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NATPE Budapest International Edition
THE MAGAZINE OF INTERNATIONAL MEDIA • JUNE/JULY 2018
Drama in Europe / Trends in Formats / Safe’s Michael C. Hall & Harlan Coben A+E Networks’ Patrick Vien & Edward Sabin / all3media international’s Louise Pedersen / ZDF Enterprises’ Robert Franke
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CONTENTS contents contents
JUNE-JULY 2018/NATPE BUDAPEST EDITION DEPARTMENTS
Publisher Ricardo Seguin Guise
WORLD VIEW By Mansha Daswani.
UPFRONTS New content on the market.
BEHIND THE SCENES Safe’s Michael C. Hall & Harlan Coben.
IN THE NEWS A+E Networks’ Patrick Vien & Edward Sabin.
Managing Editor Joanna Padovano Tong
SPOTLIGHT ZDF Enterprises’ Robert Franke.
Associate Editor Sara Alessi
MARKET TRENDS all3media international’s Louise Pedersen.
Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari
ANALYSIS Key trends in American drama.
Associate Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Rafael Blanco
WORLD’S END In the stars.
Group Editorial Director Anna Carugati Editor Mansha Daswani Executive Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
Editorial Assistant, Spanish-Language Publications Jessica Ávila
THESE TARGETED MAGAZINES APPEAR BOTH INSIDE WORLD SCREEN AND AS SEPARATE PUBLICATIONS:
Contributing Editor Elizabeth Guider
38 SPECIAL REPORTS
38 EMBRACING DRAMA A look at the latest developments in the market for drama across Central and Eastern Europe.
42 FORMAT FEVER Distributors weigh in about the kinds of formats that are in demand among broadcasters across Europe.
NONFICTION FARE IN EUROPE FACTUAL TRENDSETTERS
Production & Design Director Victor L. Cuevas Online Director Simon Weaver Art Director Phyllis Q. Busell Senior Sales & Marketing Manager Dana Mattison Sales & Marketing Coordinator Nathalia Lopez Business Affairs Manager Andrea Moreno Contributing Writers Steve Clarke Andy Fry Joanna Stephens Jay Stuart David Wood Copy Editor Marina Chao
Ricardo Seguin Guise President Anna Carugati Executive VP Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development WORLD SCREEN is a registered trademark of WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.worldscreen.com
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BY MANSHA DASWANI
The Speed of a Tweet In less than 24 hours, Roseanne Barr went from basking in the glow of her top-rated, much-talked-about comedy to being out of work, facing the anger of her former co-workers, the scorn of cable news talking heads and ridicule by talk-show hosts. ABC’s cancellation of the Roseanne revival this May was a stunning turn of events for a series that just two weeks prior had taken center stage at the network’s Upfront presentation. The midseason replacement had been a breakout hit for ABC in the spring and had network honchos across the board talking about investing more in multi-camera comedies and developing shows that spoke to and reflected a diversity of political views in an increasingly polarized America. And then Barr—long known for controversial viewpoints and a Twitter feed that promoted ugly conspiracy theories—finally did something that ABC leadership couldn’t ignore. In a Twitter storm, Barr had targeted multiple individuals, including Chelsea Clinton, George Soros and Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, of whom she said: “if Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.” Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, called Barr’s racially charged comment “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” Even Disney CEO Robert Iger weighed in: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.” Barr’s agent, ICM, quickly dropped the comedian, Paramount Network and other Viacom channels ceased airing episodes of the original Roseanne and Hulu removed the reruns from its lineup. All of that in under 24 hours. Think about the time it took to bring the Roseanne revival together in the first place. Corralling the original cast, hammering out the deal points with producer Carsey-Werner Television, assembling a writers’ room—a team of scribes who were supposed to start their first day of work on the new season when the cancellation news broke. It took less than a day for the tweet that broke the proverbial camel’s back to put some 200 people out of work. Barr is not the first entertainment personality to lose a job over something they said on Twitter. She won’t be the last. Celebrities can say whatever they want on social media, without a filter, and there’s no going back. You can have tweeter’s regret and try to delete something— but the chances are that before you even get there, someone has already screen-grabbed it and shared it. ABC’s decision prompted much debate. Some questioned why now since the network knew exactly who they were getting into business with. Barr’s supporters accused ABC of having a double standard—and so did President Donald Trump. The ex-reality show star
It took less than a day for the tweet that broke the proverbial camel’s back to put some 200 people out of work.
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tweeted that Iger “never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC.” (Yes, he did refer to himself in the third person, and those all caps are his, not mine.) The next day, the White House took aim at Samantha Bee for comments she made on her TBS show about Ivanka Trump. Meanwhile, a week prior, Trump supporters had been barking at Netflix on Twitter, upset about the streaming platform’s production deal with Barack and Michelle Obama. This is how the American culture wars are being played out today—in our televised entertainment, as social media allows viewers to vent, call for advertiser boycotts, take sides, and never actually engage in any constructive dialogue about anything. And don’t forget, this is all playing out amid the Time’s Up movement, which seems to take down a newly discovered serial offender every day. So when you do realize someone’s true colors, what do you do about their art that you were a fan of? The Cosby Show, like Roseanne, has been banished from public consumption since revelations came to light about Bill Cosby. (It used to be a lazy Sunday morning binge for me.) I’ve fallen behind on my House of Cards viewing—do I go back and watch the season I missed or wait till the Kevin Spacey-less new episodes launch and hope I can fill in the gaps? Can I ever watch a Harvey Weinstein-produced classic like Pulp Fiction again? So much anguish in making entertainment decisions these days as we’re bombarded with information from absolutely everywhere. And we’re spending a shocking amount of time with media, according to Zenith. The average person will spend 479 minutes a day consuming media this year, with that number expected to rise to 492 minutes in 2020, driven by the rapid expansion of mobile internet use. That’s an awful lot of time spent on being plugged in. But when there’s so much out there, how do you switch off? In this edition we feature reports on the latest trends in drama, formats and factual across Europe. We hear from Michael C. Hall and Harlan Coben about why we shouldn’t turn away from their new thriller Safe. A+E Networks’ Patrick Vien and Edward Sabin weigh in on fan engagement with their portfolio of brands. Louise Pedersen talks about how all3media international has ramped up its scripted investments to deliver compelling dramas that will keep audiences hooked. And we analyze the new fall dramas that will be rolling out on the U.S. networks. Meanwhile, audiences and network execs alike will keep hoping that the talent they’ve invested in don’t say something asinine—because in the world we live in today, there is always someone listening.
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A+E Networks Live PD: Police Patrol / Forged in Fire / High School Lover Cops respond to criminal activity in Live PD: Police Patrol, which A+E Networks is presenting to buyers at NATPE Budapest International. “Globally we have seen an acute focus on police departments, so we take a closer look here at what it’s like to sit with them in the car, get the call and then follow them to the scene,” says Marica Giessen, director of international content sales. “We’re all interested in watching action and resolution.” Another highlight is Forged in Fire, spotlighting bladesmiths as they compete to create the perfect weapon. There is also the James Franco-led High School Lover, which is one of 48 new TV-movie titles in the company’s pipeline this year. “The appetite for high-quality TV movies is ramping up,” adds Giessen.
High School Lover
“With 1,200-plus new hours released per year across a broad spectrum of genres, we’re well-positioned to cater to a wide variety of needs.” —Marica Giessen
Calinos Entertainment Woman / Our Story / Forbidden Fruit Female viewers will be able to relate to the leading character in Woman, according to Asli Serim Guliyev, international sales director at Calinos Entertainment. “If they are not like the main character Bahar, they know a woman like her,” she says. “It is a very good example of a strong woman who is raising her children by herself despite all of the challenges she faces.” The company is also promoting Our Story, which features Feriha alum Hazal Kaya. “Hazal Kaya’s fans have been using social media to reach [out] to channel acquisition managers asking them to acquire Our Story in their respective countries,” says Serim Guliyev. Forbidden Fruit, meanwhile, “has everything that could be expected from a series,” she notes, including a fast-paced, engaging storyline, luxurious lifestyles and attractive characters.
“Our goals are to complete negotiations with current clients and establish new partnerships.” —Asli Serim Guliyev
Caracol Internacional Bolívar / The Queen of Flow / The Mafia Dolls Caracol Internacional’s 60-episode series Bolívar brings to life the story of the heroic military and political leader. Paloma García, the company’s sales executive for Europe and Africa, calls it “the most ambitious production ever done by Caracol.” The telenovela The Queen of Flow is set against the backdrop of the musical genre reggaeton. It tells the tale of Yeimy Montoya, a talented young woman who serves an unjust prison sentence. Her only wish is to take revenge against those who killed her dreams and her family. There is also a second season of The Mafia Dolls on offer. Season two picks up eight years later in the lives of the female characters. García says that the company is looking to raise the visibility in CEE of Colombian productions that “transcend the classic telenovelas.”
The Mafia Dolls
“Caracol is producing high-profile stories with ambitious and creative plots.” —Paloma García 12 WORLD SCREEN 6/18
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Global Agency Waves / Sounds of the Nation / Daydreamer A bad investment and greed turn a family’s life upside down in Waves, a Turkish drama series that is one of Global Agency’s highlights for the market in Budapest. “It has already been sold to Romania and Albania, and we are expecting more deals after its launch at NATPE,” says Senay Tas, sales director for CEE. The company is also offering up Sounds of the Nation, a music contest that looks on as local celebrities find folk singers in their hometowns. The show has been a success in Slovakia, where a second season is airing. Then there is Daydreamer, a romantic dramedy about two independent individuals who come together in an unexpected way. “With the emotional ingredients of the show, Daydreamer will surely capture the interest of audiences worldwide,” says Tas.
“Waves has a pace, story and cast that make it catchy and appealing for international buyers.” —Senay Tas
GRB Entertainment Beyond Boundaries: The Harvey Weinstein Scandal / Tech Toys 360 / Man at Arms: Art of War Tech Toys 360 A new documentary about disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein is among GRB Entertainment’s highlights. Beyond Boundaries: The Harvey Weinstein Scandal “is an in-depth look into the sexual harassment claims against Weinstein and explores the dark underside of the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle,” says Melanie Torres, the director of international sales. “With the #MeToo movement in full swing, audiences around the world want to hear from the victims of these tragic abuses of power.” The company is also focusing on Tech Toys 360, which introduces viewers to the most cutting-edge technologies, cars and gadgets. Man at Arms: Art of War, hosted by Danny Trejo, “is a fun and fresh way to learn some history,” as the series “recreates famous weapons of war from iconic films and gives a brief history lesson about the weapons,” says Torres.
“We want to continue to provide our global partners with top-of-the-line programming in all genres and build new relationships.” Runaway Romance —Melanie Torres
HBO Latin America Sr. Ávila / The Business / The Bronze Garden HBO’s Latin American productions have found audiences far outside the region, and with its first attendance at NATPE Budapest International, the company is looking to broaden that reach. “Most of our local productions from Latin America are successfully distributed through HBO’s platforms around the world, including Eastern Europe,” says Xavier Aristimuño, VP of licensing. “Important examples are Sr. Ávila and The Business (O Negócio), which have been so successful locally and worldwide that they have reached their fourth seasons this year, generating a lot of expectation among global audiences. And there is an enormous opportunity for distributors from the rest of the world to offer our content.” Another company highlight is The Bronze Garden (El Jardín de Bronce).
“HBO tells universal stories that all audiences can relate to—our Latin American productions are no exception.” —Xavier Aristimuño 6/18 WORLD SCREEN 13
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The Perfect Couple
Inter Medya The Pit / The Perfect Couple / Broken Wings Yamaç is caught between his family, his neighborhood and the woman he loves in the Ay Yapim-produced drama The Pit. “Since its recent launch, the series has attracted a lot of interest from buyers across the globe, with deals in Georgia, Afghanistan and Chile,” says Can Okan, Inter Medya’s founder and CEO. Also on the company’s slate is the new reality dating show The Perfect Couple, in which women and men compete in a range of challenges to win keys to the rooms of a villa on a private island. Each contestant who wins a key chooses a partner with whom to share their room. The twist is that there isn’t space for everyone inside the house. Inter Medya is also presenting the drama Broken Wings, about a single mother struggling to care for her children.
“The Perfect Couple is a fast and exciting format that will definitely attract an audience.” —Can Okan
Lionsgate Vida / Sweetbitter / Carnage Lionsgate is showcasing the new Starz original dramas Vida and Sweetbitter, as well as the action competition series Carnage, at NATPE Budapest International. “Vida deals with family ties, love, hope and the true values that we must keep in our hearts,” says Peter Iacono, president of international television and digital distribution. “Showrunner Tanya Saracho has worked on hit shows like Girls [that are] known for their authentic and often provocative content, and she’s very skilled at creating content that connects with viewers around the world.” Sweetbitter has been adapted, created and written by Stephanie Danler, author of the book on which it is based. “Top Gear meets Mad Max in Carnage, a prime-time, high-end, family-entertainment series that will appeal to both linear and digital platforms,” says Iacono.
“Lionsgate and Starz are committed to creating premium and bold content that serves diverse audiences.”
Patrimonio mundial - Herencia de la humanidad
The Crimson Rivers / Ku’damm 59 / Bron/Broen ZDF Enterprises is focusing on its drama slate, with highlights such as Ku’damm 59, at NATPE Budapest International. Mirela Nastase, the director of ZDFE.drama, says there is a lot of demand from CEE channels for crime dramas and event series. “Most interest is driven by the cult series Bron and its last season, but CEE buyers will be pleased to discover the new French event series The Crimson Rivers, which might very well become our new international reference in high-end European crime series,” she says. Nastase also believes the 3x90-minute Ku’damm 59 will be a draw for buyers. “Ku’damm 56 already proved to be successful, so the second season will follow its lead and further develop the saga of a Berlin dance school in the ’50s.”
