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 …


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 …

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 …

Sunny Side Cyber Week Sale

News Roundup: BBC’s new vision meets hardcore opposition, and more…

Story of the Month BBC VISION MEETS FIERCE OPPOSITION BBC VISION: new director Tim Davie shares strategy // Worldscreen BBC BESIEGED: Under relentless fire from rightwing // London Review of Books GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS: Key to BBC’s future // TBI Vision BBC CHAIR: Ultra-conservative candidate is knocked // Deadline DISCOURS INAUGURAL choc pour le boss de la BBC …

The Making of Netflix’s Hit Wildlife Documentary: MY OCTOPUS TEACHER

I’m pleased to write that My Octopus Teacher, just released by Netflix, went immediately on to my All-time Favorite Wildlife Documentaries list. Trailer https://youtu.be/3s0LTDhqe5A (copy/paste link). My Octopus Teacher is built on the foundations of any successful doc: Huge Characters, human and cephalopod. Unique Access. Risk… to life and limbs. Then there’s more: The original …