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Dutch CORE

Programming Profile

Doubling down on content with Dutch CORE


Lorraine Joore, sales executive at Dutch CORE, outlines the Netherlands-based distributor’s content strategy, its recent expansion into formats and its new slate of titles being showcased via C21’s Digital Screenings this week.


Can you tell us about the selection of shows on your playlist for C21’s Digital Screenings?
Our carefully selected line-up focuses on five main categories: current affairs, science/technology, sports, human interest and fun youth programmes.


For our documentaries on current affairs and science/technology, we seek out titles that perfectly balance on the edge of exciting storytelling and groundbreaking journalism. The Backlight strand of documentaries is such a series and targets a worldwide audience by focusing on topics that arise from our globalised world in which societies, economies and cultures seek a new equilibrium.


Lorraine Joore, Dutch Core

Backlight: A New Order (1×50’), for example, focuses on the challenges that arise with the transition to green energy. The show also aims to track prominent trends and developments – for example, Backlight: NFT Mania (1×50’) zooms in on a new type of digital property that currently dominates the art scene.


We are also very proud to represent VRT’s factual programmes, which stand out for their strong genre combinations of current affairs, history and societal issues while accompanied by compelling footage revealing a new take on the subject. The three-part series Syria: The Toxic War (3×45′), for instance, investigates one of the greatest war crimes of recent decades: the systematic use of banned chemical weapons in Syria. It’s a unique series that captures international politics as well as personal stories of witnesses and victims.


With the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar almost upon us, the documentary The Toll Paid for the World Cup in Qatar (1×25’) couldn’t be more current. The state-of-the-art stadiums are built by Nepalese migrant workers, often under terrible circumstances. Their testimonies have never been told before, since many of them are paid or threatened to stop them speaking out.


Backlight: NFT Mania
Backlight: NFT Mania

With so many fantastic filmmakers in the Netherlands and Belgium, we have created a soft spot for the absolute best of human-interest films. Jason (1×90’) follows a 22-year-old man as he struggles with the psychological effects of a traumatic childhood, which were only intensified when he was taken into juvenile residential care at the age of 16. Sweetling (1×71’), meanwhile, is an ode to love and a quest for new ways of connectedness, despite the challenges of looming dementia.


Last but definitely not least, the documentary Sexual Healing (1×55’) will appeal to buyers looking for extraordinary stories. The film draws an incredibly intimate portrait of sexual self-discovery. The protagonist shows her most vulnerable side and has such a lively spirit that it will leave the audience in awe.


For the younger audience we offer a combination of drama, edutainment and documentaries. Kabam! (10×8’) is a high-end preschool drama series in which children discover who they are and how to grow. This compelling youth series brings childhood fears out into the open in a light-hearted and fun way.


Syria: The Toxic War
Syria: The Toxic War

For our edutainment-seeking clients, we are proud to present the adventurous travel series Stok&Bok (12×14’). Through short, exciting adventures in places around the world, young viewers get to know a country and a city. This project is in production and we’re looking for pre-sales and partners to join. The documentary series My Parents are Divorced (4×15’) was very well received at Prix Jeunesse and nominated for the International Award and the Unicef Special Prize. The series was applauded for its freshness and represents an angle that is both educational and relatable to children.


Please tell us about the international appeal of the shows on your playlist?
The playlist is illustrative of Dutch CORE’s focus on captivating stories, investigating issues of today’s world and unfolding revolutionary ideas. The international appeal has to be all-round, from the subject and style to the speakers in the production itself. Our science and technology documentaries, for example, will provide in-depth research by leading international experts and intellectuals from all over the world.


We adhere to programmes that portray societal issues of worldwide importance, as well as set a high standard of filmmaking and research. Jason, for example, is a beautiful example of a film that successfully travels across borders because of its subject and style. The theme of a traumatic childhood and failing health-care system but devoted mission for change is inspirational and speaks to an international audience. The cinematography is brilliant, with intimate close-ups and very strong editing. This quality is recognised across the globe, as the film has already won many prizes in South Korea, Russia and Germany.


The Toll Paid for the World Cup in Qatar
The Toll Paid for the World Cup in Qatar

How is international demand for the kind of content represented in your playlist changing?
In general, we see a higher demand for documentaries for the streaming platforms, where there was a bigger focus on drama in the past. Miniseries are also requested frequently. Moreover, there are genres that continue to gain popularity, such as in-depth crime research, travel series and human interest subjects like LGBTQ+ issues and mental health.


With the increase of streamers, you can also clearly see a change in focus and narrative style. Both the broadcasters and streamers are open to fresh and fast-paced storytelling. Furthermore, the market is becoming more sustainable. Due to all the emerging platforms, mergers and takeovers, we note that multiple windows, re-licences and library deals are happening more regularly than before, which extends the lifespans of our programmes.


What does this playlist reflect about Dutch CORE’s international content strategy?
Our goal is to promote our well-selected slate of Dutch and Belgian programmes to a global audience. Since we operate worldwide, with longstanding relationships, particularly in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North America and Australia, we aim to cater to everyone’s needs by offering a diverse combination of documentary, drama and kids’ programmes. Our catalogue is therefore very global-driven with universal topics that will appeal to audiences from France to Japan. Sometimes this means we jump into a trendy topic with a relatively short shelf-life that can travel worldwide because its novelty triggers curiosity; other times it means picking that one timeless gem that will steal the heart of anyone watching it, no matter where they come from.