The Crimson Rivers
“NATPE Budapest has grown as a key market for ZDF Enterprises as the CEE business has been developing at a steady pace in the past years.” —Mirela Nastase 14 WORLD SCREEN 6/18
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By Anna Carugati From his portrayal of a conflicted mortician in HBO’s Six Feet Under to his role as a blood-spatter analyst who kills murderers at night in Showtime’s Dexter, American actor Michael C. Hall has mastered the art of playing dark, complicated characters. His most recent brooding small-screen presence is in Safe, a new eight-part drama created by best-selling author Harlan Coben. Hall also serves as an executive producer on the show, which was made by RED Production Company in the U.K. and is being distributed by STUDIOCANAL. Co-commissioned by Netflix and Canal+ Group, Safe was recently released on the streaming service and is also set for a linear premiere on C8 in France. Hall talks to World Screen about his portrayal of a recent widower whose teen daughter goes missing under mysterious circumstances. WS: Tell us about your character in Safe and what appealed to you about the role. HALL: Tom Delaney is a pediatric surgeon. He’s the newly single father of two girls. His wife, before the show’s story begins, has died. He is someone who is very capable in his professional life but as a newly single father, he’s kind of at his wits’ end, out of his depth, and has actually recently installed this software in his daughter’s phone to track her whereabouts and read her texts because otherwise, he has no sense of what’s going on with her. Shortly after we are introduced to Tom, his oldest daughter goes missing. The story of the show—there’s very much a thriller element—is he’s trying to take things into his own hands because he doesn’t feel like he’s getting straight answers or is being adequately helped by anyone else to figure out what happened to her. But in doing so, he discovers things about his past and his family that recontextualize his whole life. Tom and his family live in a gated community, and the show touches on the current obsession with safety. We live in a world where our fears are exploited and preyed upon. A lot of the media, they’re sort of fearmongers; people are encouraged to be fearful and therefore make decisions that give them at least the illusion that they’re safe. The irony, in this case, is that the gated community these people have lived in to keep themselves safe is the place from which the danger originates. The character appealed to me because he was a normal guy who was struggling for some sense of control in a world that was spiraling out of control. He wasn’t crazy; he wasn’t uniquely capable or afflicted; he was a regular guy. But in his exterior world, crazy things were happening. That was a bit of a change of pace. WS: Do you have a process for preparing for a role? Was this character easier or more challenging because Tom was “normal” compared to, for example, Dexter, who was very out there?
HALL: With each role and each job, you certainly have your experience to lean on, but ideally, you’re reinventing the wheel every time; you fashion new tools as the job demands them. In the case of Tom, I was playing an Englishman, so there was a consideration on that front, and familiarizing myself to some degree about what the life of a pediatric surgeon or a veteran of the British Army might be like. But for the most part, it’s just emptying yourself out so that inspiration might flow through you when you get [on set]. WS: Given that Safe is an international series, was there a sense that this was different from what you’ve done in the past? HALL: The days were definitely going to be either 10 or 11 hours, whereas in America, you shoot until you’re done and sometimes you’re fighting to finish before the sun comes up the next day. So that was a nice and civilized change. [Laughs] Ultimately, things are more the same than they are different. When you sign on to be a part of this little family that’s making something, it’s like joining a carnival and it’s its own organism. I certainly felt supported by the producing powers that be, but supported in the sense that I felt we were entrusted to do our job and weren’t micromanaged. So, the support I felt was maybe by a lack of overlord presence, which I think [most actors] appreciate. WS: How involved was Harlan Coben in the production of Safe? HALL: Harlan wasn’t on set, but he was very much a presence at read-throughs, and he was sort of the captain of the ship—the person who put us all on the same page in terms of what we were aspiring to create. He gave us a sense of his enthusiasm and energy. He was continually a presence on the post-production side or the writers’ room side and was able to give me feedback on what he was seeing in light of what I was hoping to convey. Harlan was sitting at the head of the table in terms of managing the machinery of the story. It’s [like a] detailed clock—any tweak one place is going to affect things elsewhere, so he was the one who was minding that. WS: Six Feet Under helped usher in this new golden age of television. What is happening in TV today that maybe didn’t happen previously? HALL: When I finished acting school, in ’96 I guess it was, I literally couldn’t have imagined the opportunities I’ve had because they didn’t really exist at that point. The idea of doing a long-running television show meant that you were basically just cycling through the same story over and over again, investigating the same case or giving the same closing argument or whatever it might be. With Six Feet Under, Dexter, some of the great shows that are out there, there is this long-form storytelling that can’t be matched anywhere else. The degree of detail and complexity that you can take 6/18 WORLD SCREEN 17
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on and explore, it’s like a living novel in a way. The production value rivals any film in terms of the talent of the people they hire to shoot these shows, the budget that might be provided, and the appetite for risk-taking and boundarypushing that exists in TV. I would say maybe American film in the ’70s is the only place where you could find the kind of adventurousness that is now in television. The writers who aspire to do that kind of work are completely gravitating toward TV. It’s a good place to be. WS: You’ve been in film, television and theater. Do you enjoy them all equally or do you have a preference? HALL: I enjoy the luxury of being able to do everything. My appreciation of one is informed by my participation in the
other. Doing a film is great, in part because I can appreciate that it’s unique from doing a television show or doing something on stage and vice versa. But I’m happy that I’m able to mix it up. WS: Are you drawn to dark characters, or do they just come your way? HALL: I suppose it’s a combination of being drawn to them and attracting them for having done it. I don’t know that I would say I’m drawn to darker material, but I’m definitely drawn to complexity and conflict; it’s inherently dramatic. Characters carrying some sort of secret or internalized conflict are certainly more interesting to me.
By Mansha Daswani Harlan Coben has penned some 30 novels over his prolific career, with more than 70 million books in print worldwide. Over the last few years Coben has been making a name for himself in the television space as well, notably creating The Five for Sky and serving as showrunner and executive producer on two adaptations of his novels for TF1. His latest endeavor is Safe—for C8 in France and Netflix everywhere else—which saw Coben again teaming with Nicola Shindler from RED Production Company and screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst, with whom he collaborated on The Five. Coben tells World Screen about the psychological thriller. WS: Tell us about Safe. COBEN: Michael C. Hall stars as a widower who is trying to take care of two teenage kids in a gated community. One night after a party, two kids disappear and next thing you know there’s a murder, mayhem, buried secrets—everything about this small, tight community is about to explode. It’s called Safe because it’s a gated community. I was thinking about walls—we build these walls to keep the bad out, but maybe sometimes we build these walls to keep the bad in. WS: C8 is the French broadcaster, Netflix has taken it worldwide, it was produced by RED in the U.K. and your home is in the U.S.—it’s a very international project! COBEN: That’s part of the fun of it. Michael and I are American. The writing team and the production team are British. It was filmed in
Manchester. [Co-stars] Amanda Abbington and Marc Warren are huge British stars. And then we have Audrey Fleurot, a wonderful, famous French actress. C8 is one of the [platforms] behind it. And our director for the first two episodes is Australian. So we are trying to represent the entire globe. It’s the time of international TV, why not put it all in one show? WS: As you’re devising ideas, are you thinking about what the ideal home for a show will be? COBEN: Not even a little. I do the idea, the story first, and then we worry about what network, what platform, is going to do it. I need to be binge-watched though. I want each episode to end, and then you want to go to the next one. Safe does that better than any other show I’ve done. And I always want that shocking ending. I know some of you think you’ve experienced that in trying to figure these things out, but you’re not going to guess the ending to Safe, I promise you! WS: Why is making a show binge-worthy important to you? COBEN: I’m a novelist, I write thrillers and suspense. If you take my book to bed at 10 o’clock at night and say, I’m just going to read for 15 minutes and the next thing you know it’s 4 o’clock in the morning and you’re cursing me out—I love that! I want you to not be able to put it down. I want to give you that same experience with a TV show. Safe is an eight-episode story, and so I want you to gulp it as much as you can, and savor it at the same time. WS: What have been some of the biggest lessons learned for you as you’ve done more television work? COBEN: As a novelist, you get a report card that says, “Does not play well with others.” And TV is all about playing with others. I love the collaboration aspect. I haven’t written any fewer novels. I’m able to still do the novels and I love that. I’m naturally an introvert—a socially adept introvert, but I am an introvert. I’m writing my 31st novel— that’s a lot of time alone in a room. So to get out and be able to collaborate with really talented people has been exciting.
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WWW.TVEUROPE.WS JUNE/JULY 2018
NATPE BUDAPEST INTERNATIONAL & SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOC EDITION
Content Trends in Europe / Factual Trendsetters
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Good Ideas Are Everywhere Earlier this year I was asked to be part of the MonteCarlo Television Festival’s pre-selection committee—a group that helped choose which programs would become Golden Nymph Award nominees. The category I was asked to judge was long fiction programs.
Ricardo Seguin Guise Publisher Anna Carugati Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani Editor Kristin Brzoznowski Executive Editor Joanna Padovano Tong Managing Editor Sara Alessi Associate Editor Victor L. Cuevas Production & Design Director Phyllis Q. Busell Art Director Simon Weaver Online Director Dana Mattison Senior Sales & Marketing Manager Nathalia Lopez Sales & Marketing Coordinator Andrea Moreno Business Affairs Manager
Ricardo Seguin Guise President Anna Carugati Executive VP Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development TV Europe © 2018 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.tveurope.ws
I got to screen TV movies, miniseries and limited series from around the world, but mostly from Europe. I have been writing about the current golden age of television for quite some time, admittedly spearheaded by American writers, channels and streaming services, but for three weeks I was immersed in British, German, French and Spanish fare. And it was a fascinating experience. While the Americans have historically had bigger budgets and vaster resources, and Fargo, one of the limited series I screened, is exceptional in its production values, and Ewan McGregor gives masterful performances playing two separate characters, I was equally captivated by European drama, even though most of it is produced with much smaller budgets. One such example was Le Viol, a French TV movie about two young women who were raped while on vacation near Marseilles in 1974. The story is their quest for justice at a time when rape was not a crime—there was no law against it— because, well, boys will be boys, right? And the fact that the two girls were lesbians, well, they had it coming, right? No. Their courageous attorney fights to get a conviction against the men and succeeds. It is a gripping story. I was also captivated by Spain’s Pau, La Força D’Un Silenci and learned that the renowned cellist Pablo Casals was an ardent opponent of dictator Francisco Franco. From the selection I screened, I found that Continental European drama was largely based on real-life events, while the American and British entries were works of fiction. As I screened, I was reminded of my experience some 15 years ago as a judge for news and documentary programming for the International Emmys. To this day, I recall a German doc about Al-Qaeda cells in Europe. It was eyeopening because it reveals facts that most viewers in the U.S. had not yet heard. I find it essential to hear the other side of a story and be introduced to another perspective, point of view, way of life. Factual programming can do that so expertly. In this issue of TV Europe, we look at the types of nonfiction content resonating with audiences in Europe. You’ll also find a recap of a session I moderated, in which National Geographic’s Christian Drobnyk, CuriosityStream’s Steve Burns and France Télévisions’ Thierry Mino shared their acquisition and coproduction strategies. —Anna Carugati
GET DAILY NEWS ON EUROPEAN TELEVISION
FEATURES 10 REAL DEAL Factual series and one-off docs are in demand across broadcast networks and digital platforms in Europe.
14 FACTUAL TRENDSETTERS Executives from National Geographic, CuriosityStream and France Télévisions shared their acquisition and co-production strategies in a panel moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati.
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dick clark productions, International The Football Show / Fail Army / The Best FIFA Football Awards Soccer has a prominent place in dick clark productions, International’s programming slate. Providing access to some of the biggest names in the sport on and off the field, The Football Show features players such as Manchester United team members Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo, Chelsea and Spain national team striker Álvaro Morata, and Real Madrid and Brazil national team star Marcelo. “The Football Show will appeal to all demographics, including those with a passing knowledge of the game, as well as its most ardent fans,” says Bob Kennedy, the company’s senior VP of sales and acquisitions. It features vignettes that illustrate how the sport is ingrained in various countries’ cultures. Also, Idris Elba will, once again, host The Best FIFA Football Awards. “Football fans all over the world will see the best players, managers, green carpet interviews, highlights of the 2017-18 season, ambassadors of football and A-list celebrities all under one roof to celebrate the world’s most revered sport,” Kennedy says. A panel of experts will select the top male and female players of the year and other winners. The clip show Fail Army, meanwhile, “has been a tremendous success worldwide and with the rights now available for CEEMEA free-TV broadcasters, the time is perfect to introduce the series to an even larger audience,” Kennedy says.
“While we enjoy great success with our awards shows in the region, we have an impressive new slate of nonfiction series that we believe will also resonate.” —Bob Kennedy
Stiletto Vendetta / Cennet / Prisoner of Love Three Turkish dramas are among the highlights that Eccho Rights is bringing to NATPE Budapest International: Stiletto Vendetta, which comes from Ay Yapim; Cennet, made by Süreç Film; and Prisoner of Love, from Karamel Yapim. Stiletto Vendetta has already been sold into a number of territories across Central and Eastern Europe, according to Fredrik af Malmborg, the managing director of Eccho Rights. “Stiletto Vendetta is a beautifully produced drama [that] appeals to both traditional Turkish drama buyers looking for romance and relationship stories, but it also has an edge and a glamour that makes it stand out,” he says. “Cennet is another series that has triumphed in Turkey, with its tense mother-daughter relationship drawing viewers in week after week.” Prisoner of Love, meanwhile, has been enjoying success for the past two years in Turkey and is a popular daytime drama in the country. “The series premiered in Georgia a couple of months ago and is performing remarkably, scoring an average share of over 35 percent each day,” says af Malmborg. The company has a range of other international shows on offer at the market: “As well as [these] Turkish titles, we are representing an increasingly diverse portfolio of series, and we are bringing amazing series from Western Europe such as Conspiracy of Silence and El Accidente,” adds af Malmborg.
