by FremantleMedia International, including Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals.
FremantleMedia’s Ellender says that there is no rule of thumb for scheduling when it comes to culinary content. “Good food is of universal interest and is something that we can all relate to at any time of day! However, if you take the U.K. market for example, there is a long-standing popularity for cookery programming on Saturday and Sunday mornings— and these shows are often a fusion of chat/magazine shows and cookery. When a popular broadcaster wants to place your food show during prime time, you know you have something outstanding—and this usually means an exceptional concept and/or talent.” TRADITIONAL TASTES
Traditional linear broadcast deals have remained solid for food programming, but, as Passion’s Miles points out, the emerging digital and VOD platforms are quickly becoming strong propositions for content providers. “VOD opportunities are continually opening up for food programming,” says Miles. “We are finding that as platforms expand their genre reach they are able to cater to more niche audiences. It appeals to the audiences looking for great-quality food programming online with the opportunity of great supporting take-home advice.” “Good content that audiences love will always find a home on digital platforms, especially if it has repeatability,” agrees Dan Gopal, the senior VP of global digital media and home entertainment at ITVS GE. “By offering consumers the ability to watch their favorite shows while on the move and away from their TVs, the show will attract existing and new fans across all demographics, watching on their computers, tablets and mobile devices. For example, Hell’s Kitchen is incredibly successful across both broadcast and digital platforms in the U.S.” 296 World Screen 4/13
FremantleMedia’s Ellender adds, “The great thing about having our food programming on digital platforms is that viewers can be running the content on their iPad right next to the [stove]! Currently we have a range of programming available on iTunes in the U.S. and U.K., including selected Jamie Oliver (U.S. only), Anthony Bourdain and Bill Granger series available for download. This is something we’d like to exploit further going forward. “In [addition], we license many of our shows to the foremost airlines in the world and find that our food programming is hugely popular—in particular the Jamie Oliver- and Anthony Bourdain-fronted shows,” Ellender continues. “The inflight market continues to change and now new technology content-service providers have the capability to offer our programs directly onto handheld devices such as phones and tablets while on board; flyers have even more opportunities to watch their favorite food programs at the touch of a button.” The opportunities in the digital world also include online recipes and tips, shorts made specifically for online platforms and additional content for VOD users. This makes it a more immersive viewing experience for the audience and provides another touch-point for producers and distributors. “We have robust social media and websites for all the shows we produce and distribute, which is particularly important for food series, as they are host-driven,” says Tricon’s Rutherford. “With chefs becoming celebrities in their own right, it’s important that they interact with their viewers through tweeting, Facebook updates, sharing recipes, etc. In terms of merchandise, cookbooks continue to be a main source of brand-extension revenue, and it’s an endless industry within itself. For example, Nadia G., the very popular host of Bitchin’ Kitchen, has her own cookbooks as well as original online content.” HUNGRY FOR BRANDS
At Passion, DVD has been the main outlet for merchandising. “We’ve done deals for Ace of Cakes and Man v. Food Nation,” shares Miles. “Along with the box sets consumers get cooking utensils and occasionally recipe cards.” Publishing and DVDs present just two of the many opportunities to extend brands in the food arena. Other merchandise extensions include cookware, cutlery, spices and electronic kitchen accessories, which can all be branded to go alongside hit shows and notable culinary talents.This category also lends itself quite organically to promotional tie-ins and sponsorships that can be integrated into the shows. The general consensus from distributors of food programming is overwhelmingly positive. Linear sales are still a healthy business and are being bolstered by the digital and inflight markets as well as online and merchandising extensions. “Demand for food programming is still growing; its genres have broadened, creating greater opportunity on more mainstream channels,” says Passion’s Miles. “Good quality food programming on location like The Great Food Truck Race and Eat Street is currently high in demand. Street food for many territories is a growing phenomenon and ahead of the curve.” ITV Studios’ Beale also is optimistic about the overall health of this genre. “Slots are becoming available in territories that have not previously been dominated by cooking, such as Latin America and Asia, and, of course, as some shows tire there is a need for replacements. Food will always be a central part of our life and so will not ever truly leave our screens.”
