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Encore Television Distribution

Programming Profile

Encore sticks to the script for Content London


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.


Chrystine Giard, Encore Group

What shows is your company best known for?
As a global distributor, we are best known for the strength of our scripted series. They include Bête Noire (Dark Soul), produced by Encore Television and broadcast on Series Plus (Corus) – which has been licensed in more than 100 countries, including France, the US, the UK, Australia, Latin America, South Africa and Spain.


Other titles include Fugueuse (Runaway) and Pour Sarah (For Sarah) from Encore Television and Duo Productions. Both have been adapted in France, while the latter show is also currently in development in India. Also on the list are Boomerang and Les Beaux Malaises, from Productions Matte TV and Encore Television. Les Beaux Malaises is our top comedy series. It is continuously gaining traction on the international scene, with a new adaptation now in production and soon to be announced. All four of these shows are produced in collaboration with Quebecor Content and broadcast on TVA.


Before the Crash
Before the Crash

Produced by Sovimage, Faits Divers (Crime Stories), broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada and Tou.TV Extra, and Une affaire criminelle (A Criminal Affair), broadcast on Noovo and Crave (Bell Media), have been doing very well so far for us in France, Australia, the US, the UK, Spain, Latin America and South Africa.


Our kids’ series – thanks to the success of La vie compliquée de Léa Olivier (The Complicated Life of Léa Olivier), coproduced by Encore Télévision and Slalom in collaboration with Quebecor Content for broadcast on Illico and TVA – are also performing well in all French-speaking territories on Canal+ and in Finland on YLE. Six Degrés (Six Degrees), produced by Encore Television and broadcast on Tou.TV and ICI Radio-Canada, is a multi-award-winning series currently being developed for local production in France.


What projects do you have in your 2023 line-up?
2023 will be a very rich year in terms of new premium series. We have Sovimage’s L’Empereur (The Emperor, 9×45) and Les Bombes (Gorgeous, 6×45’) lined up for broadcast at the start of next year on Noovo and Crave (Bell Media) and Series Plus (Corus) respectively. Urbania’s comedy drama Thin Air (10×22’), which was selected in the Fresh Fiction session at last Mipcom, is due for broadcast in March on Unis TV, and the second season of Encore Television’s Dark Soul (8×45’) will air in 2024 on Series Plus (Corus).


Thin Air
Thin Air

We also just added a strong slate of new kids’ series. They include Les Cavaliers (The Cavaliers), produced by Trio Orange and broadcast on UnisTV; and Les Mutants (Mutants) and Comme des têtes pas de poule (Like A Chickenless Head), produced by Telefiction and broadcast on Tele-Quebec.


What is your international expansion strategy?
We love what we do and we love our shows. We dedicate all our effort, talent and resources to finding good places for our series on the global scene, and we know there is a place for them. Many of them are already available in most major territories, so our goal is to build on that and go even further in the recognition of the Quebec savoir-faire by global audiences worldwide.


How do you see global demand for Quebecois content changing and where is demand highest?
Going international means facing strong competition. That said, Quebecois content has a good reputation. As one buyer once said to me, ‘Quebec may be a small territory, but it’s an important one.’ Year in, year out, we create, produce and offer premium series that are well received by the market. We have good instincts and good momentum. At Encore, we’re particularly strong in scripted content. The highest in demand is drama, the usual suspect, but comedy and kids’ series are doing quite well too.


A Criminal Affair
A Criminal Affair

How has the rise of streaming changed things for Quebecois producers?
From a distributor’s standpoint, the rise of streaming means new business opportunities. But we face challenges: streamers may not ask for exclusive rights and may allow the coexistence of the same series elsewhere in the territory. Unsurprisingly, this puts a downward pressure on licence fees. The key here is to devise the most favourable exploitation sequence, so our series can find the best homes possible, taking all the commercial aspects into consideration. Streamers, either standalone or owned/operated by linear broadcasters, are part of the ecosystem. It’s our job to figure out what works best for each of our series.


What is your company looking to achieve at Content London 2022?
We’ve been attending Content London for a few years now and the outcome remains the same: it’s worth it. It offers a good balance between the creative side of the business and the business itself. It’s the place and time of the year where we can explore the content equation from every angle. It’s very refreshing, energising, and an incredible source of information and trends from around the world.


What are your company’s plans for 2023 and beyond?
2023 is already unfolding for us. Our core business is anchored in Quebecois content, so our goal is to continue doing what we’ve been doing over the past five years: bring premium Quebec series to the world and connect with international buyers so they can see and include them in their acquisitions, one series at a time.

More programming profiles

  • 11-11-2021

    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.

  • 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.”