“We look forward to speaking with local producers about their projects as we continue to look into new avenues to diversify our lineup.”
—Fredrik af Malmborg
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Kanal D International Price of Passion / Tales of Innocence / Wounded Love A hitman named Ferhat and an idealistic doctor, Asli, meet one day in an unexpected way in the drama Price of Passion. Exploring corrupt relationships, ambition and power, Price of Passion “appeals to female audiences with its strong, character-driven and intriguing story,” says Kerim Emrah Turna, the director of international content sales and business development at Kanal D International. “The love between Asli and Ferhat became a social media phenomenon with the #AsFer hashtag. The chemistry between the characters and their sarcastic dialogue” has been a big draw. Tales of Innocence, meanwhile, was adapted from a Korean drama and follows three characters whose lives are changed forever one night. The period drama Wounded Love stars Halit Ergenç and Bergüzar Korel as a couple whose love is tested.
Tales of Innocence
“We believe that we will grow our penetration in both the CEE and CIS regions with our good content.” —Kerim Emrah Turna
Red Arrow Studios International Lice Mother/Man’s First Friend/Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds
The scripted comedy format Lice Mother has been a hit in the Netherlands, and Red Arrow Studios International is offering it up to buyers in Budapest. The show is set in the world of the primary school—a mini-society with its own playground rules, competitive parents, strange teachers and the lowest of volunteer jobs: checking the kids for head lice. The company is also presenting Man’s First Friend, a primetime documentary event about the enduring relationship between humankind and dogs, and the social experiment Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, which has been recommissioned by Channel 4 in the U.K. “Red Arrow Studios International continues to grow rapidly and expand its global footprint and breadth of genres,” says Henrik Pabst, the company’s president.
“Our new slate for NATPE Budapest delivers a market-leading range of shows to broadcasters across scripted, factual, entertainment, formats and film.” —Henrik Pabst
Rive Gauche Television Something’s Killing Me / Homicide’s Elite / Egg Factor Life-and-death crimes and medical mysteries are at the heart of the puzzling behaviors and diseases explored in Something’s Killing Me. Marine Ksadzhikyan, Rive Gauche Television’s senior VP of distribution and development, says, “Something’s Killing Me takes viewers on a journey that keeps them guessing until the very end as to what has happened.” The company is also showcasing the crime series Homicide’s Elite, following two detectives who have worked on hundreds of murder cases together. “Homicide’s Elite hits the sweet spot of the global audience: their craving for all things crime,” Ksadzhikyan says. There is also the docu-reality series Egg Factor, about couples on a journey to have kids. “Each story is quite unique as it shows the viewer an inside look at the world of egg donation and the twists and turns the journey can take for a couple.”
“All three programs have global appeal as they deal with subjects that audiences find compelling and unique.” —Marine Ksadzhikyan 24 WORLD SCREEN 6/18
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A Different View
A Different View / Fugitive / I’m Alive The prime-time series A Different View, a highlight from the RTVE catalog, portrays the society of the 1920s through the lens of a finishing school for girls. Meanwhile, Paz Vega stars in the thriller Fugitive. The renowned Spanish actress plays Magda, a woman whose world falls apart at a crucial time in her life, forcing her to make a drastic decision to save herself and her three children. Also a thriller, I’m Alive blends murder mysteries and the supernatural. The story begins when Andrés Vargas, a police inspector, dies as he is pursuing a serial killer. He comes back to life five years later in the body of another police officer, played by Javier Gutiérrez. María Jesús Pérez serves as international sales director for RTVE and is looking to bring these titles to broadcasters in markets around the world.
“With its portfolio of channels and content, RTVE disseminates the best entertainment, news reports and educational content in Spanish throughout the world.” —María Jesús Pérez
Terra Mater Factual Studios Wild Uganda / A Life Among Monkeys / Islands in Time The top highlights from Terra Mater Factual Studios’ slate for Sunny Side of the Doc transport viewers to exotic destinations. Wild Uganda, for example, goes deep into the forests to follow some of the country’s most prominent animal inhabitants. “It’s a terrific watch that lets you into the secrets of Uganda’s natural world,” says Sabine Holzer, the company’s head of specialist factual. The story of Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, a Smithsonian primatologist who went to Sri Lanka in 1968 to study the macaques, is being told in A Life Among Monkeys. Meanwhile, Islands in Time explores the islands of Southeast Asia. “We encounter miraculous volcano birds; the biggest fish in the ocean, the whale shark; kangaroos that climb trees; entrancing birds of paradise; and so much more,” says Holzer.
Islands in Time
“Islands in Time is a three-part journey through the most captivating Southeast Asian islands.” —Sabine Holzer
TV Azteca International Wild By Nature / Round History / 3 Families
Wild By Nature
Viewers can relive legendary moments in the game of football with Round History, on offer from TV Azteca International. The company will also be putting a spotlight on the natural wonders of Mexico in Wild By Nature. The docu-reality series is hosted by actor and naturalist Arturo Islas, who travels through jungles, deserts and other habitats in search of interesting mammals, birds and reptiles. TV Azteca International is also presenting a slate that features the comedy 3 Families. The series has the undertones of a sitcom but also addresses the unexpected events in the daily lives of three families living in Mexico. Further highlights are the melodramas Bad Maids and Nothing Personal, as well as the mystery series Missing Bride.
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Terra Materâ€™s Wonders of Africa.
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Factual series and one-off documentaries are in demand across broadcast networks and digital platforms in Europe. By Sara Alessi hese days, it seems reality is just as intriguing as fiction—if not more so. TV viewers the world over, Europe included, are eager to devour factual programming, whether it covers true crime, medical scares with a shocking or mysterious twist, history, nature and wildlife or the increasingly not-so-tame real-life events currently unfolding before us. “Across all of Europe, people still have an appetite for history,” says Melanie Torres, GRB Entertainment’s director of international sales, who adds that “current events and hot topics also do well.” She points to GRB’s MIPTV launch of Beyond Boundaries: The Harvey Weinstein Scandal. Similarly, TCB Media Rights’ Holly Cowdery, sales manager for Germany, CEEMEA and Benelux, reports that history is a big seller and titles about World War II, in particular, are “consistently asked for and sell very well.” She notes that for female-skewing channels, lifestyle content such as The Cruise is in demand, with reality shows like Bondi Rescue and Border Patrol also notching up sales in CEE. Richard Tulk-Hart, A+E Networks’ managing director of international content distribution and co-productions, agrees that “in Eastern Europe, in relation to HISTORY content, core history has been most appealing, including [programs about] World War II and evergreen one-offs. In the rest of CEE, we find less demand for real history programming than in Western Europe, though there seems to be a growing trend for crime.” “Across Eastern and Western Europe, there is still a very big appetite for factual crime content,” says GRB’s Torres. “Crime is the gift that keeps on giving for us. Wicked Attraction is a long-running series of ours that a lot of buyers keep on renewing and picking up in different territories as well.”
the region “as DTTs try and test content to refine and build their channel’s personality.” Intervention, Live PD: Police Patrol and Born This Way are among the titles that have piqued buyers’ interest. For Terra Mater Factual Studios, Sabine Holzer, the company’s head of specialist factual, says documentary films that take viewers to exotic or rarely seen locations, including Wonders of Africa, Tasmania: Weird and Wonderful, Wild Canada and Wild Sri Lanka, are among the best-selling programs. “These films often tell a story of certain inhabitants, which means there is a concrete storyline embedded in stunning pictures of landscapes and never-before-seen behavior,” she explains. Rive Gauche’s Ksadzhikyan is noticing that “a lot more factual programming is starting to play around with different styles of storytelling. For example, one of our newest titles, Homicide’s Elite, is a factual crime series that boasts such a high level of production value that it looks more like a scripted procedural. This type of out-of-the-box, fresh storytelling is what seems to be in demand within the region.” Well-known or qualified presenters can also add to the appeal of these programs. Holzer notes that this is true for Terra Mater’s Wild Weather with Richard Hammond. The show sees the titular host, of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame, explain various elements of the weather, from how wind starts to the key role temperature plays in making the weather itself. Yet, Holzer cautions, “The interest in presenter-led programs also varies from territory to territory. There seems not to be that one particular presenter who works equally well across all territories. Even natural-history legend Sir David Attenborough, who is embraced by British, Scandinavian and Australian audiences, might not be of additional value in other countries, where channels simply prefer non-hosted versions.”
LESS IS MORE
For Rive Gauche Television, crime series with proven track records such as Homicide Hunter, Ice Cold Killers, Evil Twins and Sins & Secrets do very well across the region. Crime stories attached to medical mysteries also have a home on TV screens in Europe, says Marine Ksadzhikyan, the company’s senior VP of distribution and development. “We introduced Something’s Killing Me recently into the CEE market and the reception was outstanding.” The series looks at life-anddeath medical mysteries with a potential criminal twist. Similarly, medical shock docs generate sales in Europe, with Untold Stories of the ER leading the way in that space for GRB Entertainment. Relationship-focused programs are also popular, according to Torres, though she has found less demand for those types of shows in Western European territories. “In Poland, our transactional content is still hugely popular, even after multiple runs,” says A+E Networks’ TulkHart. Some of the top-performing titles that fall under this umbrella are Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and American Pickers. He has found plenty of demand for factual programming in
“Sometimes, a presenter does us more of a disfavor than a favor,” GRB’s Torres concurs. She notes that buyers often prefer programming without a presenter because these titles tend to have a “longer shelf life, and someone who might be very famous in one part of the world might not even be wellknown in the region at all.” When a personality has worldwide resonance, though, having a presenter can work well, as is the case with GRB’s Man at Arms: Art of War. “Danny Trejo is so well-known globally that having him as the host of Man at Arms has worked in our favor,” Torres explains. Since a presenter can either help or hinder sales, some of GRB’s shows have two versions: one with a host and one without, making it simpler for buyers to choose the edition that best suits their needs. This is true for the factual crime series On the Case, with some seasons available without the host, U.S. journalist Paula Zahn. Having a variety of options available to buyers across CEE and Western Europe is key for distributors, even as it seems
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television tastes across the region are becoming more similar than different. Indeed, A+E Networks’ Tulk-Hart believes “Western European broadcasters historically have taken more risk on programming, but even that is evolving in Eastern Europe.” Moreover, the ability to tailor content to viewers’ preferences and make shows feel more local is invaluable. “Local content is always key,” says Tulk-Hart. “Our content is usually used on secondary channels and as library. [Buyers] prefer to select content that they know has performed in the region. There is certainly a desire to localize factual shows as formats and we are constantly looking for ways to service this.” Often, buyers have an eye out for format rights, as it can be cheaper to localize a show. GRB’s Torres has noticed this trend, particularly in Eastern Europe. She explains that buyers will sometimes test out a series by taking the finished tape and subsequently acquiring format rights only after the title has proven popular in the region.
HUNGRY FOR MORE
Factual shows that have landed slots in Europe include, from the top, TCB’s EasyJet: Inside the Cockpit, GRB’s Wicked Attraction and Rive Gauche’s Evil Twins.
And when distributors are serving up factual fare in this part of the world, Poland comes to the table with a voracious appetite. “I think there were only a handful of shows from the 40-plus series that we launched at MIPCOM that didn’t find a home there,” says TCB’s Cowdery. Other countries hungry for this type of content include the U.K., Germany, Sweden, France and Spain, according to GRB’s Torres. “I would even throw Italy in there. A lot of our pan-[regional] buyers have feeds into all of these countries, and that is where we get the bulk of our European business,” she says. “Poland is in some ways our biggest buyer for CEE,” echoes A+E Networks’ Tulk-Hart. “The market is incredibly competitive. Securing business with almost all channels in the territory signifies the strong appetite and presence of our factual content. The launch of DTTs a couple of years ago injected another wave of competition in a bid to secure a wide range of factual that they could play with. “In the rest of [the region], we do a lot with Viasat and MTG in Russia and CEE; they tend to buy content we have not aired on our own channels,” he adds. “Hungary is on the increase with nearly double the revenues since last year.” Tulk-Hart says that Croatia continues to be a big buyer of factual as well, while Terra Mater’s Holzer notes that the Baltics also take their share. And it’s not only linear clients that are looking for factual fare these days. “A whole new world of opportunity exists with SVOD, as now we find factual shows living next to all other genres,” says TCB’s Cowdery. Since most SVOD channels still acquire factual rights on a nonexclusive basis, Terra Mater’s Holzer agrees that these platforms open up more possibilities across Europe. “There are single-territory deals as well as multi-territory deals,” she says. “Linear rights and digital rights can still be exploited in parallel, without cannibalizing each other, and there are also opportunities regarding 4K on digital/OTT and SVOD platforms. Especially in Russia and Poland, we see an increasing demand.” “The opportunities are massive simply because there’s some niche content that has an audience, but the audience sometimes isn’t able to see this content if it’s not bought by a linear broadcaster,” says GRB’s Torres. That’s where OTTs come in: they can offer a solution and be a suitable home for content with a very specific target audience. Ksadzhikyan of Rive Gauche finds that “Eastern Europe has had a difficult time embracing the OTT world, but there are more opportunities now than there were a year ago, and these opportunities will continue to grow as more local OTT platforms emerge within the territory.”
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From left: World Screen’s Anna Carugati, National Geographic’s Christian Drobnyk, CuriosityStream’s Steve Burns, France Télévisions’ Thierry Mino and Reed MIDEM’s Laurine Garaude.