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ZASLAV: Italy is an example of a market where the free-to-air digital terrestrial television platform enjoys significantly greater penetration than pay TV, and where it makes sense for Discovery to invest in free-to-air channels.The success of Real Time, which we launched two years ago and is now the seventh most-watched channel among female viewers in Italy, is an example of how this strategy has been successful. The acquisition of Switchover makes us the third-largest broadcaster in Italy, which is a huge move for us. This new portfolio of 12 channels gives us the diversification of the genres to grow and gives us significantly improved scale in this key market. We made a similar move with the acquisition of Fatafeat, the number one food network in the Middle East, which gives us great reach, presence and diversification in that important market.
David Zaslav By Anna Carugati
With more than 155 networks reaching some 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 200-plus countries, Discovery Communications has become the world’s leading nonfiction media company. President and CEO David Zaslav is focused on further growth internationally, not only in pay-TV markets, but as recent deals have demonstrated, also in free-TV channels.
TV REAL: What has driven the success of Investigation
Discovery (ID)? ZASLAV: If you look around the world, forensics and investigation programming is the most popular genre in scripted television. Recognizing that, five years ago, Discovery took advantage of one of the key genres on our flagship and mined our extensive library of forensics and investigation programming to launch a nonfiction channel in that genre with ID, and it has become the fastest-growing cable network in the U.S. It is also number one in all of television in length of tune-in, which demonstrates how great storytelling can keep viewers from changing channels. Last year, given the universal appeal of the genre, we began to roll out ID as a global brand and it has been equally well received, particularly in markets like Eastern Europe and Latin America. TV REAL: What was the strategy behind the recent deals with TF1 and SBS Nordic? ZASLAV: For the past several years, given Discovery’s strong free cash flow and balance sheet, we have been actively looking for opportunities to further solidify our international platform through the acquisition of assets that further extend our presence in key markets and support our long-term growth strategy. Together, our equity stake in TF1 and acquisition of SBS Nordic (which is expected to close in the first quarter) solidify organic growth by adding new dual-revenue-stream networks and programming platforms to our business, new opportunities for genre expansion across our portfolio, and new and complementary sales teams to our executive ranks. TV REAL: And tell us about the recent deal to acquire Switchover
Media in Italy, which operates pay- and free-TV channels? 298 World Screen 4/13
TV REAL: What main growth areas are you seeing in Discovery’s international businesses and in the domestic businesses? ZASLAV: Discovery’s mission is to be the number one provider of high-quality content around the world and across all screens. We achieve this by investing in compelling content for our brands to capture additional market share in mature pay-TV markets, such as the U.S. and Western Europe, and increasing our subscriber base in high-growth markets, led by Brazil and Mexico in Latin America, Poland and Russia in Eastern Europe, and India in Asia.We are also investing in digital platforms, such as Revision3, to capture audiences on new platforms. TV REAL: Discovery was one of the first companies to own all
its content.What advantages have you derived from this strategy? ZASLAV: Content ownership is one of the primary differen-
tiators that has powered Discovery to become the number one pay-TV programmer in the world. Ownership enables us to take our content around the world and use it on our international networks in over 200 countries, which is particularly valuable for Discovery because our nonfiction programming has universal appeal. With our extensive library, we also can quickly and economically launch new channels and brands, and create new short-form content for our digital platforms. TV REAL: What is Discovery’s strategy for making its content available on digital platforms like Netflix or Amazon? ZASLAV: As more players enter the distribution market, there is more demand than ever for quality content to fill those pipes, which is great for Discovery. While the traditional pay-TV model remains at our core, we have worked with new digital providers to create a new window for slightly older content. Whether it is older series that no longer air on our networks, or older seasons of current series, the digital platforms provide Discovery with additional opportunities to monetize our extensive content library, and it can help drive linear viewing by introducing viewers to content they may not have seen.
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By Anna Carugati
Nonfiction programming has been at the heart of A+E Networks. Real-life franchises like Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty have fueled ratings on A&E. HISTORY’s hit series Ice Road Truckers and American Pickers have been accompanied by events like America: The Story of Us and fact-based scripted fare like Hatfields & McCoys and Vikings. Even Lifetime has transformed from primarily a TV-movie channel to one with unscripted hits like Dance Moms, America’s Supernanny and Double Divas, as well as event biopics. A+E Networks’ president and CEO, Abbe Raven, talks about the importance of event television and creating communities and outreach programs around great content.
