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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

The Television Syndication Company (TVS)

Programming Profile

TVS targets global buyers with new slate

15-10-2020

The Television Syndication Company is offering 11 series and one feature film through its C21 Digital Screenings playlist this week, which it hopes to find homes for outside of the US.

 

Like so many companies, Florida-based The Television Syndication Company, Inc. (TVS) was certainly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the distribution side of its business. However, it is now experiencing a boost in demand for the shows in its catalogue as buyers, and indeed the world, adapt to the new normal.

 

“When the shutdown happened, our business internationally totally died and it’s only really picked up in recent weeks,” says TVS’s President Cassie Yde.

 

Yde
Cassie Yde, The Television
Syndication Company

“From March until June, almost every one of my clients was saying things were going to be on hold until after the pandemic was over. Then people realised the pandemic is not going to be over any time soon and business started picking again,” adds Mary Joyce, VP of International Sales.

 

According to Joyce, there are three types of content that buyers are particularly interested in at the moment: current affairs, documentaries about race and discrimination, and children’s programming, all of which TVS is offering in its playlist.

 

Within current affairs is Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren, a 52×30’ weekly series in which the US lawyer and former news anchor brings viewers the latest updates and commentary on today’s headlines and current events.

 

“We’re finding buyers are wanting a lot of current affairs programming and I’m getting requests for programmes on the US election. Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren is syndicated in over 85% of the US and we’re trying to get it out worldwide,” says Joyce.

 

Joyce
Mary Joyce, The Television
Syndication Company

In the documentary space, TVS has Chicago at the Crossroad, a 1×54’ or 1×77’ doc that examines the systemic creation of poverty-stricken communities plagued by gun violence in Chicago.

 

“Following the Black Lives Matter movement, there is now a global anti-racism movement. Chicago at the Crossroad covers the historical background of many of the problems, including racial issues and violence, found in urban populations,” Joyce says, adding that the doc has been picked up by the Black News Channel in the US, along with VoD platforms including Amazon Prime Video and Fox-owned Tubi.

 

Moving on to children’s content, TVS is offering three shows: Sing & Spell (26×30’/1×30’ Christmas special), The Outsiders Club (43×30’) and Wonderama (S1 16×60’/S2 and S3 26×30’ each).

 

“So many children are learning virtually right now and we’re getting more interest in Sing & Spell,” says Joyce. “It’s a show for preschoolers that teaches them the basics of phonics, done in a fun way. One of the producers was one of the composers for Sesame Street, so there are a lot of cute songs and it’s just a fun way for children to learn at home.”

 

Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren
Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren

“Another show that has done well is The Outsiders Club, which teaches kids to live a healthy lifestyle and do things outside, rather than being on electronic devices all the time. This show has been on the air in syndication in Florida for four years and we’ve licensed it to National Geographic Kids in the MENA region, as well as in territories such as Brunei, several markets in the US and some VoD platforms. We’re just having it dubbed in Spanish for VMe, so now it will be available in Spanish for Latin American territories.”

 

Wonderama, meanwhile, is a variety show for children and families that showcases musical performances, science experiments, cooking demonstrations, messy games and fun facts. It has been licensed in Malta and Indonesia outside of the US and “travels very, very well,” according to Joyce.

 

“Kids’ content, on the whole, is a very strong category right now and one that most buyers are looking for. It’s because lots of kids are not going to school in many parts of the world, so they’re at home and their parents want them entertained,” Yde adds.

 

Chicago at the Crossroad
Chicago at the Crossroad

TVS is also offering five lifestyle programmes in its playlist, including 30×30’ travel series Beyond Your Backyard, a genre that Joyce points out is also popular among viewers at the moment.

 

“With people not being able to travel right now, they can travel virtually by watching travel shows. It gets them yearning to go to different places, both in the US and around the world,” she says.

 

Another lifestyle show is Before the Fame with Mike Sherman (13×30’), which explores the lives of celebrities – from sports stars to musicians – before they were famous, chronicling their journeys to the top. According to Joyce, this series is being particularly well-received by VoD players as viewers seek out entertaining content.

 

Sing and Spell
Sing and Spell

“People just want to be taken away. It’s been a stressful time for everybody, dealing with all the uncertainty, and they like to go to television and be able to watch something that’s going to take them away from whatever situation they’re dealing with and bring them some kind of joy,” says Yde.

 

Also in the lifestyle genre are P Allen Smith’s Garden Style (100+x30’) and Pets in Paradise TV (26×30’). The former is a long-running garden- and home-themed show that has been airing for 20 years in syndication in the US and has also been licensed to “several territories” overseas, says Joyce. The latter explores the bond between animals and humans, with the goal of improving relationships between pets and their owners.

 

Before the Fame with Mike Sherman
Before the Fame with Mike Sherman

Completing the lifestyle line-up is Driving Amelia (1×60’), a new documentary that was only recently completed and is yet to air for the first time. The doc celebrates 25 years of The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance car show.

 

The final two projects in TVS’s playlist are 20×30’ crime series Justice Rules, which provides in-depth insights into criminal cases, and feature film Tales of an American Hoodrat. Inspired by true events, the 1×99’ coming-of-age comedy-drama follows a group of teenagers living life by their own set of rules.

 

“Tales of an American Hoodrat is a very good film that people can relate to, because we’ve all been adolescents before,” Joyce says. “We know what it’s like growing up. It talks about choices that people make and the consequences of those choices, so is a very valuable movie socially as well.”

 

P Allen Smith’s Garden Style
P Allen Smith’s Garden Style

While Joyce notes that TVS has been experiencing “a lot of interest” for its content from VoD players, she points out that each of the shows on its playlist are suitable for both linear and on-demand platforms.

 

“They’re totally flexible,” she says. “Our content is family-friendly, whether it’s factual, factual entertainment or current affairs, and we see it all airing on a number of different platforms.”

 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep around the world and the threat of a second wave looms, one of the biggest concerns for TVS over the next year is the challenge of finding new content that would be suitable to add to its catalogue.

 

Tales of An American Hoodrat
Tales of An American Hoodrat

“One of the hardest things for a smaller company is to find new products, and that’s always at the forefront of what we’re looking for,” says Yde.

 

“In Covid times, unfortunately, a lot of distribution ceased and a lot of producers have not been able to get back on the ground with producing new content. Fortunately, we’ve been lucky enough to find some new things of late, but it’s always a challenge for us to find good, compelling content.

 

“We look for children’s, lifestyle, sports, current affairs, documentaries, that sort of thing. We’re not into dramas, and comedies; those are not in our wheelhouse. We are very specific about what we want and want to make sure it’s good-quality family entertainment.”