The Development History of NATIVE AMERICA, a $3-4 million Signature PBS Series. A Case Study

NATIVE AMERICA is a premium PBS series that explores the world created by America’s first peoples. It describes their foundational belief systems that synthesize science and spirituality. The 4-part series captures the incredible diversity of the expressions of these beliefs across North, Central and South America. Providence Pictures’ President and Executive Producer/Director, Gary Glassman was preparing …

Facebook Watch Delivers A Half Billion Views For Factual Producer. A Podcast with Sam Barcroft

Sam Barcroft has built a pioneering production company that is successfully adapting to the new digital content universe. He describes Barcroft Media‘s strategy of servicing traditional channels, SVOD services like Netflix, and the new digital platforms like Facebook. Facebook Watch is a Winner: Barcroft is an early and enthusiastic production partner for Facebook Watch. Launched …


Off The Fence: Latest for Mipcom. Royals. Wildlife. Aerials. Science/Tech. Crime, and more

With Mipcom just around the corner, here is a sneak peek into what’s coming up for leading independent factual distributor Off The Fence. Highlights include two brand new BBC Studios series: Scotland from the Sky (3 x 60′) Victoria & Albert: The Wedding(2 x 60’/1 x 90′). To continue building on the success of the 100+ hours of Aerial shows in …

Netflix: How Its Continuous Innovation Strategy Drives Programming Decisions

A senior Netflix executive recently presented his company’s strategy of continuous innovation. It reveals how BIG DATA drives the personalization of programming decisions. It’s a very useful read for anyone who is pitching to a SVOD service. (Don’t miss my in depth coverage of Netflix and the SVOD market.) Enjoy my selection of slides from …

Low-cost Documentary Shorts Are a Revolutionary New Tool in U.S. Democratic Party Campaigns

The wave of upsets by outsider candidates in this year’s Democratic Party pre-selection battles is being fuelled by a new format: the online documentary short. These mini-documentaries tell gripping, emotional stories about the candidate’s struggles and values. The cost can be as low as $20,000: a fraction of the budget for a typical TV spot. …

“Death of a Nation” and the Rightwing Documentary Ecosystem

I have been tracking the rightwing documentary economy and its leading personalities for several years. I saw it as a lucrative sub-niche that had the potential to disrupt the largely “progressive” character of the American documentary community. Then, several of the key characters, notably Stephen K Bannon and David Bossie, emerged as significant players in …

Attend the SMASH Science Media Awards & Summit, Boston, September 25-27. Save $50!

In just two weeks, the Science Media Awards & Summit (in the) Hub (SMASH!) is slated to open. The session and speaker lineup promises a spectacular event. This three-day, biannual conference is co-produced by Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and WGBH. SMASH convenes more than 250 scientists and media makers to celebrate exceptional science media, …

Trends in How Americans View, Measure and Value Programs. A Podcast with Byron Media’s Dr John Morse

Dr John Morse heads the consumer research firm Byron Media. He is a highly-respected industry veteran with a deep specialization in viewing behavior. He describes how, until recently, we relied on well-established processes and research firms like Nielsen, COMSCORE and BARB to accurately calculate how many viewers watch a particular program, and what type of …