TV REAL: Tell us about some of the big events coming up on HISTORY, A&E and Lifetime. RAVEN: On HISTORY, we recently aired Vikings, [a ninepart drama series from Michael Hirst, the creator of The Tudors]. And we have so many great things in the pipeline and that is a huge part of our company—we never rest on our success. We rely on a portfolio of shows that deliver a big audience. I am really excited for The Bible, [a ten-part mini-series from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey], combined with current hit series like Pawn Stars and Counting Cars on HISTORY. Lifetime has great original movies. Betty & Coretta, which tells the true stories of Coretta Scott King, the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dr. Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcolm X, is a great movie that just aired to big success, and the upcoming Ring of Fire is about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. On A&E we have Bates Motel, a contemporary prequel to the genre-defining film Psycho, which joins big hit series like Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty [and the most successful justice shows on cable, including The First 48]. TV REAL: How important are events to the continued suc-
cess and relevance of linear channels, given that we live in a world where viewers increasingly want to watch whenever and wherever? RAVEN: We have a portfolio approach to programming. It is about driving big audiences from one hit to another. Our brands are this great environment that are viewer destinations for great content.That is why our iPad apps are incredibly popular when they launch—because people want content from our brands; they have come to expect great things from them. TV REAL: How is A+E Networks satisfying the viewer penchant for “whenever and wherever” viewing? RAVEN: Our content is available everywhere and anytime. We work with all our distribution partners to ensure it is on every platform they offer. That said, we also love big event television that drives big audiences to one viewing. We use social media and technology as tools to drive that and create a community around our content. TV REAL: A+E Networks has several outreach programs.Tell us about some of them and why they are important. RAVEN: Our outreach work is an extension of our core philosophy of serving the viewer.We are invited into people’s homes and we take that responsibility seriously. So we create outreach programs that our viewers care about. HISTORY centers around Veterans Affairs. On Lifetime, we focus on women’s health, especially breast cancer awareness and women’s empowerment. And on A&E we do a lot in the area of addiction in association with our Emmy Award-winning series Intervention. TV REAL: What opportunities are you seeing in international markets, both for channels and for program sales? RAVEN: We have brands that clearly resonate around the world. We are often number one, number two or number three in every pay market around the globe because we tell universal stories with universal themes. We are excited about the expansion of Lifetime around the world because it is a great platform for women’s programming and empowerment. That is one of our main goals in the next few years. 300 World Screen 4/13
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Y N N FU
The Funny Shorts Company’s The Stunt Comedy Show.
Distributors of hidden-camera shows are finding new ways to innovate a timeless TV genre.
By Mansha Daswani
ome of the most captivating footage of the meteor that
Sexploded over a Russian city in February came from so-
called “dash cams”—video cameras installed on the dashboards of cars across the country. Used to help Russians verify insurance claims and expose extortionist cops, dash cams have become a leading source of shocking caught-on-camera moments—car crashes, fistfights, a truck full of cows tipping over on a road—and people around the world can’t seem to get enough of them.The latest viral video sensation, the Russian dash-cam craze is yet another evolution of the hiddencamera genre that has been entertaining audiences for decades. Indeed, more than 50 years after Allen Funt made “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” a globally recognized catchphrase, viewers continue to be enthralled by prank shows, outrageous home videos and, increasingly, shocking clips captured by now ubiquitous camera-enabled smartphones. However, now that anyone can shoot and upload a video within minutes and quickly notch up millions of views onYouTube, professional producers of hidden-camera content have been forced to step up their game. Red Arrow International did this by offering up a new spin on the genre with Benidorm Bastards, a concept that originated in 302 World Screen 4/13
Belgium. “Normally, it’s old folks who are the butt of the jokes,” says Jens Richter, Red Arrow International’s managing director, on the usual hidden-camera prank-show fare. “Our seniors are energetic, clever and they play pranks on the younger generation—resulting in some sidesplitting situations.” Red Arrow has clinched a number of deals on Benidorm Bastards, including a U.S. adaptation fronted by a globally recognized personality. “Everyone knows, and loves, Betty White,” Richter says. “She is a true American icon and is known for her humor and sass.” Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, produced for NBC, has found slots around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Japan and Israel. COMMON LANGUAGE
While White’s presence has boosted the international success of Off Their Rockers, Richter notes that the main strength of the show is its easily translatable concept. “Every culture has senior citizens—but we make them look cool.” Karoline Spodsberg, the managing director of Banijay International, which distributes several hidden-camera formats, explains that prank shows in general have universal appeal.
