There is no common co-production model when it comes to international drama, said panelists at MIPCOM.
“I I wish. it was. That’s our struggle now: to find a model that makes everyone happy,” Fremantle’s Christian Vesper said.
“It all starts with the passion of the writer or creator, who wants to make the show right, and the fan base. Let’s face it, everyone is a streamer now,” said Lisa Perrin, ITV Studios.
“The budget is getting tighter but expectations are high. There will be different funding models, outside money coming in. Private equity money, that can complicate things.
However, private equity coming into the series “could be exciting,” added Matt Broadley of Improv Product.
“That’s the indie film model. Without private equity, you wouldn’t have Sundance, just get hyped over and over again. We have it anyway.”
As budgets change, so do tastes.
“One moment it’s a thriller and six months later it’s a romcom. It’s hard to know what everyone wants and who they are,” Vesper observed.
“We’ve all had the experience of working with an executive for a year, drafting him to his top team, and then he disappears or changes. It happens more often than before. But there are still new players.
In a difficult market, you have to develop projects that you pay attention to, says Anke Stoll at Keshet International, the series “diamonds” offered by Netflix and Belgium’s VRT.
“[Belgium production company] De Manson came to us five years ago. We felt this cachet DNA fitted. We brought in two Israeli writers and developed them together, saying that the director is an Israeli. I am very proud.”
As more countries offer tax breaks, it makes a difference to the budget. But as seen by Perrin, funding is expected to be a “patchwork quilt”. It might make things more difficult with editorial, though.
“You’re taking too many notes that don’t agree with each other. But that’s how you contribute to these things,” she says, reimagining “Django,” Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western created for Sky and Canal+ and premiering at the Rome Film Fest.
“It was filmed in Romania for tax credits, it was filmed in English. We want to make more of these but they are complicated to put together.
“You can’t sell a factory-type product,” Vesper said.
“Some of our creators, like Sorrentino or Guadagnino, don’t care what we think when they make television. Our job is to work with networks that protect this artist’s vision.
And “no matter where good stories come from,” the show should first have more influence in its home state.
“That’s what buyers want. The fact that it has global appeal and reach is often the sauce,” Broadley said.
On the road to recovery after the epidemic
Ahead of the panel, Omdia’s Tim Westcott took an in-depth look at the pandemic’s impact on TV production.
In the year Broadcast ad revenue fell 10% worldwide in 2020, following a 6% decline in 2019. Latin America was said to be the hardest hit region, with advertising revenues down by a third. Still, a recovery has been seen in 2021, and is expected to continue.
2020 was the year that online video subscriptions surpassed pay TV.
“It was a trend that was happening before, but it was accelerated,” he said.
While there are more pay TV households than SVOD households, 43% will have both by 2027, Omdia predicted.
Two of the top 20 television producers have increased revenue in 2021. One of the two that hasn’t is The Walt Disney Company.
“We think it’s because they started Disney+ and sold their content to third parties,” Westcott said.
France’s Banijay Group becomes the largest producer outside the US with the Endemol Shine deal. While TV production is still a fragmented business, “the big teams are getting bigger,” with Disney, no. 1, eight times larger than BBC Studios. 10.
France’s Gaumont pioneered the development process. Its TV division saw a 178% increase in sales, mainly due to Netflix commissions. South Korea’s JTBC also emerged as a player, as Korean content became popular internationally.
The growth in earnings reflects a recovery in commissions, as well as a resurgence in mergers and acquisitions. Omdia completed 61 M&A deals in 2018. Followed by 2022. France replaced the UK. As a very active buyer, building Banjai, Newen and Asacha networks. Amazon’s $8.5 billion takeover of MGM Studios has been called the biggest deal yet. Also, scripted distributors expect an increase in the number of express channel buyers over the next 12 months.
While Netflix is facing negative investor sentiment after reporting a drop in subscribers, its strategy to invest in exclusive content has paid off. Netflix originals have taken an ever-increasing share of viewership. According to PlumResearch, 17 of the 20 most-watched shows worldwide are originals like “Stranger Things.”
Omdia estimates that Netflix invested nearly $15 billion in content last year, more than its competitors in the entire television industry except for the US.