YouTube: Billions in Revenues Expand Documentary Commissions. Netflix’s Audience Share

YouTube’s 15th Birthday:  A Growing  Industry Power-house. For months, I’ve been hearing about YouTube commissions for documentaries and specials. Very respectable US and UK producers are the beneficiaries. Generous budgets are in the $750,000 – $1.5 million range. Topics have included the youth-targeted categories of pop culture and music celebrity bio-docs. YouTube’s head of Originals, Susanne Daniels …


Discovery Inc Cuts into the Bone

Discovery Inc. is in the midst of laying off hundreds of employees. A radical headcount reduction is central to Discovery’s current campaign to eliminate $US hundreds of millions in costs in 2020. I hear that the layoffs and other cuts affect all of the company’s activities, from corporate to programming, and from new hires to …

Ira Deutchman: A legendary distributor on the changing economics of theatrical campaigns in the Streaming Era. Podcast

Ira Deutchman has been honored by the industry for his work since 1975 at the cutting edge of theatrical distribution for indie films. He is currently an independent producer, marketing consultant and professor at Columbia University. His documentary feature, “Searching for Mr. Rugoff” premiered at the 2019 DOC NYC festival. We discuss how the economics …

UK Documentary Ratings: The Top 100 for 2019. Takeaways on Natural History, True Crime and Brexit

It’s always a pleasure to share the UK’s highest-rated documentary and unscripted programs for the past year. My ratings snapshot for 2019 is comprised of: The Top 50 in the combined Documentary and Lifestyle / Hobbies category. My Takeaways. Then #51-100. I concluded with the Top 25 Current Affairs programs because there is some overlap …

Tugg Bankruptcy: Letter from CEO & Co-founder Pablo Gonzalez

The collapse into bankruptcy of theatrical distributor Tugg is a blow to independent filmmakers. Following is the letter from Tugg’s CEO written, I believe, on January 29, 2020. Letter from Pablo Gonzalez, CEO, Co-founder Tugg Dear filmmakers and colleagues, This is a follow up to the too brief of a message sent yesterday which was …

PGA’s Outstanding Producer Award for APOLLO Signals Boom-time for the Documentary Genre

The 2020 PGA Awards broadcast the industry’s acceptance of the booming documentary category as a peer with even the most popular, binge-worthy scripted series. There was a surprise winner in the PGA’s prestigious Outstanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures category It was 1895 Films for Apollo: Missions to the Moon. APOLLO’s competitors were four …

Sundance’s Bank-busting Economics: $862,500,000 spent on documentaries that miss the cut

A Sundance campaign is a license to lose money. Lots of it! Here’s why: Let’s assume that the average production cost of all 1,774 Sundance submissions for 2020 is $500,000. Actual budgets range from around $200,000 up to $5+ million. $500K is a conservative average for a feature, according to D-Word‘s Doug Block. Production Cost: 1,725 …