Quibi: $1 Billion for Short-form Content. Watch the Pitch. Why I Think It’s a Long Shot. Lessons from CBS Cable, Discovery and China’s TikTok

Quibi is showing up in my conversations as an active buyer that is outbidding legacy networks. The ‘Quibi’ brand name does not refer to a Vietnamese appetizer: It is short for ‘quick bites.’ Funded by Disney, Alibaba, Comcast and others, it is a video streaming venture run by corporate heavyweights Meg Whitman (CEO) and Jeffrey …

Sundance: Buyers Bid $20 Million as the Feature Documentary Category Booms

The feature documentary is booming. That’s the message from Sundance 2019. Reported bids for rights approach $20 million. Topping the list is Knock Down the House, the Sundance Audience Award winner that captures the run for Congress in 2018 of the “AOC” superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The SVOD giant reportedly bid $10 million for worldwide rights. That’s …

Getting Real at Realscreen: A Podcast with Michael Hoff, Veteran Producer

In this week’s podcast, veteran unscripted producer Michael Hoff shares his Takeaways on the Realscreen Summit. Realscreen was held in New Orleans for the first time this year. Michael is President & Executive Producer of Hoff Productions. Key Takeaways include: Michael says that network executives are regaining their footing after enduring the recent hard impacts of …

Sundance Takeaways: A Podcast with Peter Broderick, Veteran Distribution Strategist

Peter Broderick has just returned from the Sundance Film Festival. The quality of both the films and the deal-making in the Documentary category made a big impression on this veteran distribution strategist. Peter shares his Sundance Takeaways, including: 10-12 docs were at the “phenomenal” quality level; The impact of Netflix on the growing audience for …

Royal Wedding & Better Baking: Best British Factual, 2018. The Top 200

The “Best of British” is one of my more popular posts. I list the year’s highest-rated unscripted programs, usually to honor UK producers in time for their PACT party at Realscreen. For a different look at 2018, I combined the Documentary, Factual, Lifestyle & Current Affairs categories, showing the best single episode for series. It’s …

Sundance and the Single Documentary Economy: The $1.3 Billion Cost of Missing Out

The documentary niche has remarkable financial scale, as measured by the films seeking selection at Sundance. Let’s assume that the average production cost of all 2,649 Sundance submissions for 2019 is $500,000. Actual budgets range from around $200,000 up to $5+ million. $500K is a conservative average. Production Cost: 2,600 documentaries were “Not Accepted” in 2019. The …