By Mansha Daswani
he third annual World Screen Factual Trendsetter Awards were presented to National Geographic’s Christian Drobnyk, CuriosityStream’s Steve Burns and France Télévisions’ Thierry Mino. In a session at MIPDoc moderated by Anna Carugati, group editorial director of World Screen, the honorees offered up insights into how they are catering to diverse audiences in a competitive and fragmented marketplace. Drobnyk is executive VP of programming strategy and acquisitions at National Geographic Channels globally, with a large focus on the U.S. services. These include the flagship National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that our service reflects our brand and that we perform around the world,” he said. Mino is the deputy head of documentaries, international co-productions and acquisitions at France Télévisions. He has a team of 12 programmers responsible for prebuys and acquisitions on one side and co-productions on the other. The team acquires about 500 titles a year for France 5 and another 100 for other services within the group. The team also prebuys or co-produces 50 programs a year. Burns serves as chief programming officer at the SVOD platform CuriosityStream, which focuses on science, history, technology, wildlife and cultural programming. The service is available in 196 countries around the world. Now in its third year, the platform has amassed more than 1,700 titles. “Each year we do 120 hours of acquisitions, presales, co-pros and commissions,” he said. Speaking about their wish lists, Drobnyk referenced science, history, exploration, adventure, travel and natural history. Nat Geo WILD has “built a microcosm of what we call animal caregivers,” with series like The Incredible Dr. Pol, about a veterinarian. “The other place we’re looking is more host-driven series that can take us into some of these areas. One of the challenges we all have on the documentary and nonfiction side is, how do we take this genre to a new generation of viewers? I’m hoping to bring more faces to our air to do that.”
Mino has two sets of wish lists at France Télévisions. He’s looking for titles that will fill a Tuesday evening prime-time slot in the areas of science, space, ancient civilizations and archeology. These will usually be one-off, 90-minute programs, either French productions or international co-pros or acquisitions. He’s also buying for daytime, notably programs on discovery, wildlife and ethnology. According to Burns, CuriosityStream is “always looking for a new production technique that allows people to revisit those topics [of science, technology, wildlife, etc.]. It’s that substance matched with an entertaining storytelling style that we’re always looking for.” Carugati asked the panelists about the split between acquisitions, co-pros and originals at their services. At CuriosityStream, it’s 85 percent acquired and 15 percent originals, encompassing co-pros, presales and in-house productions. Nat Geo used to do more co-pros, Drobnyk said. One recent one, Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings, began as a presale and evolved into a co-production “as we learned more about the project and more about the National Geographic explorers involved.” Mino would like to be doing more co-pros and prebuys but is constrained by budgets. Sometimes a presale can become a co-pro if France 5 determines it wants more editorial input on a project so that it fits its editorial needs. The session wrapped with a conversation on the major challenges in the nonfiction space today. “Steve Burns’ service is getting people to cut cable,” Drobnyk quipped, noting the emergence of digital platforms as a competitor to linear TV channels. “And making content relevant to a new generation of viewers—that’s the key. We look at our content from a multiplatform perspective. We have a relationship with Hulu. We have an incredible app. We program our content with those platforms in mind.” Burns views the level of competition as a “challenge, not a problem.” A complication, he said, is rights issues. “We have to geoblock here and there around the world.”
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WS_0618_S&V_ALT_WSN_1207_IN THE NEWS 6/1/18 11:52 AM Page 1
IN THE NEWS
By Anna Carugati
Distinctive storytelling and IP ownership have been the drivers of A+E Networks’ growth over the last several years, domestically and internationally, with a bouquet of brands available in some 200 markets. Patrick Vien and Edward Sabin, executive managing directors of international, tell World Screen about the importance of owning content and the role of digital initiatives in generating creativity, engagement and viewer loyalty. WS: What are your strategic imperatives as you grow your international businesses? VIEN: The first is growing our brands. Second is expanding our intellectual property. We have been producers of programming since the beginning of the company’s history. We have about 16,000 hours in our library, and we produce over 1,000 hours per year. An example of how we’re building those brands through programming is History of Football for HISTORY. In 160 markets, we’re going to interrupt the programming schedule before the World Cup and celebrate football with a big 14day, 24/7 television event. So, celebrating our brands and maintaining their cultural relevance is a big strategic priority as the world of distribution of content continues to evolve, and we’re in a position to introduce very immersive and inventive programming. History of Football is an example of how we’re attacking that both as a brand manager and as a producer of content. SABIN: As we think about super-serving our user, our viewer, our client, there are two watchword strategies: becoming more local and becoming more digital; everything that we do goes through that filter. We have a business that’s been built on 6/18 WORLD SCREEN 35
the strength of what’s come out of our U.S. brands and producers. The next phase of continued growth is to say, How do we get to those users wherever they are? How do we speak to them in a way that they understand? A really good example of that is our recent launch of HISTORY and Lifetime in South Korea. Those are the most local brands that we have launched in the history of our company. The goal is for those channels to be built to feel like truly Korean channels, not like imported American channels with some Korean programming. They’re also highly digital; our new program launches have digital partnerships intricately involved in the conception of them. South Korea is the first market where we’ve had an original scripted local-language production, which we did in partnership with a digital brand. That’s a great example of combining local and digital in one fell swoop. WS: A+E was one of the first companies that understood the value of owning its own content and IP. VIEN: That was imperative for us to control our destiny and be relatively agnostic about how we wanted to reach audiences around the world. That’s how we amassed that 16,000-hour library, and that’s how we continue to nurture the ownership of that as we continue to produce. We produce a huge amount of factual television programming; we are one of the predominant—if not the predominant—TV-movie producers around the world. Our formats business continues to grow and expand, and in the last few years, A+E has launched A+E Studios and is a premium producer of scripted television. All
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A+E Networks has secured a range of deals for its TV movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance.
studio, which we launched recently, is a good example of of this is for the benefit of our brands in the U.S. and around that; we are in the business of producing short- to mid-form the world, but also for the global marketplace. Fundamencontent for digital platforms driving significant traffic tally, being an IP company is the strategic backbone of who throughout the entire Southeast Asian region. We’re looking we are, and the company has a terrific reputation for being a to modify and duplicate that success in other parts of the magnet for great producers, creators and talent. That could world as well. not be more a part of our everyday set of activities; it’s what we fundamentally do. Even though there’s going to be evoWS: Innovation is important to viewers and producers. Tell lution as to how programming is presented, our view is that us about Live PD. the most culturally relevant brands are transitioning into a VIEN: As we dominate in factual, there was a lot of effort to think truly cross-platform world, where there are opportunities to about what could be next. Live PD is deeply immersive; it is live leverage our content in multiple ways. Fundamentally, for us, for three hours on A&E in the U.S. on Fridays and Saturdays. It it’s about quality content and about the strength of our monitors police activity simultaneously in six cities throughbrands. Above all, as a global content company, we are able to out the U.S. It has turned A&E into the number one cable netsupport our culturally ascendant brands in the manner in work on Fridays and Saturdays, further solidifying its strength which viewers have come to know and love them, and also to in the true-crime series genre. It allows the viewer to be a parcater to viewers on new platforms. ticipant, to be a voyeur. It’s an experience that’s quite different SABIN: From day one, we understood the importance not only of from any kind of television—even live television—that’s been owning all of our content but actually being a creative partner produced before. to the producers who delivered us that content. Ownership of content wasn’t merely a commercial reality; it was a creative reality as well. And the next phase of how we want to execute on that is to find brilliant producers around whom we can build production presences in key strategic international territories. And what is a creative international territory will depend on, obviously, the viability of the local market as an IP hothouse and export market, but also where we have brands and channels and other businesses. In terms of turning the digital page, we think about it in three buckets: first, migrating our brands that have been and continue to be very successful on existing platforms to new digital platforms so the channels that we all know and love are available wherever, whenever, in partnership with our affiliates around the world. Second, launching digital-first brands, as we’ve done with Lifetime Movie Club and HISTORY Vault in the United States and now Kriminal on Amazon in the U.K. Third is creating digital content. Our Southeast Asian digital Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as Griselda Blanco in the Lifetime TV movie Cocaine Godmother. 36 WORLD SCREEN 6/18
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WS: Is third-party content also important? VIEN: We are certainly internationalizing ourselves as a media and IP company, and one of the ways to do that is to partner with producers and build production companies in different parts of the world so that we are sourcing talent, stories, content and characters from all over the place. Another area that touches on third-party content is scripted co-production. At A+E Studios, we’re in partnership with [producers in other countries] looking at how we can bring more scripted television to the marketplace. SABIN: It’s also a philosophy we have in expanding our format business. Tornante, Michael Eisner’s company, has entrusted our sales and production teams to represent Snap Decision [internationally]. It’s on GSN in the U.S. We’re talking to producers and third parties all the time—whether they have ideas that need some funding or perspective from a market outside of the U.S. or just some distribution muscle, which we have in spades, given the great content and library that we represent—to partner with them to go international. You’ll see more third-party formats being represented by us as well. VIEN: In some cases, we’re looking at formats that we can give birth to outside of the U.S. and then bring to market. We’re in partnership with producers and in discussions with British, Spanish and Italian broadcasters where we might bring a format to life in one of those markets and then internationalize them. Up until a few years ago, the company’s history was more, start first in the U.S. and then export. [Now] we’re very much [working in] an ecosystem that’s become multidirectional. SABIN: At MIPTV, we had a program that was devised, produced and executed for the very first time in Poland called Thrift Queens, which is a great example of what Patrick described in terms of our ability to be multidirectional and not merely relying on the great benefit that we have of working with the U.S. teams that are so successful. WS: Does the company also remain committed to TV movies? VIEN: We couldn’t possibly be more committed to that space. Lifetime is the nucleus of TV movies for us in the U.S. We’ve got more than 300 titles in our library and with every passing year, we’re looking at an expanded slate. We’ve had a wonderful experience as we continue to elevate our relationships with talent and filmmakers. Catherine Zeta-Jones worked with us last year on Cocaine Godmother, which proved to be a great success. At MIPTV, we had Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, which has garnered great results for us on the contentsales side as well as global viewership. We’re continuing to look at how we can work with great filmmakers. We’re looking at book publishing titles and at working with people who are very talented on-screen. WS: Have you launched other digital initiatives? SABIN: Several months ago, we launched a digital studio in Singapore to serve the Southeast Asian market in recognition of ad-sales opportunities that existed outside of the traditional linear ad-supported business. We saw our ad-sales clients clamoring for ways to reach their audiences beyond producing television-length programs for our channels, and we also recognized that we had in our marketing and producing teams highly skilled, very successful producers of content of all lengths. So, we took a look at our creative prowess and staff under our roof and said, Is there an additional way to
empower these folks to reach new viewers on new platforms and have a different kind of a story to tell advertisers? So, with our talent, we’ve launched a studio that is publishing 400 to 500 clips a year of short- and mid-form content. We’re averaging somewhere between 30 million and 40 million streams a month of our content, which dwarfs all our competitors. We’re even beating some digital-original-first brands. We’re super proud of that, and that’s a formula that we’re looking to duplicate in other parts of the world as well. It allows us to reach new consumers, evolve our brands and work with new sponsors. VIEN: Another example is how that can be a creative field for us. History of Football, for example, is going to be on the linear services. A lot of the original series will be on catch-up, but we’re also producing great, original, football-related programming that’s going to be distributed via the YouTube channels that can get up to 70 million unique views per month. There are different ways of using that realm of creativity in part to reach another audience, to make them aware of something that you’ve got on your service, or to create original content simply for that kind of consumption. An example of the latter is our digital storytelling hub in the U.S., 45th & Dean, which produced a series called Second Chance with Snap, and we’re into our second season of that. That remains for short-form, but that can be fodder for longerform programming. The word digital is an odd word because, quite frankly, almost everything already is, but it’s that realm of new programming distribution and conception that can lead to bigger business or can be a strong accompaniment to business. We’re big in that arena in the U.S. and increasingly around the world.
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In the run-up to the World Cup, HISTORY is rolling out History of Football as a 14-day global TV event.
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Inter Medyaâ€™s Black Money Love.
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Mansha Daswani explores the latest developments in the market for drama across Central and Eastern Europe. ver-the-top platforms have already transformed the drama business in North America and Western Europe, so it’s no wonder that they’re beginning to have an impact in Central and Eastern Europe as well. “There has been a surge in new OTT players in these markets, especially in Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but also in the Balkans, with, I believe, more to come in 2018,” observes Nick Pawsey, the VP of sales and distribution for CEE, CIS and Russia at FremantleMedia International (FMI). “For us, this means increasingly complex windowing of our content but also more competition and opportunity, which is always good for us and the market. The volume of both new and library content needed to keep subscriber churn rates down and the offering fresh has been a real opportunity for us. Services like ShowJet and Yandex in Russia all the way across to Pickbox in the Balkans are becomingly increasingly important as we look to partner with and support local players outside of the global Netflix and Amazon deals.” Fredrik af Malmborg, the managing director of Eccho Rights, says that his company, too, is “selling more and more to the VOD platforms.” That trend, combined with a willingness on the part of broadcasters to look beyond the traditional U.S. studio sources for scripted content, is creating a wealth of opportunities for drama distributors across the region. Perhaps none more so than for the Turkish content powerhouses.
