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 …


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 …

GREAT INVENTIONS: The development, production & distribution of a 35-episode Science series. A Podcast with ZDF Enterprises’ Nikolas Hülbusch & WMR’s Alan Griffiths

About the Series: A special quality that attracted me to cover GREAT INVENTIONS in my  newsletter and podcast is that this 35-episode series was developed and funded by the distributor, ZDF ENTERPRISES without the typical building block of a financial commitment from a key buyer, usually a major network. ZDF Enterprises invested heavily in the …

Sunny Side Cyber Week Sale

The ZDF Enterprises / Off The Fence Panel at MIPDoc with Terra Mater’s Walter Koehler

My highlight for MIPDoc 2019 was moderating the panel with ZDF Enterprises’ Ralf Rueckauer and Off The Fence CEO Ellen Windemuth. The topic was ZDF-E’s acquisition of OTF, the leading independent factual distributor. OTF also celebrated its 25th anniversary at Cannes. We explored the parties’ motivations for the acquisition at this time of great change …

Off The Fence: Independent Distributor Celebrates 25th Anniversary in Cannes. A Podcast with CEO Ellen Windemuth

Ellen Windemuth launched OFF THE FENCE from her basement 25 years ago. In this week’s podcast, Ellen: Looks back at her company’s launch. Reflects on the particular challenges then for women in a male-dominated industry. Explores how Off The Fence grew into an industry-leading independent distributor / producer with a turnover of around $20 million. Describes her …

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 …