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Smart thinking from the people running the content business.

Buyers briefing: Kellie Brown, Warner Bros Discovery, Australia/New Zealand

LONDON SCREENINGS: Kellie Brown, senior manager of content sourcing and acquisitions for Australia/New Zealand at Warner Bros Discovery, discusses the changing demand for UK content down under and outlines what’s on her shopping list for the London Screenings.

Kellie Brown

How is demand for UK content changing in New Zealand?
We are constantly looking for opportunities to grow our audiences and reach new ones through an increased volume of scripted, premium documentary series and one-offs, particularly for our BVoD platform ThreeNow. UK content in these genres plays a large part in this strategy; for example, we have had recent success with Ridley, The Diana Investigations and The Social Media Murders. UK popular factual titles such as The Great Pottery Throwdown, Michael Mosley’s 21 Day Body Turnaround and Celebrity Gogglebox have also worked well for us across both free-to-air [FTA] and BVoD schedules.

What kind of content will you be looking for at the London Screenings?
For our flagship FTA channel Three, we look for big, broad, cut-through reality shows that we can air across multiple nights of the week – Married at First Sight Australia is the jewel in our crown in that space at the moment. We also continue to be the home of comedy in New Zealand with our successful local format 7 Days and are on the lookout for international panel shows and stand-up to complement this. Authored, investigative documentaries in the vein of Zara McDermott’s Revenge Porn are also on our radar.

New exclusive content performs well on ThreeNow, particularly drama and noisy premium documentary. For our smaller niche channels, the list is diverse. For Living Channel NZ, we are looking for property in the buying and selling space, hosted travelogues and series that take you to a new world, like Inside the Factory and World’s Most Luxurious Hotels.

Highclere lives on lifestyle channel Eden

Our lifestyle channel Eden also likes to take the audience to new places with shows such as The Secret World of Snacks and Highclere and we would love to find more in that space. Also, we continue to look for half-hour strippable shows along the lines of Border Security and Shipping Wars.

Which international formats have you adapted to air this year?
We have some amazing formats being introduced to audiences in 2023, including new original commission Tracked as well as local versions of The Traitors, Couples Therapy, Blow Up and House Rules.

How are you ensuring you secure the best UK content before the competition?
We spend a lot of time familiarising ourselves with the UK schedules, what is coming up and what is doing well. We have great relationships with our distribution partners who keep us informed of what to look out for, plus we have a fabulous UK-based research team that we couldn’t live without.

BVoD platform ThreeNow offers Michael Mosley’s 21 Day Body Turnaround

To what extent are you buying more non-UK programming at the London Screenings?
We have a broad portfolio with a wide range of content requirements, so our various schedules need content from the UK, US and Australia, all of which sits alongside our local content offering. The London Screenings is a great opportunity to get an overview of what is coming down the pipeline in all of these regions from a broad range of international distributors.

How is your coproduction strategy evolving?
We are very keen to explore opportunities to partner in the coproduction space. We see this as a growth opportunity for ourselves and our partners due to the global nature of Warner Bros Discovery and the benefits of producing content in New Zealand. Our current coproduction pipeline is skewed more towards scripted titles, but we do have some non-scripted – such as premium factual – that is very exciting. The priority space for coproduction is high-impact titles that will attract an audience across both digital and broadcast platforms.

How is the cost-of-living crisis affecting your business?
We are experiencing significant uplift in audiences and streams on ThreeNow and along with the documented linear-to-digital audience transition and our ThreeNow growth strategy, we believe this is due to audiences seeking out free digital platforms in response to the increased cost of living. We are also seeing that audiences want more content about sustainability and rural living, so are taking this into consideration when acquiring and commissioning new shows.