TURKISH DELIGHT “Since the beginning of their popularity in the international market, there has been strong demand for Turkish series in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in the Balkans, where many of our series and feature films have been
exported,” says Can Okan, the founder and CEO of Inter Medya. The company has notched up CEE deals for shows such as Endless Love and Mrs. Fazilet and Her Daughters, Okan reports. “Turkish dramas have been on air for more than ten years in the region,” says Deniz Cantutan, sales manager for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa at Kanal D International. “Buyers have a high level of awareness about the storylines, casts and performance of all the Turkish programs.” She says that the company’s business has been strong across Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Romania, Croatia, Macedonia and Albania, and notes that buyers are quick to snap up a show if it’s proven to be successful in its home market or other territories. “Our business in Eastern Europe has been going very well for many years—it was one of the first markets where the boom of Turkish content happened and continues to be a big market for us,” observes Ismail Dursunov, deputy general manager at Calinos Entertainment. “Central Europe is also a valuable market for us, and we are hoping to grow our presence there even more.” Eccho Rights’ af Malmborg says that interest in Turkish dramas in CEE “shows no sign of weakening. We have closed a number of countries for Stiletto Vendetta, Elif is going everywhere and Cennet is going everywhere. Poland is taking off well with Turkish drama. We’ve had series there for quite some time, but there’s still a good demand, and the prices are increasing. We sold out in Bulgaria and Romania, and Hungary buys a lot. Croatia has been a bit weak in Turkish drama, but they’re coming back.” Turkish dramas form a large part of Eccho Rights’ scripted business, but the company represents a diverse array of shows from across Europe and Asia. “We’ve started to sell more Scandinavian shows, and we are also selling some Russian and Ukrainian series,” 6/18 WORLD SCREEN 39
af Malmborg says. “The demand is quite high in Eastern Europe.” FMI’s Pawsey backs up af Malmborg’s view that CEE buyers are keen to try out shows from markets they may not have acquired heavily from in the past.
EURO MIX “Clients are increasingly looking for something different outside of the typical U.S. studio fare,” Pawsey says. “They are bolder in their choices, willing to take risks and try more non-Englishlanguage content. FMI is well placed to supply these slots with a strong slate of diverse, premium drama from the U.S., U.K., Scandinavia, Italy, Germany, Australia and now Turkey with the success of Avlu, a local version of the hit Australian drama Wentworth, on Star TV.” Strong sellers have included The Young Pope, Deutschland 83 and American Gods, Pawsey says. “More recently, The Miracle is doing well for us,” Pawsey continues. “Picnic at Hanging Rock is now with Canal+ in Poland for their premium pay, basic and SVOD offerings and with the FILMBOX channels across the CEE region. My Brilliant Friend, as an HBO U.S. original, is going to HBO across its CEE footprint and we are now actively engaged in second-window opportunities. Alarm Für Cobra 11, which FMI now distributes along with the entire RTL Germany catalog and new series, has been a huge hit across the region on both pay- and free-TV channels and goes from strength to strength as it heads into its 24th season.” Western European drama, in general, appears to be having its moment in the sun everywhere. Netflix recently revealed that its most-viewed non-English-language series was the Spanish show Money Heist from Atresmedia. Spanish pubcaster RTVE is looking to raise its international profile with a slate of dramas that includes the period piece A Different View and the thrillers Fugitive and I’m Alive. Moreover, the Spanish series Gran Hotel is getting a
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remake in the U.S. courtesy of Eva Longoria and ABC. However, Spain, a thriving drama export market, is not closed off to imports from other parts of the region. Indeed, the Spanish market opening up to Turkish distributors is seen as a promising sign for the genre’s prospects across Western Europe. “The really big [development] is the success of Turkish drama in Spain,” says Eccho Rights’ af Malmborg. “Fatmagül premiered earlier this winter [on Nova] and is scoring 900,000 viewers every day, and we’ve sold two more series to them. Ezel will premiere later on this spring, and we have one other series coming up in the fall.” Kanal D’s Cantutan says that after the success of Fatmagül on Nova, “the Western European market has become more fruitful for us. In recent years, we worked with Fox in Italy for Sweet Revenge. Matter of Respect was launched in France with a good performance too. Now, Fatmagül is on air on Canal+ in France. We believe this success will positively affect the nearby countries.” Inter Medya’s Okan describes Western Europe “as a new market for us,” but the company’s efforts there are already starting to pay off. “At this year’s MIPTV, we sold our series Black Money Love to Spain and we hope to attract other European clients at the upcoming NATPE Budapest International. Our goal this year is to reach this area of the market with our vast catalog.” Eccho Rights was able to open the Swedish market to Turkish dramas, af Malmborg says. “We’ve had good success with Turkish dramas in Sweden. They run every day on SVT. Broken Pieces will be in its third season this fall, at 7:30 in the evening. It’s performing very well.” Calinos’s Dursunov is optimistic that more Western European buyers will see the potential of Turkish dramas. “We believe the success of our dramas will soon spread to Italy, Germany and the U.K.,” he notes.
SPEAKING YOUR LANGUAGE
Turkish dramas—such as, from the top, Calinos’s Woman, Kanal D’s Price of Passion and Eccho Rights’ Stiletto Vendetta—are in high demand across CEE.
The business of Turkish drama formats is picking up steam on the heels of Eccho Rights’ success with The End, which has been remade in the Netherlands and Spain. The scripted format business, in general, is faring well across Europe, af Malmborg reports. “There is a strong growth in dramas that are produced locally,” he explains, adding, “we have lots of scripts from Korea, so we’re adapting a few. We’ve done one in Ukraine, and more are being done there. The appetite for scripts is quite high.” FMI’s Pawsey reflects a similar sentiment when he notes, “Licensing of scripted formats will be an area we look to pursue further this year to win slots that are typically reserved for local content. With a deep and diverse library and full production pipeline, we’re confident this will be a growth area of our business.” Naturally for content distributors, having the ability to monetize drama adaptations is critical—but can be challenging, af Malmborg explains, noting that there has not been a strong trade in Eastern European drama within the region. “It’s time for the broadcasters in Eastern Europe to realize the value they have in their neighboring countries—and things are changing,” he says. “In every other part of the world, shows from neighboring countries are very successful. This is an area to discover and develop” in CEE, he says. Indeed, drama distributors are feeling upbeat as they head to NATPE Budapest International, with bright spots emerging across CEE. As FMI’s Pawsey notes, “Poland is always a strong market for us, the DTT market in Poland is also highly competitive and growing and the free-to-air channels in the Czech Republic and Hungary are increasingly looking for premium European drama and event series. I think the Balkans will see a resurgence in their appetite for foreign content in 2018, outside of the Turkish content that has worked well for them over the past few years. And, Romania and Bulgaria also show signs of growth for us in the region.”
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BBC Studiosâ€™ Dancing with the Stars on Polsat in Poland.
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Distributors weigh in about the kinds of formats that are in demand among broadcasters across Europe. By Kristin Brzoznowski s fear of the FAANGs looms in the linear TV community, many broadcasters across Europe are looking to localized entertainment for the type of compelling programming that will set them apart and get audiences to switch off from streaming. Shows that can be tailored to the tastes of viewers in a given country (and make some noise for the channel) are enjoying a rather nice boost across both Western and Eastern Europe, and format distributors are reporting interest in a broad range of genres as well. “The format business in Central and Eastern Europe continues to grow,” says Bo Stehmeier, the senior VP of global sales at Red Arrow Studios International. “The market is maturing, and there is more appetite for risk. These countries are a bit more experimental and keen to explore different shows, in comparison to those in the West.” In Western Europe, Stehmeier continues, “the pressure in the television ecosystem is very high. The shows that broadcasters do acquire have to hit. So, when you sell a format into Western Europe, it’s about having a proven track record.” Armed with megahits such as Dancing with the Stars and The Great Bake Off, BBC Studios is able to tout track records for many of its formats to European buyers. Dancing with the Stars, for one, “has stood the test of time,” says Sumi Connock, creative
director for formats. “We signed up three new territories last year and three more this year. Interestingly, Poland has more seasons (21) than anywhere outside of the U.S.” The show counts recent launches in Spain and in Iceland, where it “quadrupled the slot audience,” according to Connock. “In Ireland, the broadcaster replaced The Voice with Dancing with the Stars, decisively beating all time-slot competition, more than quadrupling the share of its closest rival and achieving an astonishing 47.2-percent audience share for the season two finale.”
LOYAL FOLLOWING Bake Off, too, has seen wide-ranging success in Europe, airing in countries from the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Denmark. “The thing about Bake Off is that it has a really loyal audience; its performance tends to grow from season to season,” says Connock. “The series has successfully moved channels within the same territory. It’s been the number one show in the U.K. on three of the five terrestrial channels. We have seen the same in Poland; it started on TLC with two seasons and moved to TVP2,” where it’s now in its fourth season. Game shows have also been traveling well across Europe, Connock says. She points to You’re Back in the Room, which is in production in Slovakia for TV Markíza, as a 6/18 WORLD SCREEN 43
notable success. “We had it on in Portugal, where the second episode of the season beat the Got Talent Portugal premiere. [The producers also] found a new production model that meant it could record more than one episode a day, so that’s made it a bit more cost-effective without impacting the production values,” and all the more appealing to buyers in the region keeping a close eye on budgets. Similarly, Endemol Shine Group found a way to contain costs for its large-scale, prime-time game show The Wall, which has sold across Europe to countries such as France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Romania. “When we look at that show and its success in the U.S., we want to take it into all markets, but the format requires a very expensive studio and quite a big investment for the construction of the wall,” says Marina Williams, COO of international operations at Endemol Shine Group. “We came up with the idea to build a hub in Poland. People were initially skeptical; they were not sure if it would have a high-quality technical team or if they could find enough of a fan base to fill the studio. But this hub has exceeded everybody’s expectations—it’s a phenomenal success.” In addition to The Wall, Williams reports strong sales across Europe for the music format Your Face Sounds Familiar, which she says has charmed audiences in CEE with its “light comedy” and “nostalgic” qualities.
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Scripted formats like Step Dave, sold by all3media international, are gaining traction across the region.
and Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. “We are consistently receiving inquiries from CEE buyers about stories with a strong lead character so that if needed, more interesting stories could be built around that character,” she adds. Senay Tas, sales director for CEE at Global Agency, has also noticed that channels in the region are increasingly opting to localize scripted series. But overall, she says, the company has seen the most traction in this part of the world with “feel-good” and “cost-effective” formats. “We have a lot of good daily strip formats in our catalog and that has become more of a trend in many of the CEE territories,” says Tas. As the economies in countries across Central and Eastern Europe have continued to feel a pinch, having a show that can deliver a high volume and amortize the cost is certainly alluring for buyers. “We have quite a few really good singing talent shows in our catalog, but the big shiny-floor shows are a bit harder to sell in these territories,” she says. “It’s a challenge, and I’m trying my best to make it happen.” The entertainment behemoths that have been working well in prime time across Europe largely continue to do so, holding onto their slots as broadcasters recommission them season after season.
with a production company in Russia for a local treatment of a crime series. “When we were initially targeting CEE, telenovelas previously gathered a lot of interest,” says Diane Min, senior sales manager. “These days, now that CJ E&M is growing its library of crime and suspense dramas, these are also garnering interest in the EU.” Min says the company is finding a bigger appetite for its scripted formats in Central
For all3media international, constructed reality has been a top seller across CEE, notably its titles from the Filmpool catalog. RTL in Hungary has commissioned nearly 1,700 episodes of Day & Night, and Tako Media continues to produce Families at the Crossroads and Cases of Doubt in Poland for Polsat. “We have a lot of success in CEE with our big factual-entertainment formats as well,” says Lucy Roberts, sales manager for formats in EMEA North at all3media international. She highlights Undercover Boss, 10 Years Younger and Kitchen Nightmares in particular. In Western Europe, the company has landed solid sales on Studio Lambert’s Be My Guest, which has a weekly version in the Netherlands and a daily version in Belgium. “As well as the bigger demand for factual entertainment, I’m seeing an appetite for scripted,” Roberts reports. “TV2 in Hungary will be producing more episodes of South Pacific Pictures’ romantic dramedy Step Dave this year. Russia and Ukraine are really looking toward scripted format ideas as well—I foresee a lot of potential there.” This news bodes well for South Korea’s CJ E&M, which is looking to increase business across Europe with remakes of its scripted hits. The drama Tears of Heaven was adapted in Turkey for ATV with much success, and the company is close to finalizing a deal
Global Agency has found success with the fashion format My Style Rocks as a daily strip in access prime.
The competition series The Brain, which originated in Germany, has been adapted in Poland, Croatia and Serbia, as well as in Russia, where it’s had three seasons. “The more seasons you produce for this show, the more challenges you design, and every new client can further benefit from that,” Williams says of The Brain.
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“It is true that because all the big juggernauts are still working, there is more of a demand for access-prime entertainment in the region, which is probably why game shows are selling so well,” says BBC Studios’ Connock. “You can record multiple episodes and still have really high production values. There are more slots available for [formats with] those kinds of budgets.”
EASY TO ACCESS Red Arrow’s Stehmeier agrees that broadcasters in the region are eyeing formats for access prime now more than ever. “In the olden days, access was like a lead-in slot,” he says. “Now, you have to be fairly punchy before prime. Looking at prime time, you now have to be über-punchy. A show has to be really emotional; it has to grab you and [keep you engaged] for an entire hour.” The company has clinched access-prime slots in the region with My Restaurant Rocks and Shop! Cook! Win!, for example. In prime time, the social experiment Married at First Sight has been a resounding success, and the property-based Buying Blind is picking up steam. “Social experiments are one of our strong suits,” Stehmeier says. “Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds is really emotional and topical,”
CJ E&M sees strong potential in Europe for remakes of its scripted formats such as Stranger. which are both valuable propositions for prime time. “If you’re a broadcaster, not only are you delivering emotionally but you’ve also got something for the journalists to write about to position the channel and the slot. It’s important to help the broadcaster to grow its brand equity.”
