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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

All3Media International

Programming Profile

All3Media Int’l execs on industry trends, new slate

20-09-2022

Against a backdrop of an evolving industry and with Mipcom on the horizon, C21 Screenings catches up with three execs from All3Media International to hear how the market is changing and what they have on offer for their trip to Cannes.

 

Trying to keep abreast of all the seismic and historic changes taking place across the TV industry, it can be easy to forget that the day-to-day revolves around buying and selling programming. And it’s the execs at that coalface who invariably have the best perspective on what’s really happening in the market.

 

The ongoing trend for mergers and takeovers, for example, “plays a constant role in the evolution of our industry, and the impact is felt in a variety of ways,” reflects Stephen Driscoll, exec VP of EMEA at All3Media International.

 

Driscoll
Stephen Driscoll,
All3Media International

“Demand for new drama is very strong, resulting in high volumes of business across the region. We have a number of excellent deals for The English, which is a creative triumph from Drama Republic for BBC Two and Amazon Prime Video, and a slew of deals for our returning detective franchises such as The Brokenwood Mysteries, Van Der Valk and Dalgliesh.”

 

Across the pond, where the M&A activity has perhaps been at its highest, “we are still tracking very well for 2022, while 2023 is looking very promising. There has been a hiatus in some of our key relationships with recent mergers but I have every confidence that it is transitory,” says Sally Habbershaw, exec VP for the Americas at All3Media International.

 

And driving much of that M&A activity are, of course, the streaming wars, which are also impacting the market enormously, bringing audience attention to content from corners of the globe that weren’t previously getting eyeballs.

 

Habbershaw
Sally Habbershaw,
All3Media International

“Appetite for international content has increased significantly in the Americas, particularly when there was a deficit during the production hiatus during Covid shutdowns. What we’ve learnt is that there is an appetite beyond drama, and globalisation of content has opened the doors and factual content is marketable to a broader audience,” says Habbershaw.

 

By way of an example, she points to an SVoD deal All3Media International inked recently. “In the US this year, we formed a new partnership with streamer Peacock on Escape to the Chateau,” she says, referring to the show from Two Rivers Media and Chateau Television. “You could question the relevance of a French castle makeover show to an American audience, but the bespoke advice offered [by married hosts Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree] is universally valuable.”

 

From the distributor’s Singapore outpost, Sabrina Duguet, exec VP for APAC, reports: “In the vibrant APAC regions, the recent mergers and takeovers have presented us with new opportunities. We’ve had to be adaptable to changes but we’ve also been able to discover and build new partnerships and find new homes for our content.”

 

Duguet
Sabrina Duguet,
All3Media International

Furthermore, one of the biggest changes in the APAC market in recent years – US studios retaining content for their own D2C services – has also provided fresh opportunities. “It has given more visibility to UK content in a region where US content dominates the import market. It has also pushed the local broadcasters to produce more locally, which has had a very positive impact on our scripted formats business,” says Duguet.

 

As evidence, she highlights a slew of scripted format adaptations in Asia, such as Masoom, based on acclaimed Irish drama Blood, which launched on Disney+ Hotstar, while an Indian version of Two Brothers Pictures’ drama Cheat launched recently as Mithya on ZEE5. Additionally, Malaysian entertainment company Astro is currently adapting Liar, the acclaimed hit drama also from Two Brothers Pictures.

 

“Local content is key all around the world but probably even more so in Asia, where local productions are booming. Traditional broadcasters are fighting back with more, better, ambitious local productions. There is a significant rise in production budgets to compete with the content seen on the global streamers, and so this is where our format adaptations can be so beneficial, as they present a more creatively and economically efficient route to production,” Duguet explains.

 

Saving Venice
Saving Venice

Driscoll adds: “The trend for greater investment in drama series from EMEA clients has been very welcome and resulted in a higher volume of drama deals, be they coproductions, pre-sales or acquisitions. There has also been a noticeable uptick in early development discussions around new drama and a wider range of funding solutions to ambitious drama projects.”

 

The impact of studio holdbacks has been more nuanced in North America itself: “The market has been very fluid for us in North America and the proliferation of new services in SVoD and AVoD has seen an increase in demand in both the US and Canada,” says Habbershaw.

