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C21Marketplace

Autentic Distribution

Programming Profile

Exploring Autentic’s three pillars: distribution, production, channels

18-09-2023

Mirjam Strasser, head of sales and acquisitions at Germany’s Autentic Distribution, discusses the state of the market and outlines the company’s distribution, production and FAST strategies, as well as the highlights from her Mipcom slate.

 

How would you describe the state of the factual content market?
There is a continued high demand for factual content across all platforms and channels. The popularity started with the pandemic, when channels filled up their schedules with factual content to replace the programmes that could not be produced during lockdown, like sporting events, for example. Broadcasters and streamers’ search for premium content has not decreased since. Producers have become very creative with using archives in innovative ways, cooperating with remote filming crews, and are coming up with globally relevant stories and engaging narratives.

 

How is demand for current affairs content changing, given the events taking place around the world?
We’ve definitely noticed an increase in the demand for current affairs programmes. With the war in the Ukraine, inflation and the global energy crisis, people want to stay informed. Our new line-up, for example, includes titles like Nuclear Power Plants in War Zones – A New Atomic Threat? (1×52’), which gives exclusive first-hand insights into the current situation at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants.

 

Mirjam Strasser
Mirjam Strasser,
Autentic Distribution

Of course, the current affairs genre isn’t only about war. Our documentary Blood, Sweat & Greens: The Exploitation of Europe’s Harvest Workers (1×52’/1×90′) is an investigative report on the systematic exploitation of harvest workers. And Maastricht – The Treaty That Changed Europe (1×52’), for example, explores the legacy of the treaty 30 years after it came into effect and laid the foundation of the EU.

 

Documentaries can help viewers gain a better understanding of the topics they read about in the news. But amidst a landscape dominated by negative headlines, we can all use a little hope, so it is important that current affairs programmes do not exclusively focus on the negative aspects. Viewers want documentaries with an optimistic and hopeful outlook that end on a positive note.

 

Nuclear Power Plants in War Zones – A New Atomic Threat?
Nuclear Power Plants in War Zones – A New Atomic Threat?

With eco issues also in the headlines, how is this changing the market for environmental programming?
There has been a strong demand for content focusing on climate change and environmental issues for some years now. The topic is hot, in the truest sense of the word, and my guess is that interest in programmes that focus on environmental issues will continue to increase for many more years. The interest ranges from science titles like our new programme The Green Energy Revolution – A Race Against Time (2×52’/2×45′) or Mission Saving Paradise – Expedition to the Last Treasures of the Indian Ocean (2×45’/1×90′), to current affairs titles like our series Climate Chronicles (9×30′).

 

As mentioned before, programmes that not only focus on the challenges but also possible solutions always work best. A great example for this is Autentic Studio’s De-extinction – Species Protection 2.0? (1×52′), which is currently available for presale. The production accompanies ambitious scientists worldwide in their attempts to revive extinct animals or to give those on the brink of extinction a new chance using state-of-the-art genetic engineering.

 

Last year Autentic inked a deal with Terra Mater Studios. What is the significance of this?
Terra Mater Studios is one of the leading wildlife brands known for moving stories and jaw-dropping images. As of the beginning of this year, Autentic Distribution represents and distributes the wildlife portfolio of Terra Mater Studios. It has been great to be partnering with a company that shares a similar vision and similar values as Autentic. Together, we strive to raise awareness about the vulnerable ecosystems of our planet by showcasing the beauty of nature to viewers around the world. And, of course, we are thrilled to present the latest Terra Mater Studio productions in our Mipcom line-up, including true highlights like Scotland – The New Wild (3×50′), Raptors (2×50′) and Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla(1×50’).

 

What other new programming is Autentic lining up for Mipcom?
We are excited to bring a slate of gripping new documentaries to Mipcom. As mentioned earlier, we do have a strong focus on current affairs and environmental programming, but our line-up includes highlights across all factual genres.

 

The Green Energy Revolution – A Race Against Time
The Green Energy Revolution – A Race Against Time

Uncovering Hitler’s Failed Putsch of 1923 (1×45’) is one of our history highlights in this year’s line-up. One hundred years after Hitler’s attempted coup d’état, this documentary tells the story of a brave young women who worked undercover at the newspaper of the National Socialist movement, while Golden Kingdom: The Normans in Sicily (1×52’/1×90′) brings the captivating saga of Norman rule on the beautiful Italian island back to life with its stunning re-enactments set against Sicily’s breathtaking landscapes. Both films come with top-of-the-notch reenactments, so for buyers it is really something to look forward to.

 

Our People & Places highlights will take you around the world. In A Sea of Dust & Stars – Hiking Mauritania (1×45’) follows the journey of a young adventurer as he crosses the Sahara Desert by foot, train and camel. Between Andes & Pacific – The North of Chile (1×45’) explores the beautiful and diverse landscapes of Northern Chile. An absolute highlight from Autentic Studios in our line-up is the long-awaited third season of Hot Roads – The World’s Most Dangerous Roads (6×52’/6×45′). This successful series is a truly exciting adventure as it ventures along the most dangerous, extraordinary and treacherous roads worldwide.

 

Our new programming also includes strong science productions, like The Paradox of Salt – Blessing or Curse? (1×52’), Ignited – How Close is Fusion Energy? (1×52’) as well as Autentic Studios’ series From Macro to Micro: Uncovering Earth’s Unseen Wonders (2×45′).