For access prime, Stehmeier says formats that are sponsorship-led or can feature product placement are quite desirable. “In CEE, the laws around sponsorship and product placement are more relaxed than in the Western European countries,” he notes. “If you look at the landscape, CEE has smaller
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A production hub was set up in Poland to produce local versions of the large-scale game show The Wall, which is part of the Endemol Shine catalog. countries and smaller television households. Budget is a big factor for the broadcasters. They love the big prime-time shows, but often they are too expensive unless you can [build a hub]. So you do always have the budget factor when you’re selling into CEE. “When you sell into Western Europe, if the show is right, the budget is there,” Stehmeier continues. “It just needs to be proven and tested, and they’ll run with it.” As budgets in Central and Eastern Europe are generally a bit tighter, it’s particularly challenging to secure a format commission from one of the smaller, more niche channels in the region. “I have been selling style shows, for example, to some niche channels in CEE and they are working well,” says Global Agency’s Tas. “But we’re mainly focusing on selling our formats to the freeTV channels.” “On the whole, it is still mostly the main free-to-air channels that are commissioning formats in CEE, although there are increasingly discussions about acquiring for secondary channels now,” says all3media international’s Roberts. “In a few rare cases,
there are opportunities online as well. I recently closed my first format deal for AVOD-only in Russia.” Russia is cited by many executives, Roberts among them, as being a particularly buoyant market for format sales. “There are so many channels and production companies, and they are open to a wide variety of genres,” she says. “We have local versions of 10 Years Younger and Sexy Beasts on air, plus two other non-scripted and two scripted projects in the works.”
RUSSIAN CONNECTION “I have noticed that success of a show in Russia gives an unbelievable boost to the pickup rate of the format elsewhere,” says Endemol Shine’s Williams. She saw it first with Your Face Sounds Familiar, then had a similar experience with The Brain. “It was difficult to sell The Brain at first; nobody believed that they could find enough talent, which is the key to casting. After Russia made it, and it was the highestrated show of the year, everybody started to express interest. The viewers across the 46 WORLD SCREEN 6/18
region are similar: they love entertainment, they love comedy, and they love a celebration when it comes to television.” Williams also lists Poland as being a hot market. Following on the success it saw there with a hub for The Wall, Endemol Shine is readying one for the Fear Factor format in the country as well. “Now that Poland has proven itself as a hub for game shows, we’re also looking to expand that offer to other markets,” says Williams. “We are creating hubs for our other shows, even reality.” Red Arrow’s Stehmeier is particularly enthused about the future prospects of “über-sizing access prime,” especially through the production-hub model, for boosting format sales in the region. “There’s a real opportunity to go big in access prime through central-hub production mechanisms,” he says, “where setup costs can be shared and also be financed by brands or product placements. The time is right to help move prime-time audiences into access—and achieving that would bring a real commercial tear to my eye!”
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brand, and the fourth season, in our opinion, is one of the strongest ones in the whole arc. WS: Do European drama series tend to have more limited runs than American network shows? FRANKE: There are two types of European drama. You have these long-running series and franchises, usually for the early evening on the pubcasters. It’s mostly procedurals. We have a lot of these too, especially our crime shows and the romance series, which are super successful. But if you look at the highlight titles and the real flagships, they tend to have fewer seasons. I think it’s because there’s a bit more of an awareness that you have to find the right time to stop doing something. It’s dictated by the story. Look at what’s happening to a lot of long-running cable TV shows right now. [They feel] repetitive. Sometimes you’ll have something that will just live for one season. You should make it as well as you can and move on to the next one. It’s always great if you can build a franchise, but you have to be respectful of the idea and the premise and not milk it for the sake of it.
By Mansha Daswani
ZDF Enterprises recently announced it had inked a deal with Netflix for Tabula Rasa, bringing the psychological thriller to the streaming platform’s global footprint, excluding Germany, the U.K. and France, where the service has a second window on the drama. Produced in Belgium, Tabula Rasa reflects the increasing diversity of ZDF Enterprises’ scripted slate, which has expanded well beyond its German roots. Robert Franke, the VP of ZDFE.drama, tells World Screen about navigating the crowded global scripted landscape. WS: What are some of the dramas on your slate that you are most excited about? FRANKE: There is the second season of Ku’damm. It’s a period drama from Germany. Especially in these times, it’s a very important piece of content because it’s about women trying to emancipate themselves from societal norms and stand up for themselves. In the time of #MeToo, this sends a powerful message that there are obstacles that can be overcome if you’re persistent enough. It’s topical even though it’s period. These are themes and tropes that are important, especially nowadays. We sold [season one] to all major territories. We’re positive that the second season will be even stronger. Returning series always help to boost sales. And it’s a flagship for ZDF as well. We also have the fourth season of Bron/Broen. That’s a big one from Scandinavia for us. It’s not only the conclusion of one of our most successful franchises—it’s also an important piece in our catalog because it’s been sold all across the world. It’s a well-known
WS: What are some of the qualities you look for in dramas to invest in? FRANKE: Market segmentation is picking up speed, primarily driven by the streaming platforms. Even smaller shows tend to find an audience now. That is great but also kind of scary. People in our industry are used to selling their flagships to hundreds of territories. Now you have all these smaller shows popping up like mushrooms. People call it the golden age of television. In my mind, it’s the golden age of fragmentation. As a consequence, as a distribution company or a production company—we’re a hybrid of both, as we’re kicking off projects with our partners—it’s important to become more diverse in the titles we’re adding to our catalog. There are smaller shows with great premises for niche audiences, and you have to find these viewers out there. It’s harder and harder to generate these worldwide hits. People are more selective, and they are watching things that cater to their needs. In that regard, we are diversifying our portfolio. We have been very strong in the past in crime and romance, but now we see there’s a growing demand for elevated genre ideas, things blending into each other, and there’s even more flexibility in what channels want. We will continue to have our very strong Scandinavian production lineup, but we will also look into smaller topics now. WS: Are you seeing a greater openness to limited event series or do buyers need shows that are returnable? FRANKE: There is a rise in anthologies. Fargo is a great example. Even things like Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams or Black Mirror are gaining more traction. Generally, free-TV buyers are looking for returning series, long-running stuff, but in the streaming world, those rules don’t necessarily apply. [SVODs] look at it from a target-audience point of view. If they think it can drive conversions and keep the retention high, they will take it, even if it’s just one season. WS: You have invested a lot in Scandi drama. Are there other territories you see as emerging drama hotspots? FRANKE: We’ve added a lot of Belgian shows. The production landscape, the whole ecosystem in Belgium, resembles Scandinavia. It’s a small territory; they cannot afford to produce
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solely by themselves—they have to co-produce—and at the same time, there is a lot of creativity in the territory. And they have to look for a worldwide market. So there is more openness to creating something that doesn’t only do well on the home turf. Scandinavia is a bit heavy on the crime side, and people expect this. Genres from Scandinavia other than crime are not being given much of a chance. Something like Tabula Rasa, if it had come from Scandinavia, would have been a harder sell. People expect Scandi noir from Scandinavia. There aren’t these preconceptions about what the Belgian market is producing, which is certainly helpful. Also, there are more internationally marketable programs coming out of the big territories. Germany is a good example—Ku’damm now has a chance to travel the world. That is not always true for our bread-and-butter business like the early-evening German shows, which we sell very successfully to a handful of territories but we have a hard time selling to the U.S. Ku’damm can travel everywhere because of the narrative quality and the production values. Italian content had a reputation for being slow-paced and not very sexy. We have Maltese, which is super successful. It represents a new generation of film and TV makers driven to produce exciting new stuff. WS: How are you finding new creative talent? FRANKE: We have to create an environment where we foster new talent. That’s something we’re trying to do. We are trying to find ideas that have an international angle or that stand for quality. If it’s a new voice, a new writer, for example, we team them up with experienced creative talent. In a highly consolidated market, you have to take risks, you have to give emerging talent a chance to do something
they believe is unique and you have to support them. That’s what we’re doing. WS: What new projects are you working on? FRANKE: We teamed up with a couple of handpicked U.S. producers. The first show out of development is One Bad Apple with Gavin and Rebecca Scott. Paul Johnson from Tuvalu is producing it for us. It’s unique for us because we haven’t done anything like this in the past. There are two more shows in the pipeline also with U.S. producers. Like everybody else, we’re investing at an earlier stage, taking more risks, but also are becoming more involved in the creative side to make sure we get something that we can really sell. We also co-produce, and we help finance. WS: How do you craft a windowing strategy for each title? FRANKE: There is no one-size-fits-all. We look at what we have and determine who are the most likely candidates to greenlight something like this. And then we try to get feedback as early as possible. And then work out a strategy together with them. If you go to a large SVOD platform and they turn something into an original show, there isn’t much windowing you can do. You have to ask yourself, Is it the right thing to do for the show? It might be, and sometimes you have to say, No, this is not what I want, we are aiming for a different type of exposure and we’d rather sell it off one by one. It’s always weighing the strategic value of a deal versus the commercial value. We talk to our producers and ask them, What are you expecting from us, besides money? That might be exposure or festival success or whatever, and then we craft a windowing strategy that reflects that.
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A three-part period drama, Ku ’damm 59 is one of the key German shows on ZDF Enterprises’ scripted slate.
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We’ve got some really great shows coming out of it. New producers that we are working with are [Warner Bros. International Television Production Group’s] Twenty Twenty and 42 on Jerusalem and FLX on Blinded, our new Swedish-language show. Then there are ongoing relationships with all3media group companies as they expand. We’re looking at working on our German-language content through Filmpool and MME in Germany. Through this change in scripted strategy, we have become a bit more diverse in the kinds of shows we’re looking for and a bit more broad-minded about foreign-language drama in the context of that strategy.
By Anna Carugati
As the commercial arm of all3media, all3media international distributes programming from the group’s various companies and also represents third-party product. In response to the enduring popularity of scripted fare, Louise Pedersen, CEO of all3media international, initiated a new drama investment strategy some 18 months ago, which has ranged from co-production deals with linear and nonlinear services in the U.S. to financing non-English-language series. Pedersen talks to World Screen about working with producers, helping them perfect their pitches and branching out into comedies. WS: What results has your drama strategy yielded? PEDERSEN: About 18 months ago, we looked at how we were going to get more scripted content and what we could do to facilitate that. As a result of that strategy session, we started talking to producers about getting involved in their projects at a much earlier stage. That happened in two ways. One was getting involved on a project-by-project case at the development stage, which in essence is funding a treatment or a script. And the other way was forming first-look deals and relationships where we can have an overall slate deal with a production business and look at which projects in that slate we think would be great to develop further. That’s paid off.
WS: How do you work with producers to help them shape product that might work in the international market? PEDERSEN: We [have a] light touch about it. If you are a production company working on a show, we want to work with you, and we absolutely trust you to get that show right creatively. Perhaps we just give market intelligence on the pitch—what are the two lines that make your show unique? What sums it up? What are you trying to achieve? Of course, if you can back that up with a cast and a director with a track record, that’s great as well. But in essence, where we are really adding value is [by telling producers] how to make their show stand out, what we think the market wants, and how to bring out those points in the pitch. Rather than say it’s a spy show— there are 20 of them on the market at the moment—explain what is the writer’s vision, what is your vision and how do we help you get that across to our buyers. Certainly, helping our production companies refine their pitches is where we can add value. We also give feedback on trends and developments: who’s looking for what, who is buying what, what opportunities there are—this is really important feedback. And, of course, writing a check is the biggest feedback, either for development or for top-off financing, deficit financing, or in some cases, a level of co-commissioning financing as well. WS: Are you also moving ahead with co-productions in the U.S.? PEDERSEN: Yes, we are and not just in scripted. We did nine co-productions last year, with a really wide range of partners, including Amazon, Netflix, AMC and PBS/WGBH. We are continuing that. In the first few months of this year, we have also seen co-productions closed for comedies. When we were looking at our scripted strategy, we felt that comedy was an important part of it. Last year, we spent quite a bit of our development money with some of our producers on developing comedy shows and we’ve got three for which we are negotiating co-production deals, which is really interesting, especially in the SVOD space. Those shows tend to attract younger audiences. They are a little bit less ambitious budget-wise, so they are more financeable. It feels that the comedy space is having a real moment. That’s something, as well as the dramas, that we feel has been a growth area for us in the last couple of months.
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LICENSING EXPO & NATPE BUDAPEST EDITION
L&M Strategies / Studio 100 & m4eâ€™s Hans Ulrich Stoef
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4 TV KIDS
Toy Circle of Life
FEATURE 8 PLAYTIME! A spotlight on strategies that help build successful L&M campaigns for children’s programming.
The long and powerful reign of once-mighty global retailer Toys“R”Us is slowly but surely coming to an end—at least in much of its vast kingdom—as stores are shutting down in the U.K. and U.S.