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ancing the “fine line between ‘feel good’ and the slightly risqué style that appeals to most audiences.” Cheeky Cam, meanwhile, is “a bit more edgy/sexy,” he says, while The Stunt Comedy Show is better suited to platforms with a male skew. FAMILY FUN
Oldies but goodies: Red Arrow’s NBC series Betty White’s Off Their Rockers features a host of prank-staging senior citizens.
“When it comes to humor, a simple approach is often the most effective, and the practical joke, slapstick humor of a hidden-camera show crosses most cultural divides. There’s something quite visceral, too, about hidden-camera shows. Because the reactions we see people display are absolutely real and spontaneous, we can easily put ourselves in their shoes and imagine how we would react in the same ridiculous, absurd, frustrating or confusing situation.” AFL Productions, which owns a substantial catalogue of hidden-camera content, has built a successful business out of selling dialogue-free prank shows and clip series around the world, beginning with Camera of Laughs in 2003. Based on the success of that show, the company developed Naked & Funny, which has now been sold into 60-plus markets, including Russia, Poland, Brazil, Korea and the U.S., reports Scott Hanock, the company’s VP and international sales manager. “It’s a perfect combination of comedy and eros,” says Hanock on the broad appeal of the show. “Naked & Funny has proven that hidden camera with a sexy twist gives audiences what they need at 11 p.m. or later. A little comedy, a little sexiness, and it’s in short segments, which is actually good for this time slot. People don’t want to concentrate on long movies [at this time]—half way through the movie they are going to sleep.” Naked, however, doesn’t work everywhere, prompting the creation of Funny, But Not Naked and Crazy TV Pranks. The Funny Shorts Company has also taken the dialoguefree route with its hidden-camera shows. “The fact that all our shows are nonverbal is what makes the genre so marketable,” says Mads Dirckinck-Holmfeld, the company’s CEO. “There isn’t a single country in the world that will not be able to appreciate the comedic value of a good nonverbal gag.Also, the humor is broad and therefore the gags have a wide appeal.” One of the company’s top properties is Caramba Hidden Camera, which “has the sunny and warm feeling of a great hidden-camera show,” Dirckinck-Holmfeld says, while bal304 World Screen 4/13
France’s Novovision has opted to specialize in content that will play to audiences of all ages. In the prank-show business for more than a decade, Novovision has produced in excess of 400 episodes of Pop Corn TV, which has sold into more than 100 markets, as well as numerous other hiddencamera series, among them Junior Hidden Cameras and Mad Kids—where children are the targets of pranks—and Gagsters, where they are the perpetrators. “Our non-dialogue, nonviolent, nonsexual and nonreligious shows are aimed for a global family audience,” says François-Xavier Poirier, the company’s founder and CEO. “Our shows are unifying—bringing together all the members of the family in front of the TV.” Latin America and Eastern Europe, in particular, have been lucrative regions for Novovision, and Asia has quickly emerged as a key market for the company. “Asia has become our leading area in terms of sales, representing more than 50 percent of our business. We have been particularly successful in countries such as Malaysia,Thailand and the Philippines.” For the companies offering these non-dialogue shows, having volume has been essential, allowing them to offer packages to broadcasters who can either air the content in half-hour segments or use the footage as interstitials between shows or as part of longer variety series. “We sell hidden-camera gags both as individual segments and as full episodes, with editing rights,” says DirckinckHolmfeld. “This gives our clients maximum flexibility.” Hanock, who spent more than two decades delivering entertainment clips and home-video shows to the global market before joining AFL, also emphasizes the flexibility that hidden-camera shows offer. “Many broadcasters put them in a wheel—so instead of a full half hour, they might do it in a 15-minute block, or they might be doing a one-hour variety show where [AFL content is] inserted for 10 to 15 minutes.” However, having a local bent is important for many broadcasters, and Hanock says that AFL is in discussions with potential partners in Colombia, Brazil, Romania and Korea “to put their faces or bring their own content to the mix. We’d love to see that.” “Most buyers prefer to take the shows as is,” observes Dirckinck-Holmfeld. “However, I do think there is a potential to apply existing formats/scripts to territories that focus mostly on local content—i.e., North America.” Novovision is also selling the format rights to its shows, notching up agreements in Brazil, Canada, India, China and Malaysia. LOST IN TRANSLATION
Banijay International has secured a number of format deals on its hidden-camera offerings, led by My Parents Are Gonna Love You and Celebrity Undercover. “They each provide an original take on the classic hidden-camera show idea,” says Spodsberg. The common thread between them, she says, “is that the people who are truly embarrassing
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Caught in the act: AFL’s hidden-camera catalogue includes Crazy TV Pranks.
