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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

All3Media International

Programming Profile

New season, new slate from All3Media International

03-09-2021

Peta Sykes, All3Media International’s sales manager for Scandinavia, reveals how the company’s new autumn slate reflects an evolving market, with the pandemic and the streaming boom driving big changes in the territories she covers.

 

All3Media International’s autumn slate encompasses detectives, football, thrillers, period drama, more detectives, word games and a real-life kidnapping – a broad selection of titles that reflects the programming priorities at the UK-based distributor, as well as some constants in an ever-changing market.

 

“We have always been a strong home for detective programming,” says Peta Sykes, the company’s sales manager for Scandinavia. “We’ve got detective series with female leads, male leads, ensembles and series based on novels – both period and contemporary.

 

“We are really pleased about the breadth of our slate in this area – from New Pictures’ new version of PD James’ period detective Dalgleish to Glassriver’s stylish Icelandic thriller Black Sands – as well as Neil Dudgeon’s 50th episode as Inspector Barnaby in Midsomer Murders (he joined in series 14), from Bentley Productions, and Annika starring Nicola Walker. There is always a demand for strong detective dramas, and also for gripping psychological thrillers with strong casts that can be easily scheduled.”

 

Sykes
Peta Sykes,
All3Media International

For the latter genre, Sykes points to new titles such as Buffalo Pictures’ drama Manhunt II: The Night Stalker, which “maintains a deft and sensitive approach to recent cold crime,” and Angela Black, a series from All3Media-owned Two Brothers Pictures that she describes as “an intense, stylish domestic thriller with Hitchcockian overtones.”

 

Another thriller in the mix is Hollington Drive, which is from All3Media-owned West Road Pictures and follows two sisters pulled apart over the disappearance of a local child. Anna Maxwell Martin and Rachel Stirling star in the show scripted by Sophie Petzal. Help, meanwhile, is a telemovie from celebrated writer Jack Thorne, The Forge and One Shoe Films about the UK care home crisis during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, starring Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham.

 

More thrills, this time with a political twist, can be found in Total Control, an Australian show from Blackfella Films that has performed well in Sweden, home of Borgen, while another Aussie drama is also on All3Media International’s playlist: New Gold Mountain. Goalpost TV’s period show is “a thoughtful, historical piece that reflects on the diversity of the Australian Gold Rush,” says Sykes.

 

“To match our strength in drama, we’ve been investing in premium factual in the last few years,” she adds. “Several of the shows in the playlist reflect that investment, including our enthralling documentary Fever Pitch: The Rise of The Premier League, which tells the definitive story of the English Premier League.” The show is produced by All3Media-backed Story Films and David Beckham’s Studio 99 for BBC2 and has been bagged by Amazon Prime Video in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among other licence deals.

 

Dalgliesh
Dalgliesh

“We also have The Wimbledon Kidnapping, the true crime documentary about the first headline-grabbing kidnap and ransom case in the UK, with Rupert Murdoch pivotal to the crime,” she says. The doc, from All3Media-backed prodco Caravan Media, is about the 1969 abduction of Muriel McKay, the wife of News Limited executive Alick McKay.

 

Beyond drama and factual, the distributor is offering a new slate of unscripted formats to buyers. “There is a strong need for reality series and our formats slate is stronger than ever, with some standout series, including Traitors and Sort Your Life Out, which are proving really popular already. Our formats team look for the best formats globally, so several of our new show in this genre do not originate in the UK,” explains Sykes.

 

Manhunt II: The Night Stalker
Manhunt II: The Night Stalker

Traitors, for example, is a gameshow from All3Media-owned IDTV in the Netherlands, which has travelled into local production in Belgium, while Sort Your Life Out is a de-cluttering show that originated in the UK and has also travelled, this time to the Netherlands and Nordics. “Perhaps the fact that everyone has been at home so much has helped get this new format off to such a great start,” says Sykes, of the Optomen Productions format.

 

Rounding out the new formats are 100 Things, a show in which a family is challenged to live for a month with just 100 items per person, from Dutch prodco ICP, while classic UK gameshow Catchphrase is also being relaunched, following All3Media’s takeover of the IP’s former owner, NENT Studios UK, in June.

 

Angela Black
Angela Black

It is a new slate tailored to an evolving market, and Sykes says the double impact of both lockdown and the streaming boom has been a major factor in deciding the shows on the list. “There’s been a shift in viewing habits,” she explains. “Not only are more people watching TV but the way they watch has changed, with more audiences across all ages watching online rather than linear.

 

“The Nordic market is very advanced and progressive in the SVoD landscape, with around 80% of Nordic households having access to at least one VoD service. It’s been said that even the traditional linear channels now see themselves as a streaming service first and foremost, and the linear service is now secondary,” Sykes says.

 

Fever Pitch: The Rise of The Premier League
Fever Pitch: The Rise of The Premier League

“Ultimately, it’s not only that the landscape has changed in terms of there being a greater number of streaming services available to consumers and to us, and it’s not just the big VoD players like Disney+, HBO Max and Viaplay that offer this service; it’s all the linear channels changing their strategies as well.”

 

This has all led to a greater demand for scripted content, particularly British programming, because the bigger US studios are mostly keeping their content for their own VoD players. This means the European players have fewer US shows to debut and so turn to the UK to meet their needs. “We have seen a lot more competition for our titles and a lot more pre-sales have been done in the past few years to secure the titles in advance,” says Sykes.

 

The Wimbledon Kidnapping
The Wimbledon Kidnapping

Listing some recent sales into her Scandi patch, Skyes says Annika, the new Alibi/Masterpiece drama coproduction from Black Camel, in which Nicola Walker plays a Norwegian detective, has been licensed to public broadcasters across the Nordics, as has Too Close, ITV’s psychological drama from Snowed-In Productions and starring Emily Watson.

 

“One of our Mipcom launches, The Holiday, has already found a home with a pay TV channel, and we’re looking forward to announcing a raft of sales around our highlights event in October. Furthermore, our Channel 4 documentary Ghislaine Maxwell: Life on Trial (working title) has already been pre-sold throughout the Nordics,” says Sykes. Based on the bestselling book series by TM Logan, The Holiday is a crime series from Projector Pictures, Clapperboard Studios and Night Train Media, while the Maxwell doc is produced by Roast Beef Productions.

 

100 Things
100 Things

But, Sykes emphasises, All3Media International doesn’t see Scandinavia as a place to only sell programming into but also as a region from where it can source content for distribution, particularly as the Nordic local production boom continues. “Over the last couple of years, we have distributed two strong Scandi dramas. Blinded is a brilliant Swedish financial thriller for CMore and TV4 from FLX, starring Mattias Varela and Julia Ragnarsan, and a second series is coming next year. This has sold really well throughout Europe and the world.”

 

The other Nordic drama that the distributor has picked up is the aforementioned Black Sands, which airs on Channel 2 in Iceland. “It’s got a strong female lead in Aldís Amah Hamilton, who plays a detective, and the show is set in the striking Black Sands region of Iceland. This is getting lots of interest – everyone loves a bit of Scandi noir,” says Sykes.

 

Catch Phrase
Catch Phrase

Another Nordic drama came to All3Media International via the NENT Studios UK deal. Close to Me is a new dark psychological drama and a coproduction between streamer Viaplay and Channel 4, starring Chris Eccleston and Connie Nielsen, which Sykes says has already been pre-sold into numerous territories.

 

In conclusion, Sykes says that while everybody is “certainly producing and acquiring more local content, there is still a need for good-quality British content. We also have a great formats catalogue so are taking advantage of the opportunities for our locally made shows.”



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