 

“We’ve seen a particular upsurge in an appetite for elevated factual content. The price point is lower and production process more streamlined than drama, which means the turnaround is faster. We’re investing in a lot more high-profile factual content, with tentpoles like Lion TV’s acclaimed art heist series Stolen: Catching the Art Thieves and visually stunning documentary Saving Venice as well as Obsessively Creative’s blue-chip nature documentary Wild Oman.”

 

Rise of the Billionaires
Rise of the Billionaires

But no matter how the industry changes, the need for good content remains the same. “Ultimately, we’re delighted to have an extraordinary slate of factual tentpoles in the pipeline that are relevant to the Americas market,” says Habbershaw.

 

“From our premium factual slate, we’ve got a number of US-specific stories, featuring unique access and incredible archive footage. I’m particularly excited to about 72 Films’ Rise of the Billionaires, a four-part premium factual series that explores the origin stories of the digital entrepreneurs, such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who have built the modern world. We also have Top Hat Productions’ The Box, the incredible true story that exposes the truth behind one of America’s worst serial killers, who remained hidden in plain sight for decades.”

 

Duguet’s Mipcom highlights include IDTV’s buzzy new reality gameshow The Unknown and the new offering from The Dog House producer Five Mile Films, whose heart-warming new furry format The Dog Academy follows misbehaving mutts and their owners.

 

The Unknown
The Unknown

Habbershaw also talks up the company’s canine content: “In the co-viewing family genre, we’ve also had tremendous success in our partnership with HBO Max on five seasons of The Dog House, and the more recent Channel 4 commission of The Dog Academy promises to deliver that mainstream appeal,” she adds.

 

For Driscoll, the trip to Cannes will centre on an Italian show, again reflecting the new demand for global content. “At Mipcom, we will be launching our new Italian-language series The Gymnasts (aka Corpo Libero), a six-part production that will launch this November as a Paramount+ original in Italy and France, UK, Canada, Latin America, Australia and MENA, followed by launches on Rai in Italy and ZDF in Germany in 2024,” he says.

 

“It’s been a great example of cooperation between two innovative public broadcasters and a new SVoD service that has resulted in a strong European contemporary thriller set in the world of gymnastics that we expect to travel widely.”

 

The Dog Academy
The Dog Academy

He cites two other dramas – The English and The Ex-Wife – as financed by both linear and SVoD partners, combined with support from All3Media International, providing evidence that the ‘broadcasters vs streamers’ notion is too simplistic.

 

“I don’t think we can separate the market into these two distinct groups so easily – it’s too complex. Traditional broadcasters have modernised with enhanced OTT services and streamers have developed a more regional sensibility when negotiating partnerships,” he says. “In addition, we constantly see examples of cooperation between multi-territory SVoD platforms and national broadcasters as a very efficient solution to funding high-budget drama.”

 

Coproduction is obviously a big trend these days, and not just between legacy broadcasters and streamers; Driscoll offers an example of coproduction between broadcasters that is doing very well. “The alternative to this broadcaster/streamer hybrid approach can be found in some of our detective series such as Van Der Valk. It was funded by cooperation from a number of partners including Germany’s ARD Degeto, PBS in the US, ITV in the UK and NPO in the Netherlands, and that cooperation has carried forward across multiple seasons,” he says.

 

The Gymnasts
The Gymnasts

Habbershaw, furthermore, sees streamer competition as having a positive effect on broadcasters. “The traditional broadcasters know who they are programming to. The advent of streamers has forced them to identify and programme to the niche they are targeting – whether it’s on traditional cable or if they have expanded into AVoD.”

 

The distributor is focusing on genres that can cater to networks that are clear about their remits. Titles such as Two Rivers Media’s Monster: Mystery of the Loch Ness and Story Films’ Haunted (working title) are appealing to such channels, as the mystery themes that run throughout those shows drive audiences and market themselves.

 

In conclusion for drama, Driscoll says: “Demand and production of new drama is stronger than ever, and our dramas are enjoying success like never before. The sheer range of clients who acquire our series covers a wide swath of the EMEA market. We are very fortunate to represent a bumper slate of over 30 drama series to launch in 2022, which covers a range of genres, including epic westerns such as The English, psychological thriller The Ex-Wife, new and returning detective series in Ridley and Dalgliesh, and a feelgood family drama, The Larkins.”



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