themselves are celebrities who have signed up for the show knowing exactly what is going to happen to them. The unwitting members of the public that are involved might be confused, annoyed or shocked, but not humiliated.” Spodsberg notes that there are specific challenges to adapting candid-camera series, “especially in order to make them look like slick prime-time productions. They also often demand a different shooting schedule to other types of programming in order to not ‘give the game away.’ Often many episodes, if not an entire series, will need to be shot in advance of the launch, and many producers will consider season two development before the launch of the
first season in order to keep the show fresh and not arouse suspicion among the public.” With their celebrity elements, Banijay’s My Parents Are Gonna Love You and Celebrity Undercover are variations on a classic, tested genre. Whatever other subgenres come out of the candid-camera field, those involved in this business maintain that the most important element is the reaction shot. “You may invent the fanciest idea for a gag, but if the ‘victim’s’ reactions are not there, then you simply don’t have a gag,” says Dirckinck-Holmfeld. “Candid camera is audienceinvolving reality content. And what you want to achieve from your victims is surprise, outrage and maybe even a little bit of fear for a moment—only to end up with a big smile on their faces.” Innovation, however, is essential, and producers and distributors are keen to find new spins on the genre. Banijay’s Spodsberg believes that candid-camera shows “will need to find ways to embrace interactivity and audience participation in order to remain current and relevant.” AFL is eyeing some new concepts within the hidden-camera field, while also looking to expand its reality-clips business. It already offers 2Rude4UTube and Wild & Crazy to the international market. Whatever the variations, distributors believe that as long as they can continue to amuse, entertain and shock, the hidden-camera genre will remain a staple with broadcasters across the globe.
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Culture CLUB The VOD, pay-per-view and in-flight markets are providing a healthy boost for sales of arts programming.
By Kristin Brzoznowski
rom the works of Botticelli, Bach and Beethoven to Monet, Mozart and Matisse, the beauty of the art world provides fertile ground for TV producers and programmers. Awe-inspiring paintings and works of classical music have yielded many documentaries about their creators, and live theatrical stage plays, concerts and ballets can be broadcast for viewers to enjoy in the privacy and comfort of their living rooms. While the productions certainly may be pleasing for the eyes and ears, making sure they reach an appreciative audience is one of the foremost concerns of distributors of arts and cultural programming. For some, including ABC Commercial, finding slots for artsbased content hasn’t been much of an issue.The company represents the Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet’s catalogues, “which are very successful for us,” says Natalie Lawley, the manager of content sales at the distribution arm of the Australian public broadcaster ABC. “Ballet titles, including Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, have continued to perform well across all rights. There is also a lot of interest in theatrical screenings for live performances. “Arts documentaries seem to be of renewed interest for buyers over the past 18 months or so,” she continues, pointing to the success of titles such as Life in Movement, a biography of the dancer and artist Tanja Liedtke, and Anatomy, which looks at how the body works as a driving force in the creative process. “These arts documentary titles have sold across Asia to both pan-regional and local broadcasters, as well as to free-to-air channels in Canada and the U.K.,” says Lawley. “The live performances have sold to Russia, pan-Asia, Japan, Portugal, Canada, Germany, the U.K., the U.S. and New Zealand. This is a very broad reach that continues to grow.” She adds that public broadcasters and niche pay-TV channels seem to be the largest buyers of this type of programming, alongside some strong interest coming through from the theatrical market. Cédric Hazard, the head of international sales and acquisitions at ARTE Sales in France, agrees that public broadcasters 308 World Screen 4/13
