Factual Production in the Age of the Coronavirus

As New York City moved into Coronavirus shutdown this weekend, I wondered about the effects of the increasingly restrictive response to the epidemic on program production and delivery schedules. NBA Started It When the NBA cancelled its season, most of the world’s leading Sports franchises followed. Next came Late Night Talk shows with their live …

Coronavirus: The Economic Impact of Lost Markets & Festivals. Workarounds for Producers

The impact on the documentary economy of cancelled markets and events due to Coronavirus precautions is serious. A helpful approach to understanding this loss is to recap what’s involved in the distribution of fine, one-off documentaries in a typical season. This process was captured in my very useful post with Windrose‘s Pauline Mazenod. Read: How …


Killer Virus: Case Studies of co-productions on the AIDS & Ebola epidemics

The challenges of covering the Coronavirus pandemic are anticipated in two of my Case Studies: Rise of the Killer Virus and In Ebola’s Wake. HIV / AIDS: The Rise of the Killer Virus is a scientific detective story. It traces the pre-history of HIV back to the moment of its origination in Africa around 1908. Key …

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 …

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 …

How documentary story-telling is changing in the Netflix Era, and what it means for producers. A podcast with StoryCentric’s Ed Hersh

How is non-fiction storytelling evolving in the age of Netflix? I talk with Ed Hersh of consultancy StoryCentric about his work with producers and channels. His focus is on how Netflix and a host of new Direct-to-Consumer subscription platforms are challenging the storytelling conventions that once dominated in the Linear/Cable/Satellite era. You’ll hear about: Program …

Documentaries in the Streaming Era: 2020 predictions, Apple TV+’s The Elephant Queen, and much more in our Monthly News Highlights

Here are our top stories for December ’19, curated with our friends at Sunny Side of the Doc. Losing Yves Jeanneau: Read a selection of tributes to Yves Jeanneau, Sunny Side of the Doc co-founder, executive director and our friend, who passed away on November 14 // Sunny Side’s Official Announcement // Peter Hamilton // Realscreen // TV France International // Telerama and many more. Development …