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Programming Profile

Entering the international Zone


Mélanie Ratté of Quebec prodco Zone3 tells C21 the company is putting global growth top of its 2022 agenda, starting with its first trip to Content London later this month.


Next year will be the year Zone3 really makes its mark on the international market. That’s the plan, says Mélanie Ratté, senior director of international distribution and business development at the Montreal-based prodco.


“We’ve already been there for a while,” she continues. “Our scripted format Like-Moi! created by Marc Brunet has been adapted in France and Germany, and another of Brunet’s comedy series Le Coeur a ses raisons has been sold in France, among others. But only recently have we genuinely committed to international expansion in terms of time, effort and investment. Speaking of Marc Brunet, we are currently developing his next comedy series with Radio-Canada, which we hope will resonate internationally.”


Mélanie Ratté, Zone3

Ratté points to the company’s current slate of scripted properties and its “under exploited” library titles – both scripted and unscripted – that the company will be pushing forward. “We intend to be more present than ever in the main markets throughout 2022 and the coming years,” she adds.


That slate of titles in production includes six-part investigation drama Motel Paradis, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Sophie Deraspe (Antigone, Bête noire), which is due to launch on Québecor-owned SVoD service Club Illico during winter 2023; and eight-part period drama Le monde de Gabrielle Roy, about the poverty-stricken childhood of the eponymous French Canadian author in 1940s Manitoba. The latter show is coproduced with Productions Rivard and will launch on pubcaster Radio-Canada’s SVoD service TOU.TV in December 2021, with a second season currently in development.


“We are also very excited by two recent commissions for scripted youth series that have yet to be announced. One is a 65-part series for four- to seven-year-olds and the other is a 10-part shortform comedy series targeting tweens,” says Ratté.


Teodore Without The H
Teodore Without The H

Some of those “under exploited” library titles include TOU.TV teen drama Les Petits Rois (aka Entitled), which was recently licensed in France; Gémeaux-winning mystery anthology Patrick Senécal Presents, the second season of which is currently streaming on Club Illico; eight-part criminal procedural dramedy Edgar, which streams on Bell Media’s Crave and was recently sold to Polar+ in France; and Teodore Without the H, a shortform dramedy series on Télé-Québec targeting young adults that has already seen two successful seasons.


Other recent sales from the back catalogue include 13-part drama Tu m’aimes-tu?, which aired on Quebec pubcaster SRC in 2014, being picked up by Globi.TV, a US-based worldwide AVoD platform that is set to launch this month.


On the factual front, Zone3 has Plastic Surgery: Reconstructing Life, a 10-part series following four world-renowned Canadian plastic surgeons, one of which is Dr Daniel Borsuk, who performed the first Canadian face transplant. The show airs on Moi & Cie and TVA, and Ratté has high hopes for a second season.


Tu m'aimes-tu?
Tu m’aimes-tu?

By targeting international growth for 2022, Zone3 is looking to capitalise on burgeoning demand for Quebecois content on the global market, but also exploring new ways of telling stories due to that demand. “The growing appetite for content is pushing us to develop bolder, more diverse, distinctive and impactful stories than ever,” says Ratté.


“We’ve always been widely known for our creativity and strength in storytelling as well as in execution, but the current international demand is particularly stimulating. We feel there is no limit to what story we can tell; that everything has now become possible. We also feel that international buyers are more open to French-language content than ever, which is very exciting. We strongly believe Québecois content has a lot of potential.”


Meanwhile, despite the events of the past 18 months, such as the lockdown and production freeze, Zone3 has actually increased its production pipeline, and it isn’t limiting itself to just Québecois content, explains Ratté.


Plastic Surgery: Reconstructing Life
Plastic Surgery: Reconstructing Life

“Year after year we have approximately 40 series in production across all genres,” she says. “Our content strategy hasn’t changed dramatically with the pandemic but we do now develop and produce more scripted content, including English-language projects, while keeping a strong slate of unscripted shows.


“Although international buyers and commissioners are more open than ever to non-English-language content, English remains the main segue into the international market. We are, therefore, starting to expand in that area.”


Hence the company’s first outing to Content London at the end of this month. “For the past two or three years, we have put scripted content at the top of our priorities, and it’s paying off,” Ratté says. “We want to send out the message that we have a great slate of scripted projects both in development and production – come and meet us at Content London!”

More programming profiles

  • 16-11-2022

    Mélanie Ratté, senior director of international distribution and business development at Zone3, talks through the Montreal company’s development slate and priorities for its return to Content London.


    Can you give us a brief outline of your company and its activities?
    Zone3 is one of the leading television production companies in both Quebec and Canada. We create international content and brands across all genres: fiction series, factual, variety, documentary, reality TV, gameshows and youth programmes. We also adapt international hit formats for the Quebec and Canadian markets.


    We produce an annual average of 350 hours of content for most Quebec and Canadian broadcasters. We produce mainly in French, but we are increasing our production slate in English. We also own Cinémaginaire, the Oscar-winning production company behind The Barbarian Invasions.