Sundance Film Festival Selections 2019: What are the Odds for Documentaries?

A Sundance Film Festival award lags only behind an Oscar nomination as a measure of success for documentarians. But what are the odds that a U.S. or international documentary will earn a slot on the program? Submissions 2,649 Documentary Features were submitted to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, which opens on January 24: 767 were from the …

Lifetime’s Hit Docuseries Surviving R. Kelly Busts Through Our Netflix Fixation

Surviving R. Kelly is a timely reminder that a well-told docuseries can ignite a popular conversation, even if its not on Netflix. The three-night, six-hour Lifetime series features multiple women who say they were sexually abused by the singer.  Many of them were minors when they met the “Pied Piper of R&B”. Trailer: Audience Surviving R. …


The Rise of Netflix Increases Pressures on Producers. My Big Takeaways for 2018

Here are my key Takeaways for 2018. It was the year in which Netflix accelerated its challenge to the entire film and television eco-system, with the Amazon behemoth adding to the disruptive force of online video. 1.Channels Under Threat. Factual commissions boomed since the mid-Eighties. A tiny documentary market exploded into the global Unscripted industry …

Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends & Colleagues, It’s been a fascinating year to report on the online video tsunami that is restructuring our industry. As the New Year approaches, we often feel that Netflix and Amazon Prime in particular are changing everything, and at an accelerating rate… I hope that my analysis of the emerging ecosystem for documentary and unscripted programs helps you …

Distributing Documentaries & Non-fiction Programs. A Podcast with Ludo Dufour, Off The Fence’s MD for Sales & Copro’s

Ludo Dufour is the Managing Director, Sales & Co-Productions for OFF THE FENCE, the leading independent non-fiction specialist based in Amsterdam. We connected last June in Durban at NEWF, that super-exciting African conference linking Conservation and Filmmaking. I was taken by Ludo’s presentation on the nuts and bolts of financing and distributing quality documentaries and unscripted programs. …

Revenues Drain from the Cab/Sat Programming Ecosystem. Part 4: Cord-cutting Accelerates

Is the U.S. Cable /Satellite Channels business facing its Napster moment? That’s when a disruptive online solution (Napster) sucks the revenues out of an established business model (the CD-based retail music industry.) Cord-cutting accelerated to record levels in the 3rd Quarter, surprising industry analysts. Cord-nevers: The mainly Millennial non-cabled home is a growing segment. Cord-nevers …

Netflix, Prime & Hulu Audience Data: Comparing “The Grand Tour” with Their Hit, Binge-watched Scripted Series

Netflix and Amazon Prime famously don’t disclose their viewing data. We don’t know how many subscribers are watching documentary and unscripted programs. Or how their audience breaks down, for example by gender, age, education and income. And how do the hit, binge-watched scripted series compare with the unscripted audience on the OTT/Netflix platforms? The lack of …