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Banijay Rights

Programming Profile

Banijay feeds market’s hunger for fresh content


Banijay Rights’ Tim Mutimer explores the new opportunities in the market, in particular broadcaster-backed OTT services, and outlines the company’s London Screenings playlist.


Business has been “incredibly strong” during the Covid-19 pandemic for international distributor Banijay Rights, according to Tim Mutimer, executive VP of sales and acquisitions for EMEA.


As audiences’ habits shift and on-demand viewing becomes the norm, an increased need for content has been particularly evident amongst streaming players and broadcasters with a VoD offering, the exec notes.


“Business has been incredibly strong and I guess that is because people around the world are spending much more time in front of their screens consuming content, so broadcasters and on-demand platforms are really hungry for content that can refresh their services. We’ve seen launches of lots of new VoD platforms since we’ve been in lockdown as well,” Mutimer says.


Tim Mutimer, Banijay Rights

“The trend that I would highlight is that linear broadcasters are looking to deepen their on-demand offerings. We’re finding now that everyone we’re talking to – whether it’s a specific streaming platform or a linear client – is really interested in building their on-demand offerings and looking for content that will complement the schedules. There’s a lot of business to be done there.”


Scripted programming has been in particularly high demand, Mutimer notes, which is partly due to the slowdown in delivery of new dramas because of the pandemic and some of the big US studios holding back content for their own streaming platforms.


“We’re certainly seeing an uplift in demand for scripted and I guess that’s because delivery has slowed down with a lot of original productions, while some of the global streamers are taking some content off the market,” Mutimer says.


“Everyone is really keen to screen a brand new scripted show, but equally, library content that they know audiences love. If you look at what people are watching on Netflix, often it’s shows that have already aired elsewhere, that you assume a lot of the audience have already seen. You can put shows on different platforms and new audiences will find them. There’s a lot more shared exclusivity than there’s ever been before, because people are hungry for content and they find it in different places.”


Taking this into account, Banijay Rights is featuring four dramas in its C21 London Screenings playlist, two of which are brand new while the other half are returning series.


Set to premiere on ITV in the UK later this year is Viewpoint, a new 5×60’ crime drama series from Banijay’s Tiger Aspect Productions in association with Unstoppable Film. Based on an idea by Harry Bradbeer (Fleabag, Killing Eve) and co-created and written by Ed Whitmore (Manhunt), the series follows a tense police surveillance investigation into a tight-knit Manchester community after the disappearance of a primary school teacher.


“Viewpoint has been highly anticipated and people are really keen to see it,” Mutimer says. “That kind of procedural investigative series will fit lots of different schedules and platforms. It’s got a great pedigree in that it’s an idea by Harry Bradbeer, who was a director on Fleabag and Killing Eve, and stars Noel Clark [Bulletproof, Star Trek: Into Darkness], who is incredible in it. It’s a really great series that people are going to enjoy and hopefully will lead to a returning series.”


The second new drama in Banijay Rights’ playlist is RFDS, an 8×60’ action drama based on the real-life stories of Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service. The series is produced by Banijay’s Endemol Shine Australia for Seven Network.


The Gulf
The Gulf

“RFDS: Royal Flying Doctor Service has an incredible, spectacular Australian backdrop, but essentially it’s a story about people working together in the community to do good in tough conditions, and we can all sympathise and empathise with that. It can play in primetime or daytime, and we’re seeing a real appetite for that kind of content that can play anywhere,” Mutimer says.


Also in drama is the upcoming second season of New Zealand thriller The Gulf, produced by Screentime New Zealand, Letterbox Filmproduktion and Lippy Pictures for Kiwi broadcaster Three and ZDF in Germany.


The first season, about a police detective who loses her memory in a car crash that kills her husband and must retrace her steps to remember what happened, debuted in 2019.



Season two of The Gulf (8×60’) follows the detective as she attempts to put the past behind her and make the most of her tentative new relationship with her daughter, but a blackmailer is making that impossible.


The second returning drama is season two of Spanish mystery series Hierro. Produced by Portocabo for Movistar+ and Arte, Hierro is about an investigating magistrate who is transferred to a remote island in the Canary Islands where she is confronted by the murder of a young local man the day before his wedding. The second season (6×60’) premiered on Movistar+ in February.