have been the core clients for placing arts films. “However, in the past two years, many new arts and culture channels are popping up, much to our delight!” He points to the recently launched Sky Arts HD in Italy as well as STUDIO in Australia. “Series are definitively a must for the channels involved in arts programming,” says Hazard. He points to AVRO in the Netherlands, SBS in Australia, ARTE in France and ARTV in Canada as being strong supporters of arts programming throughout the years. Hazard also says that arts programming is among the few genres that are still popular in the home-entertainment market. “Our Architectures series has been published on DVD in more than 15 countries, from the U.S., Australia and Japan to Taiwan, Holland, Spain, France, Germany and the U.K.” ART AT HOME
DVD sales provide an additional outlet for distributors of arts programming outside of traditional TV slots. Finding supplementary platforms for this content has become increasingly important as more and more factual channels turn toward reality-based content to fill their schedules. “There’s a lot of reality programming out there on channels that you would think would have more of an arts bent,” says Kevin Sullivan, CEO and executive producer at Sullivan Entertainment. “A lot of arts programming is really niche, and it’s much more difficult to program.” Sullivan says that for some broadcasters it comes down to the costs of arts content being prohibitive. “The most difficult thing for broadcasters that are interested in arts programming is funding it in today’s marketplace, as opposed to reality programming, which is much more easily funded and easily co-produced.True documentaries and real arts documentaries are trickier.The pay-per-view and the online markets may offer producers other outlets now, as [viewers’] eyeballs start to congregate in different ways.” Andrea Stokes, the international sales and acquisitions manager at Canamedia, agrees that the Internet has opened up new opportunities for arts programs. “Digital deals are
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becoming standard for most programming now, so it’s no surprise that arts programming is also following the same pattern worldwide.” Stokes adds that in general, Canamedia’s biggest sales growth is coming from VOD and SVOD deals, “because more and more programming genres can be offered and digital is not limited to space as the linear broadcast channels are.” She also reports that the company has done many in-flight deals with airlines for its arts-based documentaries and concert specials. Sullivan, too, has found placement for its titles on in-flight VOD platforms, including selling Out of the Shadows, which blends scientific techniques and art connoisseurship, to KLM and Air Canada, among other outlets. Airlines constitute a growing business for ARTE Sales as well. “In-flight is one of the new media for documentaries that we’ve explored and developed in the past years,” says Hazard. “For instance, The World According to Anish Kapoor has been sold to almost ten airlines. And this is just the beginning!” “We sell an awful lot of arts, both documentaries and live performances, to in-flight buyers worldwide,” reports ABC Commercial’s Lawley. “This will definitely continue to grow. Digital channels have not been so quick to secure rights for this genre, but I think we will see that change during the next couple of years.”
antees become more of a standard, this is good news for producers, says Hazard, who have significant production costs to grapple with when it comes to filming arts content. A WORLD STAGE
ABC’s Lawley has found it to be difficult for certain types of arts programming to travel internationally. “It may be a brilliant documentary but if the artists aren’t known locally or there is no international link in the title, this can be challenging,” she says. Canamedia’s Stokes disagrees. “Arts programming is one of the few genres that transcends all borders and cultures; it is universal,”she says. “For example,Vincent van Gogh is just as iconic in North America as he is in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world.” Overall, she says, “this programming has a timeless value that fits into many slots: history, entertainment, documentary and education. Not to mention it can be relaxing and fun while still filling the need for smart and informative programming.”
