The business of making and distributing television shows is more complex than ever at a time when there have never been more broadcasters wanting premium video content for their various platforms.
A major player servicing both the global TV market, and also the BBC, is BBC Studios. The major selling event each year for that content is the BBC Showcase held in Liverpool every February.
Buyers wanting content for their television stations, subscription channels and on demand platforms converge on the Liverpool conference centre on The Mersey to watch content in a sea of viewing booths in the basement, hear from producers and talent from key properties about to hit the market in special presentations, and to be dazzled at the two evening Showcase events usually themed around some of the company’s major projects.
This year those projects were Unlock Your Imagination (Dr Who and The Watch on Monday night with a special performance from Mark Ronson) and then Our One in a Billion Planet (Tuesday).
BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie explained to his guests at one of the evening extravaganzas: “If you want to know the BBC Studios strategy, we are Bold, British and Creative [BBC], but more than anything we make hits. We make things that people remember and that’s what it is all about. We are a business that is going well, and we are having a great year. But it is all about partnerships. This company has been through incredible change in the past few years and our success is all down to partnerships with people here tonight.”
Included amongst the 600-700 hundred buyers jostling to secure the hottest shows from BBC Studios and its production partners were representatives from the major Australian broadcasters including some of the market’s astute dealmakers – Stan’s Les Sampson, Foxtel’s Alison Burns and SBS’s Marshall Heald – together with other buyers from Nine, 10, ABC and SBS.Looking after BBC Studios buyers are teams of sales staff from around the world including Asia Pacific, now under the guidance of APAC executive vice president Jon Penn, plus executives from the Australian business including ANZ general manager Fiona Lang, head of content sales and co-production ANZ Deborah Tod and director of branded services ANZ Tim Christlieb.
The dazzling array of product on offer this year ranges the full gamut from natural history (A Perfect Planet), comedy (Stephen Merchant in The Offenders, Will Arnett in The First Team), drama (The North Water from Australia’s See-Saw Films, A Suitable Boy from director Mira Nair and writer Andrew Davies) and factual entertainment (Top Gear).
Mediaweek visited BBC Showcase in partnership with BBC Studios.
Top Photo: Stephen Merchant from The Offenders