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Encore Television Distribution

Programming Profile

Encore heads to Content London to reconnect with the market


Chrystine Girard, head of international distribution at Montreal-based Encore International, talks about changing global demand for Quebec content, her new programmes on C21’s Digital Screenings and Encore’s global expansion plans.


How has your company’s content strategy changed after the events of the past 18 months?
If we look back to how we did business before the pandemic and compare it with now, some 18 months later, the ‘before and after’ hasn’t changed that much; it’s during the pandemic that we had to adjust. We had to find efficient ways to bring our content to the market, to get the buyers’ attention and to ‘feel’ the market – something you cannot do through a computer screen.


During that period, indeed, video conferencing did help, but only up to a point. At the beginning of the pandemic, as nobody knew what lay ahead and for how long, and with productions put to a halt, unsurprisingly, acquisitions increased. After a few months, though, even though we were still pitching virtually, we saw a slowing of the decision-making process.


Chrystine Girard,
Encore International

Now, as Covid restrictions slowly ease, in-person markets and festivals are back in force. And so is the business. Since August, we’ve had the chance to attend a few markets, and the outcome is quite significant. It’s amazing how in-person meetings bring out energy and stimulate our business and us, as human beings. We’ve noticed that with the return of in-person markets, both on the acquisition and sale sides, decisions are being made at a much faster rate.


How is international demand for Quebecois content changing?
We have noticed a growing demand for Quebecois content. An increasing number of Quebecois series are finding a home elsewhere in the world, and that includes Encore’s original series and those we represent. For instance, over the past two years, Encore Television has had no fewer than four of its original series adapted internationally and broadcast with great success in some 15 countries. They are Fugueuse (Runaway) and Pour Sarah (For Sarah), produced with Duo Productions, as well as Boomerang and Les Beaux Malaises, produced with Productions Matte TV. All four were produced in collaboration with Quebecor Content and aired on TVA.


Les Beaux Malaises
Les Beaux Malaises

Bête Noire (Dark Soul), an Encore Television show that aired in March this year, on Corus channel Series Plus, is another good example of the growing international recognition of Quebec series. Since its first broadcast in Quebec, Bête Noire has been licensed to Link TV in the US, NRK in Norway and SBS in Australia, with a deal in another major territory to be announced soon.


We also have series from third-party Quebec producers that are doing well on the international scene, such as Faits Divers (Crime Stories), produced by Sovimage and broadcast on TOU.TV Extra (ICI Radio-Canada), which has been optioned in two territories and licensed in two others in its original version.


Me Neither! (Moi non plus!)
Me Neither! (Moi non plus!)

Please tell us about your company’s international expansion plans for 2022.
Our goal is to continue to strengthen our content library and offer a carefully curated selection of (mainly) scripted series. Audiences around the world seem to have an insatiable appetite for scripted series, and the usual suspects are crime and investigation and young-adult series. Teen and tween series are also genres that work well for us, with shows like Six Degrés (Six Degrees), produced by Encore Television and broadcast on TOU.TV Extra (ICI Radio-Canada) and Ami TV, and La vie compliquée de Léa Olivier (The Complicated Life of Léa Olivier), a tween series produced by Encore Television and Slalom in collaboration with Club Illico and TFO. The latter has been licensed to Canal+ for broadcast in French-speaking territories and Poland, and also to YLE in Finland.


What area of business is your company looking to expand into to better serve the global market?
Global distribution is the vehicle we use to serve the global market, and we are exploring different business models. Pure sales and acquisitions are the core activity of our business; they bring immediate results. Longer term, and for some IPs, we have started working more closely with content creators, before the start of production. This enables us to position the property on the market at an earlier stage and to devise deals based on the interest of all the parties involved. Communication is key, as distribution has become much more sophisticated. With each buyer, titles must be licensed while always having in mind a global view so the rights granted in one deal won’t get in the way of another deal when a new business opportunity arises.


C'est la vie (Les moments parfaits)
C’est la vie (Les moments parfaits)

What new content opportunities do you see in the market now, domestically or internationally?
New content opportunities come with the increasing number of streaming platforms, SVoD and AVoD alike, launched by linear broadcasters, among other things. There is also the fact that language is increasingly becoming the defining criterion for global exploitation, which means a series can be licensed in the same territory with different buyers, as the exclusivity relates to the language and not the geographical territory. This enhances the discoverability of our series and means our content reaches broader audiences.


What do you intend to achieve with your trip to Content London 2021?
Content London has become an event we cannot afford to miss; it attracts buyers, commissioners and talent alike from all around the world. It’s the place and time to connect with the market, to see the trends, to learn about new shows that are in the making and to listen to the creators of those shows, to position ourselves vis-à-vis the other players in the market. A perfect time and place to reconnect with the market.

More programming profiles

  • 16-11-2022

    Chrystine Girard, head of international distribution at Quebec’s Encore Group, outlines her company’s international programming strategy and plans for Content London 2022.


    Please can you give me a brief outline of your company and its activities?
    Encore Television-Distribution is the distribution arm of Encore, a multi-award-winning integrated entertainment group. Encore is one of the most prolific production companies in scripted series (comedy and drama), live comedy specials, live plays and artist management in French Canada.


    With nearly 500 hours produced over the last 20 years, Encore Television has multiplied the production of award-winning TV series praised on both the local and global markets. Encore Television-Distribution manages all exploitation rights to Encore’s full content library for international content licensing and format adaptations, as well as the company’s third-party series (drama, youth, documentary and factual) by prominent Quebec producers such as Sovimage, Urbania, Trio Orange, Telefiction, Passez-Go and Trinôme & filles.

  • 15-06-2020

    Encore International is hoping to sell feel-good programming to a world looking to take its mind off the pandemic.


    With the stress of the global pandemic hitting home, Montreal-based distributor Encore International – the sales arm of the Encore Group – is seeing an opportunity with buyers for uplifting content that can ease the mind and warm the heart.


    “We need to sell programming that is uplifting, that offers a good mood, good values, that people can watch on streaming or via linear TV, but which is relaxing and fun,” explains Chrystine Girard, Encore International’s head of international distribution.


    “What came as a surprise is there’s a demand for shows that are bit older (five even eight years old) because people are looking for something that reminds them of the good old times. We need to have something that takes our minds off the current pandemic situation, and that translates into the type of product that we are selling.”