Over at Leopard Films, part of the super-indie Argonon, digital sales have come as an added bonus to a still-healthy business with publicservice broadcasters and specialist cable channels. “In recent years broadcasters have been asking for VOD and digital rights as part of their license package in order for them to broaden their reach onto new platforms,” says Fiona Morris, Leopard Films’ heads of arts and performance. Of ARTE’s success with digital platforms, Hazard says, “We do have strong partners in the U.S. for VOD and non-commercial exploitation of our arts lineup. So far, most of the VOD operators were working on a business model based only on revenue sharing. This means that no risk was taken by the VOD platform in terms of the acquisition.” However, this model is beginning to change, Hazard says. “Now [platforms] have started to offer minimum guarantees for the acquisition of the rights.” As minimum guar-
Portrait of greatness: Sullivan’s Mozart Decoded spotlights Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, looking at the man behind the music. 4/13 World Screen 309
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dollar production that has some really big names attached to it. It’s got Scott Free Productions. Having that as part of the National Geographic catalogue will raise a few eyebrows, but in the best possible way. Our catalogue is undergoing a bit of change in that respect. The majority of our programming is driven by the channels—they are productions that are commissioned by the U.S. channel, by the international channel and by our regional channels as well. But we also maintain good strong relationships with the independent production community. So as a sales group we are bringing productions to the catalogue that are independent of the channels. It is very important to maintain that kind of mix because we have clients who expect to have premiere transmission rights to their programming.That is something that we can maintain with our independent productions. And it’s also very good for us to support the independent production community.
Nat Geo’s Germaine Deagan Sweet By Anna Carugati
It’s been a year since National Geographic Channels International restructured its distribution operation. As the senior VP of global content sales, Germaine Deagan Sweet has been busy managing a catalogue of some 2,500 hours of programming and a team of salespeople in offices around the world, including London, Paris, Madrid, Warsaw, Washington, D.C., Rome, Moscow and Tokyo. Deagan Sweet talks to TV Real about the importance of broadening people’s views about National Geographic and what it can offer broadcasters and viewers.
TV REAL: Tell us about the wide range of genres in the
National Geographic catalogue. DEAGAN SWEET: The genres that we have in our catalogue
are the ones that everyone has come to know and expect from National Geographic.There is natural history, science and technology, history, travel and adventure, pop factual, but we’re also looking to bring scripted factual into the catalogue. There are some really interesting projects, driven by the channel, which are scripted docudrama ideas. That’s something that is new to some of our buyers but also a really refreshing and welcome new take on the regular genres that they see coming from us. The biggest and most notable one is Killing Lincoln.We’re really excited about that in particular because it is a multimillion310 World Screen 4/13
TV REAL: Are you seeing any trends in the market, any demand for particular genres? DEAGAN SWEET: The trends that we are seeing are definitely for shows like Doomsday Preppers.That is the number-one show on the U.S. channel, and it’s being launched internationally.We are picking up a lot of interest in that series, based around the fact that it is a strong character-driven show with a good narrative. Schedulers are looking for nothing more than that. Give us a strong character, give us a driving narrative, and it’s going to work in our schedule. That is true not only with the English-speaking schedulers, but also with non-English-language schedulers. You would think that with a series that is so character-heavy, there might be difficulties. No, because it comes down to good stories and strong characters—they go across borders so easily. Doomsday Preppers is such a good series. It has absolutely hit the popular culture end of the market in the U.S. It’s been featured on Comedy Central and ABC News; it’s everywhere. TV REAL: What does the Nat Geo brand represent? DEAGAN SWEET: This is going to sound cliché but it’s cliché
for a reason; it’s well proven: buyers come to National Geographic knowing that they are going to get something that is credible and is relevant. People come to us sometimes with an image of what they expect National Geographic to be. And it is nice to sometimes be in a position to broaden that view.That is what the channel, and by extension, the sales group, can happily do. Some people might say—and I know it’s a question— how does a series like Doomsday Preppers end up on the channel? How does Doomsday Preppers end up in the National Geographic catalogue? It’s an extension of the magazine, which we started reading when we were young. The magazine was where you learned about different communities and different tribes around the world. That’s exactly what we’re doing. Doomsday Preppers shows modern-day tribes that we are discovering within our own communities. And when you explain the show like that to people, they immediately understand. People come to us with an expectation of quality science, of blue-chip natural history, of historical and event-driven programming that they know they will be able to run in their Sunday night specials. We fulfill, and have for many years, all those expectations. In the last couple of years we have also been able to help broaden people’s views of what Nat Geo is and what it can be. I’ve really enjoyed that.
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