 

Aside from your distribution business, what is Autentic doing in the FAST space?
Autentic Channels has a proven track record in the channels business, so expanding into FAST was the logical next step. Within the last 10 months, we have launched five successful FAST channels. While Spiegel TV Konflikte and Curiosity Now are explicitly geared to the German-speaking market, Adventure Earth, Autentic History and Autentic Travel are now available to stream internationally across the major platforms. This fall we are expanding to North America, Australia and New Zealand, which we are very excited about. We will also unveil another new channel soon, a launch that we are eagerly preparing for.

 

Mission Saving Paradise – Expedition to the Last Treasures of the Indian Ocean
Mission Saving Paradise – Expedition to the Last
Treasures of the Indian Ocean

What is the significance of the launch of Autentic Studios?
With the launch of Autentic Studios, we are combining our existing production activities and expanding production capacities, responding to the increasing demand for documentary and factual content from broadcasters and streaming platforms. We are already perceived as a strong world distributor and channel operator in the factual market. With the new label, we want to highlight that we are not only a coproducer, financing partner and distributor but also a producer. We develop our own programmes, ranging from factual series to high-end documentaries. Our long-standing, worldwide network helps us act as a studio, working closely with partners, coproducers and freelance talents. We decide which strategy works best for each new project.

 

We also still see growth potential, especially in the German-speaking factual market. This new focus on the local German factual market does not mean that we are becoming less international. We will serve both markets, and we’ve repositioned ourselves for that purpose. The three pillars of our company – Autentic Distribution, Autentic Studios and Autentic Channels – are becoming more and more intertwined; this gives us a real USP and puts us in an ideal position for the future.

 

Tell us about Autentic’s strategy for gap-financing and coproduction?
Gap-financing and coproduction are vital parts of our commitment to continuously strengthen our content portfolio. With the current economic situation and rising production costs, it has become increasingly difficult for projects to be financed. This is where Autentic comes in. We cover the entire value chain of the factual genre and can therefore actively support productions from the very beginning. We help producers finding the right partners by connecting them within our international network and ensuring they find the financing they need to realise their projects.

 

Scotland - The New Wild
Scotland – The New Wild

Additionally, we have been actively increasing our own investments in productions. Autentic Distribution offers minimum guarantees and gap-financing to promising new documentary projects, while our production department has a strong track record in realising international coproductions. Autentic Studios is very fortunate to be able to rely on established relationships with great coproduction partners. This allows us to get involved in a lot of interesting projects and increases Autentic’s production volume, which is key in the digital channel business.

 

How have the economic situation and US strikes impacted global demand for factual content?
Luckily for Autentic as a purely factual outlet, factual is still the hot genre. The impact of the current economic climate as well as the effect of the US writers and actors’ strikes on the factual content market can be compared with the pandemic. These circumstances have fuelled the demand for documentaries and non-scripted content even further. Factual content is always the first thing channels and platforms turn to when they run out of content.

 

Looking ahead to 2024, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the factual TV industry?
One of the biggest challenges is finding new programmes to meet the constantly growing demand for factual content. This is further intensified by the fact that in the face of rising production costs, securing financing for projects has become increasingly challenging for producers. However, by placing increasing emphasis on gap-financing and co-financing, the expansion of our international producer network and with the launch of Autentic Studios, we are confident that we are well-positioned to face these challenges and can continue to offer our clients the high-quality factual programmes they expect from Autentic.



More programming profiles

  • 20-09-2022

    Mirjam Strasser, head of sales and acquisitions at Autentic Distribution, explores how the market is changing for factual content and discusses the new shows the German company is showcasing via C21’s Digital Screenings this week.

     

    What are the big trends in the factual sector right now, in particular the rise of ‘premium factual’?
    First of all, blue-chip nature programmes are still the content that can achieve the highest licence fees. Lots of clients are eagerly looking for the next big natural history hit. Climate programmes and conservation topics are getting more and more popular. Apart from that, ancient history is working well for a broad range of clients that are looking for more programmes about Ancient Egypt, the pyramids and the Romans.
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  • 05-11-2021

    Mirjam Strasser, head of sales and acquisitions at Germany’s Autentic Distribution, showcases the new factual titles on the company’s playlist for C21’s Digital Screenings this week, and gives her views on the changing market for documentaries.

     

    Can you tell us about the shows on Autentic’s playlist this week?
    Our selection of programmes actually reflects our whole catalogue very well. We are very diversified, whether that’s in terms of genre or production style, or whether it’s a series, a one-off or a feature documentary. With our current highlights The Apennine Mountains and Europe’s Forgotten Pilgrim Routes, we provide lightweight travel content that everyone is looking for. Stone Men II and Heroes of the Deep are our new male-oriented factual entertainment series, and Wildlife Diaries Australia and Rewilding: Back to Nature are destined for our clients looking for wildlife conservation programming.

     

    A special programme is The History of Camping, which traces this popular form of travel back to its origins. The documentary is visually great; we see archive footage of a VW Bulli in the African savannah fighting its way through mud – hardly imaginable travelling today with such an old car. Meanwhile, the three Empire Builders miniseries in our playlist are looking at the empires of China, Greece and the Netherlands, respectively, from their inception to their impact on the world until today. High-quality CGI brings these past empires back to life.
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