Our specialised agents located in central Asia, France and Italy help us to further identify these markets’ tastes and needs. We’re still exploring the Latin American and African markets and are very open to meeting new buyers or specialised agents during Mipcom.


Mipcom is on the horizon. Please tell us about the importance of real-life industry events and the Netherlands Pavilion?
These past two years we have definitely missed real-life events. While we strengthened our online presence and launched several successful social campaigns during the Covid-19 lockdown, it cannot replace meeting your contacts in person. This is especially true if you want to reach out to platforms or buyers that are new to the market. We cherish sustainable relationships and like to think along with the buyer, which is much easier if you’re sitting in front of each other in an informal setting.


Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing

After two difficult years when physical meetings were nearly impossible, we decided this upcoming Mipcom would be the perfect time to organise an initiative that focuses on networking, cooperation and creating new chances. Together with DFW International, Incredible Film and VPRO, we are proud to present our brand new Netherlands Pavilion at Mipcom: the Holland Lounge. The Holland Lounge is located in Palais des Festivals at P-1 G51. To celebrate all this we are hosting a Dutch Drinks & Bites at the Holland Lounge on Tuesday October 18 at 4pm. More information can be found on our website.


Please can you explain the strategy behind your recent expansion into formats?
The expansion into formats is a new endeavour for us as we previously focused only on readymade content. Together with Dutch public broadcaster VPRO, we are very excited to launch a new line-up of formats for both adult and kids programmes at Mipcom. This expansion has grown quite naturally, as we often received requests on both the producer and the buyer side about whether we could do something with formats. The Netherlands is highly experienced when it comes to formats, but until now this has been largely focused on the more commercial reality side and talent shows.


We want to show that the Netherlands has much more diverse formats to offer. As the official sales representative of all the Dutch public broadcasters and leading independent producers, our formats will include a fun edutainment series, a cooking show for kids and an interactive multimedia project called The Cycle Club, about the menstrual cycle – a subject that is hardly ever discussed. An edgy subject like this presented in a quality way is typical of Dutch programming and we would like to bring these to the world. The Cycle Club won the European Media Award for Best Online Production at Prix Europa 2021.



How else is your content catalogue changing, in terms of genres and suppliers? We are particularly known for our high-quality documentaries and factual series and have always been very strong in heavily demanded genres, such as current affairs, science, technology, history and human interest. What has changed is our addition of curated selections that fall under present-day sub-genres such as LGTBQ+, disability, climate change, geopolitics and health care. With these sub-genres, we answer to the increased interest in programmes that are attractive to a young, curious and engaged audience. An audience that wants to be informed about subjects of today’s world through well researched documentaries and relatable characters who struggle with recognisable issues.


Another important aspect is our drama line-up. The Dutch broadcasters and producers are developing more and more high-end drama. There are some beautiful series being produced right now and we expect to offer them to our clients in the near future.


What has been the impact of the recent streaming boom on both the supply of and demand for content?
With the rise of the streamers, digital rights and windowing strategies have become all the more important. You really need to set out an individual sales strategy for each film or series. But while AVoD may be huge in some territories, other countries are still heavily leaning on linear broadcasting. Luckily, we have noticed that streaming and linear TV can co-exist and complement each other quite well. To fulfill both their demands, our aim is always to create a new slate that includes both high-volume series with a clear focus and beautifully made one-off documentaries of various lengths. The streamers have also opened the door to less traditional storytelling, genre mixes and niche topics. TV broadcasters and pay TV channels are now incorporating this strategy as well and we’re excited to see where this competition will lead to.



With all the recent mergers and takeovers, what new opportunities do you see in the market right now?
We see two important changes. First, there is a lot of opportunity for us in the Asian and Middle Eastern markets. In recent years we were able to enhance our reach there, as demand for factual content is very high within these markets. We had a successful DICM market in Dubai last year and met a lot of new buyers. They are mostly interested in economic, business, innovative and technological subjects. The same goes for Asia, where we also notice a peak in demand for both factual content and kids programmes. The ATF market is therefore an annual event for us.


Secondly, we will focus more on cooperation with all kinds of VoD platforms. We already work together with Disney, Amazon, Netflix, some local providers in the Netherlands and will soon also launch some of our programmes on the biggest AVoD platforms in North America. There are so many new platforms rising and they could be great outlets for our productions.


Please tell us about some recent programme sales or investments that Dutch CORE has made.
We like to get ahead of new productions and programmes in development by getting in at an early stage, allowing us to successfully close pre-sale deals. Recent sales include The Children of Ruinerwold (4×45’) going to VRT in Belgium, SVT in Sweden, DR in Denmark and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland.


Turkey’s TRT World has also picked several documentaries of VPRO’s Backlight strand, as have Al Jazeera, NHK in Japan, ZDF in Germany, ORF in Austria, RTHK in South Korea, LTV in Latvia and TVE in Spain. PTS in Taiwan and SRF in Switzerland have recently licensed the beautiful kids’ series My Parents Are Divorced and Sky Italia has secured the fascinating Masterpiece (31×40’) series about famous Dutch painters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.