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OTF reveals strategy, promotes Bean

European factual producer-distributor Off the Fence (OTF) has launched a new strategy and promoted Allison Bean to spearhead it as chief creative officer.

Allison Bean

So far this year Bo Stehmeier has rejoined the firm as CEO, and the production arm of the business won an Oscar for feature doc My Octopus Teacher.

The company has now launched a strategy to focus on three core content pillars – ‘yesterday,’ covering history progamming; ‘today,’ covering natural history, travel and adventure, lifestyle, crime and impact; and ‘tomorrow,’ covering science shows – across the three new business models of OTF Originals, OTF Studios and OTF Fast.

OTF Originals will secure unprecedented access to far-flung locations and talent, producing hybrid content that is relevant in the world of streaming. It will produce longform content and feature docs by blending the genres of yesterday, today and tomorrow, supporting Off the Fence’s strategy to invest deeper into IP and future-proof the technology that supports it.

OTF Studios will trade, co-finance, pre-sell, create, distribute and commercialise premium content across the three pillars, bringing in third-party producers as well as working with Off the Fence’s own prodco to produce programming. It will also invest into rights.

OTF Fast will specialise in super-serving the traditional business models, enriched with data needed to feed the new algorithmic-driven ecosystem, helping the company to stay on top of the demands of traditional clients while fulfilling the needs of new business models.

Stehmeier said: “It is an exciting moment for Off the Fence. After 27 years of solid trading and now strategically backed by a perfectly aligned mothership, ZDF Enterprises, we are in the perfect position to bring the best of non-scripted storytelling to the world.”

Bean, who was MD of Off the Fence’s production arm, will take on the role of chief creative officer to lead this strategy.

In addition to overseeing production quality and consistency across the company and its business models, she will also be in charge of establishing and maintaining company content and corporate values.

Bean has worked in TV production for 23 years, beginning her career at Survival Anglia TV producing natural history films, before joining Granada TV where she expanded into popular factual. She joined Off the Fence in 2006, since when she has developed and delivered over 400 hours of programming.

Stehmeier said: “I already had the pleasure of working with Allison for 10 years when I was last at Off the Fence. I could not be more excited to be co-piloting this next chapter with her, a chapter that without a doubt will be a phenomenally exciting adventure for us all at Off the Fence.”


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