Who are the documentary buyers? What do they want? How many? Deal highlights and more

Twelve documentary buyers and producers reveal what drives their decisions. Each commissioner is driven by a particular strategy, pipeline and budget ‘sweet spot’. Each producer describes a unique path from concept through funding and production to distribution. Since 2010, the mission of my Documentary Business newsletter has been to reveal how these individual production pathways …


How the channels are responding to the rise of the streamers. A podcast with Dan Salerno

How are the channels responding to the rise of Netflix and the streamers? They’re launching their own streamers like NBC and Peacock, providing their brand and content, like Nat Geo to Disney +, or maybe just getting caught in the headlights. Dan Salerno is deeply specialized in documentary and unscripted programming, and together we pull …

Sports viewers are leaving the channels. Why? What it means for the Documentary Economy

Sports ratings in the U.S. are in sharp decline. Why? What does it mean for the Documentary/Unscripted sector? What’s driving Sports viewing? Some industry analysts blame Covid: Empty stands take away the noise, the fan reaction shots and fan storylines that both energize games and deepen the viewer’s emotional engagement. Many fan-free top-flight games in …

SNAP: The paths to mobile video success that Quibi missed

While Quibi collapsed, its key mobile video competitor SNAP showed what could have been. Snap started as a user-generated mobile content and social media venture. The target: Gen Z and millennials. Camera technology is at the center of its value prop. Watch the SNAP promo. Video Strategy: Snap expanded beyond user-generated content Its free Discover …

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Quibi: Collapse was in its DNA!

Quibi was destined to fail. I was sure of that when I first read the presser announcing the business plan. There must be deep psychological reasons why retirement-age industry titans can even begin to fantasize about succeeding in mobile video — a medium that targets 10-20 yo’s with goofy dance videos shot in their Covid …

BBC STORYVILLE: Mandy Chang guides her legendary documentary strand through COVID turbulence. Our panel at virtual CCDF-CNEX

Mandy Chang, commissioning editor BBC-STORYVILLE recently joined my panel at Taiwan’s virtual CCDF-CNEX Documentary Conference. In this post, we recap Mandy’s valuable insights into the legendary STORYVILLE stand, and the impact of COVID on the BBC’s documentary commissioning process. Our fellow expert panelists were: Hong Kong-based, Phoenix TV exec Haibo Huang And from Washington DC, veteran …

Humboldt: Epic Explorer – A €600,000 Drama Doc from ZDFE, Spiegel TV, Arte and Smithsonian Networks. A Case Study

Humboldt: Epic Explorer is a historical dramatized documentary about the scientist Alexander von Humboldt and his pioneering work in South America. The project was sparked by Andrea Wulf’s best-selling biography, and developed by veteran producer Tilman Remme. It was successfully pitched to European and American commissioning editors at the Science Producers’ Congress 2018 in Stockholm. by …