Mutimer suggests that now The Gulf and Hierro have returned with second runs, both series might appeal to broadcasters who did not pick up the first seasons due to preferring longer-running series.


Big Brother
Big Brother

Longer-running, returning series are an important part of Banijay Rights’ catalogue, as well as franchises and brands that can travel the world.


“Our strategy is to focus on franchises, long-running and returning series, whether that’s in scripted or unscripted. We’ve got lots of returning dramas and lots of returning entertainment programmes,” Mutimer says.


Unscripted series make up a large portion of Banijay Rights’ library and, with that in mind, the distributor is featuring five of its biggest entertainment formats in its playlist: Big Brother, Survivor, MasterChef, LEGO Masters and Temptation Island.



Big Brother first launched in the Netherlands in 1999 and more than 20 years since it began the reality phenomenon is stronger than ever. Last year saw 23 productions broadcast in 17 markets, with an additional 20th anniversary special in the UK.


Fellow competition series Survivor, in which contestants are marooned in an isolated location where they compete in challenges, debuted in Sweden in 1997 as Expedition Robinson. Like Big Brother, the Survivor franchise has also travelled extensively around the globe.


Cooking competition series MasterChef, meanwhile, first aired on BBC1 in the UK in 1990 and has since been broadcast in over 63 countries. The format, which also has a number of spin-off series, including a recent Seniors version in Spain, was created by Franc Roddam.


LEGO Masters
LEGO Masters

LEGO Masters appeared on the scene much more recently, having premiered in the UK in 2017 before being locally adapted in the US, Australia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Finland and France. The format, in which contestants compete to build the most impressive LEGO models, was created by Tuesday’s Child and The Lego Group, with Banijay serving as the exclusive format and finished tape distributor.


Finally, Temptation Island is a relationship-themed reality format. The show was recently rebooted in countries including the US, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain from 2018 onwards. The third season of the US reboot is currently airing on USA Network and the finished tape of that version is available in addition to the format.


“These are shows that, when audiences are at home, they’re really, really hungry for,” Mutimer says. “If you look at all of those big brands, they are performing incredibly well at the moment; the audiences are growing even though these shows have been on air for a number of seasons.


Temptation Island
Temptation Island

“LEGO Masters is one that is doing incredibly well with local adaptations in lots of big markets. Broadcasters are also keen to supplement the success of their local versions by acquiring tape from other territories and making that available on their on-demand services, so the audiences have got more content in a similar vein that they can consume when the local version isn’t premiering.


“Big Brother is the perfect Covid-friendly format, because once you put people in quarantine and get them in the house, they’re in a really sealed-off environment. So that has been incredibly successful during the pandemic. New productions have been able to be produced and then go on air.”


Elsewhere in unscripted, and the final programme in Banijay Rights’ playlist, is upcoming factual 1×60’ or 1×90’ doc Inside Chernobyl with Ben Fogle. Produced by Remarkable TV for Channel 5 in the UK, the doc follows presenter Ben Fogle as he spends a week living inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and gains special access to the Chernobyl nuclear plant. The launch of the doc this year will coincide with the 35th anniversary of the disaster.



As we continue through 2021 and production of new series slowly progresses amid the pandemic, Banijay Rights hopes to add some more new shows to its library, while growing its list of franchises.


“Scripted is coming back and production is kind of up and running, so we’re looking forward to welcoming some of the shows that have been delayed into the catalogue towards the end of this year and start of next year,” Mutimer says.


“We’re talking to producers about more returning series and we’re interested in growing the next of those returning franchises that can keep buyers around the world with good content for the next 10 years.”

More programming profiles

  • 20-04-2020

    Topicality and escapism are the two big themes emerging from Banijay Rights’ C21 Digital Screening, on both the scripted and unscripted side.


    While it is difficult to predict anything too far into the future just now, if you had to hazard a guess at audience demands then escapism and topicality are likely to feature quite highly on your list of programme choices.


    Escapism to take them away from a world where they’re not allowed to leave the house and topicality because the world has changed so much in such a short space of time content not reflecting it could easily look dated.


    For a distributor like Banijay Rights, which shops both scripted and unscripted content, it could be fair to assume the escapism would come from the drama and the topicality from the factual, but there’s plenty of both on both sides of the slate.