Ricardo Seguin Guise Publisher Anna Carugati Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani Editor Kristin Brzoznowski Executive Editor Joanna Padovano Tong Managing Editor Sara Alessi Associate Editor Victor L. Cuevas Production & Design Director Phyllis Q. Busell Art Director Simon Weaver Online Director Dana Mattison Senior Sales & Marketing Manager Nathalia Lopez Sales & Marketing Coordinator Andrea Moreno Business Affairs Manager
Ricardo Seguin Guise President Anna Carugati Executive VP Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development TV Kids © 2018 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.tvkids.ws
It all started in late 2017, when Toys“R”Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Then, earlier this year the company revealed that it was winding down business in the U.K., as well as in the U.S., where Charles Lazarus founded the mega-retailer more than a half-century ago. (Lazarus, unfortunately, passed away in the midst of all this restructuring unpleasantness.) Toys“R”Us recently secured a buyer in Central Europe, and the company has said that it is “working to minimize the impact of the U.S. liquidation on the Canadian and other international markets,” but the outlook for the overall empire remains uncertain, to say the very least. While the news of the Toys“R”Us closures might not have come as a shock to most, it is still sad to witness the downfall of a beloved store that once brought so much joy to youngsters, whose persistent begging resulted in their parents buying them a shiny new toy that could be played with, shown off to friends and then ultimately, forgotten about when it wound up collecting dust in the back corner of a dingy attic. (When said youngsters become adults with homes of their own, their parents—much like my father—will start politely pressuring them to either take or toss out these physical representations of their childhood.) But licensing and merchandising (L&M) executives needn’t fret about where to sell their wares in the wake of Toys“R”Us’s ongoing demise. With online marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba making it oh-so easy to tick items off of little ones’ wish lists, there are still plenty of ways for kids to find toys based on their favorite shows—toys that, like many others that came before them, will likely end up in a dusty attic, per the inevitable “toy circle of life.” This issue of TV Kids includes a feature that analyzes some of the L&M strategies for today’s children’s programming. There is also an illuminating interview with Hans Ulrich Stoef, Studio 100 Media and m4e’s CEO, who shares how he’s managing the combined companies’ licensing and merchandising business given the challenges that are currently facing the sector. —Joanna Padovano Tong
13 Studio 100 & m4e’s Hans Ulrich Stoef The CEO discusses the integration of the two companies, M&A opportunities, managing scale and crafting the ideal development and production pipeline.
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Robot Trains / Rainbow Ruby / Pucca Friendship, teamwork and problem-solving are some of the main themes in Robot Trains, a new animated property that CJ E&M is highlighting at Licensing Expo. “Many licensees are already on board for various categories, including local toys and games, publishing, stationery, promotions and more in Europe,” says Joseph Kim, head of the global animation business division at CJ E&M. “We are looking forward to entering into many other categories in the near future.” The company is also promoting Rainbow Ruby, a girl-skewing animated brand featuring “vivid colors” as well as “multiple professions and educational activities,” according to Kim. “Rainbow Ruby delivers the message that children can become anything they want.” Then there is Pucca, a popular animated character from Korea that is slated to appear in a new CGI series next year.
“We will be attending this year’s Licensing Expo with our most competitive and well-made IPs.” —Joseph Kim
Mondo TV Heidi Bienvenida / Robot Trains / Invention Story At Licensing Expo, Mondo TV is putting a major focus on the live-action Heidi Bienvenida and animated Robot Trains. “Both shows have strong content with wide-ranging appeal, offering diverse opportunities for rich product development across a number of categories,” says Valentina La Macchia, the director of consumer products. These brands are “gaining strong audience interest in an increasing number of territories.” Another L&M highlight is Invention Story, an animated series that is slated for delivery next year. La Macchia says that there is such “enormous potential for Invention Story across both play and learning-related licensed product that [co-pro partners] Henan York Animation and Mondo TV have already committed to five seasons. This is not just a vote of confidence for the series itself but is also encouraging for licensees.”
“Differentiating your brand from those of your competitors is key, requiring quality and innovative products.” —Valentina La Macchia
School of Roars / Lassie / Mister Twister Animated and live-action programs, including a show for preschoolers, are among the highlights ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE) is presenting at NATPE Budapest International. The preschool comedy School of Roars seeks to prepare kids for their first year of school. The mini monsters in the show learn about math, music and finding new friends. “School of Roars is already widely placed with CBeebies and Universal Kids, among others, and season two is coming up,” says Jan-Frederik Maul, the director of ZDFE.junior. There is also the animated series Lassie, a “classic brand with wide recognition,” Maul adds. Season one has performed well, and the second installment is expected to appeal to international buyers. In the live-action space, ZDFE.junior has the book-based family-entertainment show Mister Twister.
“We can offer around 1,000 hours of content in key CEE languages such as Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech and Romanian.” —Jan-Frederik Maul
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8 TV KIDS
Product from eOne Family & Brandsâ€™ PJ Masks.
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Joanna Padovano Tong spotlights strategies that help build successful licensing and merchandising campaigns for kids’ programming. s shelf space becomes more and more crowded, L&M executives must arm themselves with knowledge about current trends to give their properties the best chance for success and, if they’re lucky, staying power in today’s challenging retail landscape. Much like TV-watching habits are analyzed to track viewers’ preferences, trends related to the purchase of licensed products must also be evaluated so that retailers and L&M execs can stay in the know, make consumers happy and keep profits flowing. Recently, global information company The NPD Group unveiled its U.S. Kids License Tracker, which provides “a holistic view” of licensed purchases in the country for kids up to age 14. The new service explores how license spending and buying behavior varies across such categories as apps and in-app purchases, arts and crafts, baby gear, books, clothing, footwear, school supplies, toys/puzzles, accessories and more. Insights include purchase methods and occasions, pricing, items bought, and demographic profiles of both the buyers and children. “NPD’s new service will provide our clients with a complete view of the kids’ licensing market and key insights to help retailers and licensors identify new opportunities,” said Joanne Hageman, the president of NPD’s entertainment sector, when announcing the launch of the U.S. Kids License Tracker. “The cross-industry coverage enables clients to refine their license’s positioning, become more strategic in their marketing and product-development efforts and guide their efforts toward understanding what is most important to their target audience.” NPD also recently reported that across the 12 global markets it tracks, toy industry sales inched up 1 percent in 2017. In the U.S., they rose by 1 percent to $20.7 billion. Mexico and Russia experienced the fastest growth, partially due to inflation, with sales rising 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Sales were flat in Germany and Italy, while the U.K., France and Australia experienced declines.
BUILT TO LAST In this challenging environment, having a strong brand is necessary to rise above the fierce competition. “We have a company mission, which is to create everlasting memories for children, and that is the central focus for everything we do with our brands,” says Ami Dieckman, the senior VP of international licensing at Entertainment One (eOne) Family & Brands. “What this means is that we’re creating
global brands with longevity and making sure that they remain relevant.” While some companies have a renewable pipeline of content, when it comes to its L&M catalog, eOne Family & Brands prefers to hone in on a few high-quality properties that will hopefully continue to thrive for a long time. PJ Masks has been in the marketplace for nearly three years, and the now evergreen Peppa Pig will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2019. “Our overarching global strategy leads with investment in content,” adds Dieckman. “It’s about keeping it relevant, keeping true to the spirit of the original brand but also making sure that people are feeling like they’re getting quality at every point of engagement. If you get that part right, it simply translates to product around the world.” Atlantyca Entertainment takes a similar approach to investing in a brand’s longevity by ensuring that the content always remains fresh. “We look for strategic partners who are open to building long-term” collaborations, says Marco Piccinini, the company’s licensing manager. “And we develop new style guides in order to refresh our brand and consistently update/transfer the key values of the properties onto the possible retail products.”
IN WITH THE OLD Atlantyca’s main highlights for licensing and merchandising on an international level are Geronimo Stilton, a bookbased brand that has been enjoying success in the publishing, stationery, food and promotional categories in the U.S., Europe and Asia, as well as Bat Pat, for which “collectible is the key word,” says Piccinini. In Italy, the company is also pursuing additional L&M opportunities for School of Roars, a new preschool series, and H20: Mermaid Adventures, for girls aged 4 to 8. One helpful (but certainly not crucial) ingredient for L&M success is a property that has already proven itself in the marketplace in one way or another—a trend that has been ongoing for years. “Toy specialists used to be trendsetters and were more inclined to get behind new properties,” says Marie-Laure Marchand, the senior VP of global consumer product and media distribution for the Asia Pacific, U.S. and U.K. at Xilam Animation. Now, they want “established brands with major marketing and digital support behind them in order to limit risks. Therefore, the main challenge for small independent studios is attracting the attention of retailers. Given the unstable economic situation and the plethora of properties
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Xilam is looking to build a consumerproducts program for Paprika, its first preschool brand.
available, they tend to choose the safe brands over potential opportunities from smaller players.” In response to the demand for tried-and-true properties, Xilam is working on Mr Magoo, a reboot of the classic 1960s series. “We are confident that our fresh take on the show will capture kids’ attention across the globe,” says Marchand. “We have already secured major TV exposure for Mr Magoo through broadcast deals with France Télévisions in France, K2 in Italy, ITV and CITV in the U.K., along with Cartoon Network in Asia, and we have many more partners to be announced soon.” The company’s L&M catalog also consists of the flagship Oggy and the Cockroaches, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the slapstick comedy Zig & Sharko, and Paprika, Xilam’s first preschool brand. Mondo TV has also reinvented a preexisting property with Heidi Bienvenida, a live-action franchise that takes inspiration from the 1881 book. “Heidi Bienvenida—a co-pro between Mondo TV Iberoamerica and Alianzas Producciones—is an adaptation of the classic tale of the happy, carefree girl who leaves her beloved mountain home to live in the big city,” says Valentina La Macchia, director of consumer products. “Alongside that engaging storyline, it also offers an exciting mix of themes attractive to its target audience of teens, such as music, comedy, color, magic, love and technology, all of which in turn offer many licensing opportunities.”
girls’ 2-to-5 that will directly compete with Peppa, and likewise with a boys’ show” that could potentially pose a threat to PJ Masks. This is a key strategy for Mondo TV, whose L&M highlights include the teen-geared Heidi Bienvenida as well as the younger-skewing Robot Trains, the second season of which it is co-producing with CJ E&M. “These two properties illustrate an important part of our approach: they don’t conflict with each other,” says La Macchia. “They are aiming at two very different target audiences, enabling us to build clearly defined licensing relationships across brands that complement—rather than clash with—each other.” Mondo TV is also seeking a master toy licensee for Invention Story, an upcoming co-pro with Henan York Animation. South Korea’s CJ E&M, the IP owner of Robot Trains, is already moving forward with product development for the show. “Even though it is in an early stage of business, the animated series is continuously being launched on major TV channels, and consumers will be able to find Robot Trains toys all over Europe,” says Kim. “Currently, Robot Trains’ L&M program is being developed at a rapid pace, with competitive licensees in a number of major categories.” One of the other important strategies for a licensing program is deciding on the best time to begin thinking about consumer products. CJ E&M, for example, starts contemplating a brand’s licensing and merchandising potential from the get-go, according to Kim. “We consider the possibilities for L&M success from the early stage of IP development,” he says. “We think about L&M for our property from the preproduction stage.” “Atlantyca’s strategy is to pitch the new properties when they are starting on TV,” says Piccinini, “in order to find the
FAMILIAR FACES Meanwhile, CJ E&M is hoping to launch a new animated series next year centered on Pucca, a popular Korean character. “With love and passion as a subject matter, Pucca will be appealing to every consumer group, regardless of age or gender,” says Joseph Kim, head of the company’s global animation business division. CJ E&M is also currently seeking licensing and merchandising opportunities for Rainbow Ruby, a girl-oriented animated show meant to teach children that they can become anything they want in life. Another way for a company to achieve success with a brand is to avoid making the mistake of “eating its own young.” As obvious as this may sound, it’s also easy to understand why it might be tempting to want to replicate the popularity of a hit property; after all, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. “We don’t expand our portfolio for the sake of it, and we are conscious not to cannibalize on our own brands,” says eOne Family’s Dieckman. “We actually reject quite a lot of content pitches that we come across—even if we love them. There’s just no point in picking up another
Atlantyca Entertainment hopes to develop more merchandise for its animated property Geronimo Stilton.
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right licensees that will release the product 6 to 12 months after the premiere, and put the products on shelves when the series will have reached a strong audience following.” Over at Xilam, the company starts “pitching for a master toy partner, alongside the publishing category, straight away,” says Marchand. “In general, for brand-new properties we will wait for the first TV ratings to come in before speaking to licensees and then, once brand awareness has started building and the fan base begins to grow, we will introduce the first products into the market.” According to La Macchia, Mondo TV also plans a brand’s L&M approach immediately. “You have to work in advance to develop a substantial licensing program; you can’t just wait for the property to be already consolidated or launched on TV,” she says. La Macchia stresses the importance of staying organized and maintaining close contact with retailers. “Brand owners who embrace retail support will see the benefits of investing in retail to drive the brand message outside their traditional channel. Therefore, we ensure at all times that we keep retailers updated about our properties and our TV and L&M plans.” However, she notes, “It isn’t simply a matter of telling licensees our plans and strategy for an exciting brand and expecting them to jump on board. They want guarantees about TV, marketing campaigns and more; that’s why we always try to secure TV broadcasting on the best free-to-air channels and invest heavily in marketing activities in partnership with retail, such as promotional campaigns and loyalty programs.”
right now—everyone’s been affected by it.” But she also sees this obstacle as an opportunity: “It makes you smarter, forces you to think harder about how to get to that shelf space and drive innovation across your product lines to meet the demands of this competitive landscape. Overall, we work harder as a result to produce a real quality brand experience for the consumer across multiple touch points. Let’s talk about how we can really collaborate with the people that are left out there, and how we can support everyone for the benefit of the whole licensing community.”
GETTING A HEAD START Dieckman says that eOne Family contemplates L&M early on, “but we don’t consider it from the point of view of, how do we make this fit in a toy program?” Instead, the company focuses on “creating a holistic consumer-products program, rather than just a brand that we can sell on the shop floor. It’s important to create a program with international appeal, yet still connect with consumers on a local level.” But even if a company finds itself in possession of a strong brand with long-lasting appeal and manages to choose the perfect time to kick off a licensing program, there may still be additional hurdles to overcome. Take, for instance, the shuttering of major toy retailers around the globe. “The closure of Toys“R”Us in the U.S. and U.K., as well as La Grande Récré in France, will not just have an impact on ourselves, but on other smaller independent studios too,” says Xilam’s Marchand. “However, we expect this to be partially overcome with potential new lucrative business opportunities that the digital market presents.” She mentions that the company recently launched its own online store, which “gives fans of all ages the opportunity to purchase a wide array of merchandise” based on Oggy. You know what they say—if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! The sheer volume of properties on the market nowadays also presents a bit of a problem. “The number of new brands being debuted every year is definitely a challenge for longevity,” says CJ E&M’s Kim. “It’s a really crowded marketplace,” concurs eOne Family’s Dieckman. “Retail is a shrinking white space
CJ E&M produces the new animated series Robot Trains, which has L&M partners across Europe in various categories.
