Please wait...
Please wait...
Please wait...

C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

Insight TV

Programming Profile

Insight expands slate to beat the lockdown

25-06-2020

Insight has brought together a playlist of programmes aimed at filling gaps in schedules brought about by lockdown and is showcasing it this week on C21’s Digital Screenings.

 

For most global content companies the coronavirus pandemic has been a sudden and drastic change that has brought about a swathe of complications and disrupted the usual run of business.

 

However, the international 4K ultra-HD broadcaster/distributor Insight TV has managed to make the best of a bad situation and has seen advantages in the changes in international demand following lockdown and the production freeze.

 

Insight TV has compiled an extensive slate of original content aimed at filling gaps in scheduling brought about by the Covid-19 crisis. The company has searched through its trove of library content and combined its tried and tested titles with a raft of new series to present a corona-proof offering to buyers.

 

Solesbury
Jack Solesbury, Insight TV

For the company’s head of content and format sales Jack Solesbury, the inclusion on the slate of programming that is not specifically tied to the pandemic – or produced as a direct consequence of it – is key.

 

“What’s great about our content is that it’s evergreen. A lot of it isn’t time-specific, it isn’t content that expires after a period of time or is about a particular event in time, so it works during any time period. We try to show unique stories about interesting communities and we try to make them uplifting and inspirational. Feel-good content is what a lot of people are looking for during this period,” explains Solesbury.

 

Insight TV is still a relative newcomer, having only launched in 2015. Solesbury says that though the company’s catalogue of content may not be as deep as those of more established companies, Insight TV’s library features fresh, more recently produced shows for millennial audiences.

 

“We’ve only been around since 2015, so even our oldest content is not going to be more than five years old. There are four or so titles from 2016 or 2017 that have sold well for us and in a number of territories, so we’re keen to see if there’s more interest in those as well as our brand new additions.”

 

I Am Invincible
I Am Invincible

This does not mean that the past few months have been smooth sailing for the company, as Solesbury admits.

 

“Over the last few months, some companies have frozen or slowed their acquisitions due to the downturn in advertising, particularly on the free-to-air channels. That’s been more of an issue than any deflation in prices. I haven’t had too many people tell me they want to pay half of what they paid last year; it’s been other commercial terms they want us to be more flexible on, not so much on price.

 

“Business is hard for everyone at the moment, but I think our content is well positioned for the type of programming that people are looking for during this time.

 

Modern Day Gladiators
Modern Day Gladiators

“The other thing that’s obviously changed is that broadcasters that are reliant on live shows, like sports or live entertainment, have now got gaps in their schedules. Because of this, we’ve had interesting conversations with broadcasters that we’ve never spoken to before,” he states.

 

The cancellation of the world’s major sports tournaments over the summer has also presented Insight TV with additional sales opportunities, and Solesbury says the company’s sport-themed content is targeted at younger demographics, making it an ideal replacement for sport.

 

“This has been one of the advantages of the pandemic, from our point of view. All of those networks, in particular pay TV networks that are reliant on live sport, have had their schedules decimated by what’s gone on.”

 

Streetkings in Jail
Streetkings in Jail

Insight TV has selected a range of sport-focused titles that would help ease the blues for sports fans, such as the new docuseries I Am Invincible, martial arts-focused Story of Masters, eSports series Modern Day Gladiators and street football title Streetkings in Jail.

 

“Of the new titles, the one I’m really excited about presenting to buyers is I Am Invincible,” says Solesbury. “This is the story of military veterans who have suffered serious injuries during their military tours and then go on to compete as part of the Invictus Games, a kind of Olympic Games for veterans. It follows three athletes in the run-up to what would have been the latest games, but obviously the fourth episode, which is going to be set at the games, has had to be paused until next year.

 

Epic Exploring: Going Local
Epic Exploring: Going Local

“The documentary is so uplifting and inspiring – it takes you on such an emotional journey about what these guys went through and how much joy it brings them to be able to compete in these games. We felt it was such a great piece of television that we still wanted to launch those three episodes, even if the fourth is delayed until next year,” Solesbury says.

 

The exec states that Insight TV’s sports offering has already been picked up in lieu of cancelled sports events to fill the new-look summer schedules.

 

“For example, we forged a partnership with Supersport in South Africa to license three of our shows. Supersport is a channel we have wanted to work with for a long time but hadn’t quite found the right opportunity. During this pandemic the channel has licensed these shows from us and we’re hoping this will lead to a long-term partnership.

 

Ghost Chasers: Exploring the Other Side
Ghost Chasers: Exploring the Other Side

“Similarly with Astro, the major pay TV platform in Malaysia. That company would normally be showing live sports like Premiership football but at the moment they have our shows on their 4K channel as part of a branded block,” Solesbury points out.

 

Insight is not focused exclusively on sports-centred content, and the exec says the company is shifting focus on to other genres. “A lot of our content is based on a trend or movement that’s gaining a lot of popularity and becoming more interesting to the Millennial and Gen Z audiences,” he adds.

 

“A year and a half ago, the majority of the catalogue was action sports but now we have more lifestyle, more entertainment content coming through. Now we’re not even commissioning by genre, it’s more a question of whether this is a unique story. Is this something we can tell about a community or a subject matter that other producers are not making? If it is and it appeals to the right age range, then it’s something we’re going to commission and make.”

 

Around the World in 80 Tricks
Around the World in 80 Tricks

As a result, series such as Epic Exploring: Going Local, Ghost Chasers: Exploring the Other Side, Around the World in 80 Tricks, Living Stone, Find Me a Classic and Secrets of the Brain all feature on the Insight TV playlist on C21’s Digital Screenings this week.

 

“We don’t have strict requirements that we want 30% of our slate to be lifestyle, 30% to be action sports and 40% to be factual entertainment or whatever. It’s more about whether the story interesting and feels like an Insight TV-type of story that we want to tell,” he adds.

 

In order to cater to younger demographics, Insight TV has placed relevant figures at the centre of many of its titles, with series like Epic Exploring and Car Crews With Supercar Blondie, featuring YouTube stars Josh and Cody, and Alex Hirschi respectively.

 

Living Stone
Living Stone

“First of all, this grants us access to an area that would have been harder to get inside if we’d used a traditional presenter and shot a traditional documentary,” explains Solesbury. “Josh and Cody have given us access not only to the urban exploring world but also their urban explorer buddies who they meet as they travel around the world. But then obviously it also taps into their huge fan base of millions of subscribers on YouTube.

 

“So there’s a twofold benefit from working with social media personalities. It’s definitely something we’ll continue to do because they really resonate with the audience we’re targeting, more so than your traditional narrator,” he explains.

 

Secrets of the Brain
Secrets of the Brain

Solesbury points out that Insight’s content has found a home across a range of platforms and he believes its focus on younger audiences provides traditional broadcasters the chance to secure viewers within that elusive demographic.

 

“It’s a real range, from thematic pay TV channels to regional SVoD players, global SVoDs and even public broadcasters. Even though our content is younger-skewing, a lot of those traditional linear broadcasters want to bring that audience to their linear networks. So they’re keen to acquire content such as ours because it helps with that.”

 

Solesbury believes Insight has an advantage over other distributors as the company fully owns its programmes, which he says gives more flexibility. “The great thing is that we own all the rights to our shows because we produce them and fund them ourselves. We have global rights for the shows, which is obviously different from a lot of distributors,” he explains.

 

“It makes us flexible in terms of the types of deals we can do as well, and that hasn’t really changed. Whether it’s a broadcaster in one of the bigger territories, or a digital platform somewhere we have yet to penetrate, we are keen to get our content out there to as many people as possible.”