The book-based Heidi Bienvenida benefits from built-in brand recognition.
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TV KIDS: How is the Studio 100 and m4e integration going? STOEF: After the acquisition of m4e by Studio 100, the first goal was to bring the teams together, so we have one business location now in Munich. We have new staff on board. In some departments there was some downsizing, in others we are building up more people, more expertise. We’re reshaping the whole company—Studio 100 Media was more a distribution entity and together with m4e we are moving the companies into a full content company, from development and production up to distribution and brand management of all rights. We acquired Little Airplane Productions out of New York as our preproduction and development hub for preschool programming, working closely with our studios Flying Bark in Australia and Studio 100 Animation in Paris in order to come up with a wider range of novel programming. After that, we also did some activities with our platform business and scalable areas such as home entertainment, digital, music and audio by renewing contracts, extending our current agreements with platforms like Sky, beIN and others. By doing that we have secured a solid foundation for these business areas, and we are almost done with the integration. And last but not least, we’ve developed a huge slate of new programs and films for the next five years, and also a development slate of approximately 20 projects in various stages that we would like to bring into production in the coming years. We have over 360 episodes of CGI animation in production from existing brands. It is a lot of third and fourth seasons of some of our existing brands, like Mia and me and Maya the Bee. We have four feature films in production, and another four to come in the next three to four years.
By Mansha Daswani
It’s been a little over a year since Belgian kids’ and family outfit Studio 100 Group announced it was taking a majority stake in Germany’s m4e. By joining forces, the companies have amassed greater scale and expertise across the children’s entertainment sector, from television production and distribution to licensing and merchandising, live events, games, theme parks and more. Hans Ulrich Stoef, who serves as CEO of Studio 100 Media and m4e, updates TV Kids on the integration of the companies, M&A opportunities—such as last year’s acquisition of Little Airplane Productions—managing scale and crafting the ideal development and production pipeline.
TV KIDS: The heritage of m4e is in the licensing business. That sector has gone through some challenges, including Toys“R”Us going out of business. How are you managing your L&M business, given what’s going on in the sector? STOEF: Studio 100 was very strong in classic brands like Maya the Bee, Vic the Viking and Heidi, and m4e was very strong in new, original content such as Mia and me and Tip the Mouse. So, it was a perfect marriage. We have established an A-list of our brands, where we are concentrating on some IPs and developing new ones. Of course, we are working closely with Amazon and other digital players in the market to substitute companies like Toys“R”Us. But as Toys“R”Us was leaving the market, others came in and took its place. Amazon plays a big role—their market share is increasing day by day. The demand still exists, you just have to distribute your licensing products in a different way, and we are adapting to that. TV KIDS: How do you strike a balance between expanding your scale and investing in IP while also running a fiscally responsible business?
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Studio 100 & m4e are in development on a third season of the CGI-animated Maya the Bee, based on the classic children’s books.
STOEF: The reality is that we still believe in the IP business. If you have a really good IP, you can generate a lot of money. Our mission is to create the next $100-millionplus IP. That’s why we have to produce and develop a lot. It’s more about managing the risk rather than not expanding. Because of our partnerships and our own platform business, which we control, we are able to limit the risk but continue to grow in terms of creativity, output, our studio business and development. We can manage risk in the portfolio by distributing to some of our own platforms and [through] our existing partnerships. If I’m talking about 20 development projects, it sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t mean we will produce all of them. We need to have a lot in the portfolio in order to get to the right one, the $100-million brand. What’s happening in the market is scary on the one hand. On the other, there’s still a huge demand for content; it’s just from different platforms these days. We have to adapt our business models, we have to create new formats, we have to be more creative. It’s no longer only about getting access to tax credits and subsidies and so on to make a producer’s profit. It’s about creating IPs. I think Studio 100 as a group has a very solid basis because the revenues are not dependent on animation content only. We have three revenue streams. One is the Belgian core business, with liveaction studio facilities and leisure entertainment facilities. The second column is the theme-park business, which is very successful within the group and creates a lot of cash—that helps us to invest further in the IP business. And there’s the international business, the animation part. The three activities level out quite nicely. If one business is more up than the others, it balances out and allows us to make the necessary investments.
TV KIDS: We’ve talked in the past about the lack of animation production subsidies in Germany. Do you think that has been an advantage in a way, because you know that you have to be able to justify your investments? STOEF: On one hand, yes, because we have to create a real business model—we have to generate money and profits. Otherwise, we’re out. On the other hand, it’s a bit of an unfair competition in a way, because a lot of the subsidized productions coming from other countries around the world are filling the pipeline to the broadcasters, sometimes even with content nobody wants to see. Some broadcasters still take it because it’s cheap, but that’s not our business. We believe in highly entertaining and valuable content for kids and families. That has a certain price. So yes, we have to create a business model, but it’s harder [to produce without tax breaks]. Without the three columns I mentioned before, it would be very, very difficult for us to do so many productions at the level we’re producing. TV KIDS: What opportunities are you exploring to expand the Studio 100 and m4e business globally? STOEF: We’d like to extend our footprint into Asia. We are looking to become more successful in China; [we are] working with great Chinese companies and understanding each other and also helping some Chinese content to travel outside of China. That’s number one. Number two: we’d like to get better in the U.S. market. By acquiring Little Airplane, we have a home base there. We have certain activities in mind on top of that in the U.S. In the future, Latin America is also an important market where we’d like to have a greater presence. And we’d like to become better in the digital landscape and develop formats for the future habits of entertainment consumption.
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Mansha Daswani explores some of the key trends from the U.S. broadcast networks’ Upfront announcements. s the U.S. networks unveiled their new offerings to advertisers, there was a lot more uncertainty hanging over executives’ heads than usual. CBS chief Les Moonves presented his network’s fall season grid amid a legal spat with controlling stakeholder National Amusements. FOX’s head honchos talked about “New Fox,” the shape that the company will take should the pending Disney deal go through. Meanwhile, the weekend preceding the Upfronts came with a lot of bad news for many creators, producers, stars and fans with a shocking number of cancellations—among them ABC’s Designated Survivor and Quantico, CBS’s Scorpion, FOX’s Lucifer and NBC’s Taken. And across the board, networks are dealing with declines in broadcast television and the never-ending competition from other viewing options. Against an uncertain environment, the networks are largely plugging stability for the fall, with many of the new pickups not set to roll out till midseason. The broadcast nets have also stopped trying to be their cable and OTT competitors, scaling back on complex, serialized fare. In a move that is likely to delight international free-TV buyers, procedurals appear to be back in a big way on the U.S.
broadcast networks. And the trend toward reboots and known IP that we’ve seen over the last few years is as prevalent as ever. In terms of procedurals, new offerings include Entertainment One’s The Rookie starring Castle alum Nathan Fillion, one of just two new fall dramas on ABC. For midseason the network has in the works the legal drama The Fix from Marcia Clark and Warner Bros.’s action dramedy Whiskey Cavalier starring Scandal’s Scott Foley and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan. At CBS, meanwhile, which has long been known for its slate of procedurals, there’s a new Dick Wolf series in the mix called FBI; while for midseason there’s the military legal drama The Code. There’s also a legal drama for midseason on FOX with Proven Innocent; the network has no new dramas in the fall, largely as a result of devoting its Thursday nights through February to NFL football. NBC has scheduled one new procedural for the fall, the hospital-set New Amsterdam, with The Enemy Within and The InBetween coming in midseason. As with last season, there are a handful of reboots and franchise extensions on the grid, among them NBCUniversal’s Magnum P.I. for CBS, with Jay Hernandez taking on the role made famous by Tom Selleck. The CW, a 6/18 WORLD SCREEN 67
year after rebooting Dynasty for its millennial audience, has a new Charmed on the grid. CBS has resurrected Murphy Brown for the fall, placing the veteran journalist played by Candice Bergen in a landscape of social media, 24-hour cable talking heads and fake news. FOX, meanwhile, is bringing back Last Man Standing, which ABC canned a year ago. The CW has a The Originals and The Vampire Diaries spin-off in Legacies, the latest from Julie Plec. ABC has ordered a spin-off of The Goldbergs from Sony Pictures Television called Schooled and slated an adaptation of the acclaimed Spanish series Gran Hotel, Grand Hotel, from Eva Longoria. Another trend, on the heels of the success of NBC’s This Is Us, is a return to heartwarming, feel-good dramas, with the 2018-19 season set to include ABC’s A Million Little Things, CBS’s God Friended Me, NBC’s The Village and The CW’s All American. And while the networks have largely moved away from serialized drama, there are a few new offerings in the mix, among them NBC’s Lost-reminiscent Manifest and The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico. Coming to CBS in midseason is the Warner Bros. series The Red Line, about three families in the aftermath of the shooting of an African American doctor by a white cop in Chicago.
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TV EUROPE / TV KIDS / TV FORMATS / TV DRAMA TV REAL / TV ASIA / TV MEA / TV LATINA / TV LISTINGS TV KIDS GUIDE & TV DRAMA GUIDE
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Space Reservations / September 18 Ad Materials / September 20 For more information, please contact Ricardo Guise (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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IN THE STARS Almost every national constitution forbids the establishment of an official state religion. But this secular bent doesn’t stop people from looking to the heavens for answers to life’s most troublesome questions: Will I succeed? Will I find love? Will I be on a red carpet looking like a hot mess? Every day, papers, magazines and websites worldwide print horoscopes— projections for people born in a specific month, based on the positions of the stars and planets. While many people rely on these daily, weekly or monthly messages for guidance in their lives, some readers skip over them entirely. The editors of WS recognize that these little pearls of random foresight occasionally prove pro phetic.
dict world events, our staff prefers to use past horoscopes in an attempt to legitimize the science. As you can see here, had some of these media figures remembered to consult their horoscopes on significant dates, they could have avoided a few surprises.
Global distinction: Former Lethal Weapon co-star. Sign: Aries (b. April 20, 1978) Significant date: May 8, 2018 Noteworthy activity: Following complaints about
Global distinction: Breaking Bad alum. Sign: Aries (b. April 8, 1963) Significant date: May 22, 2018 Noteworthy activity: The 55-year-old actor perplexes and
the actor’s behavior on set of the series Lethal Weapon, Crawford is let go from the FOX show. Shortly after news of his exit breaks, Crawford addresses the controversy on Twitter. “Wait, wait, wait......you can’t fire me on my day off!” he writes. A new co-star has been cast for next season. Horoscope: “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.” (mercurynews.com)
amuses his social media followers by inexplicably tweeting out the words “sex gifs.” Perhaps Norris is the victim of a hacking, but it’s also very possible that he mistook his Twitter box for an internet search bar. The mishap prompts fans to share gifs poking fun at the strange tweet. Horoscope: “Take extra care with your words.... Doublecheck all of your emails and posts before hitting the send button.” (astrologyking.com)
JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT
Global distinction: TV presenter. Sign: Aries (b. April 11, 1960) Significant date: May 11, 2018 Noteworthy activity: A contestant on the U.K. version
Global distinction: Ghost Whisperer star. Sign: Pisces (b. February 21, 1979) Significant date: May 14, 2018 Noteworthy activity: The actress hits the red carpet for
of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which Clarkson just started to host, takes a guess at a question worth £32,000. “I’m not even going to look at the screen,” Clarkson replies. “That’s the correct answer.” The answer, however, is incorrect. Following some awkward confusion, the contestant and host both let out a small bit of nervous laughter. Horoscope: “Take a moment to think before you react to avoid a misunderstanding or an argument that will lead to regret.” (astroadvice.com)
the first time in four years to promote 9-1-1, which she’s joining for season two, at the FOX Upfront. The next day, she takes to Instagram to apologize for her appearance. “I just have to apologize for how wrecked I look in all the pictures that have come out,” she says. “By the time I got to the red carpet, I was honestly melting.... I looked like I had completely forgotten I was an actress in this business who is supposed to look [perfect] when you step on the red carpet.” Horoscope: “A change in the way you present yourself will make you feel confident and ready to face any challenges head-on.” (theitem.com)
But rather than poring over charts of the zodiac to pre-
Jennifer Love Hewitt
JAMES CORDEN Global distinction: British funnyman. Sign: Leo (b. August 22, 1978) Significant date: May 19, 2018 Noteworthy activity: While hosting The Late Late Show, the comedian reflects on his recent attendance at the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. “I get quite bad allergies if I’m in such close proximity to flowers,” he explains. “The archbishop was saying, ‘If anyone knows of any reason…’ and I was like, ‘Please don’t sneeze. Please don’t sneeze.’ ” Luckily Corden was able to avoid fully sneezing at what would have been a very inappropriate time during the regal marriage ceremony. Horoscope: “Don’t try to suppress what you want to do, but don’t let it out in too dramatic a way.” (scotsman.com) 70 WORLD SCREEN 6/18
HILARY DUFF Global distinction: “Lizzie McGuire.” Sign: Libra (b. September 28, 1987) Significant date: May 16, 2018 Noteworthy activity: The Younger co-star posts an Instagram video in which she vents about someone living in her building. “Calling all New Yorkers with asshole neighbors, I’m really open to any advice you have,” she says. “My neighbor smokes cigarettes and weed all night long and my apartment reeks.” She even calls the man out by his full name and shares a screenshot of his personal Instagram account. Horoscope: “You will cling stubbornly to a particular viewpoint this week.... But don’t take it too far or you could make an enemy of someone.” (dailymail.co.uk)
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