AIDC: Takeaways from the Australian International Documentary Conference. #1, China Sends a Message

The 2012 AIDC Conference was marked by plenty of valuable access and useful conversation.

Moving beyond the previous post where we published our ‘Flyover’ of trends in the Aussie doc market, Trilogy Films’ Dawn Porter generously shared her big impressions from Adelaide:

by Dawn Porter
Trilogy Films

1. China! China! China!

  • AIDC was the 2nd international conference (Science Congress being the 1st) where Chinese networks and production companies were out in force.
  • They brought a clear message — “China is open for business!”
  • With televisions in many hundreds of millions of those homes, and many many hours to fill, international producers would do themselves a favor by getting to know the Chinese market.
  • Interestingly English language programming is used in Chinese homes as English language practice.
  • Takeaway: I’m signing my kids up for Mandarin.

2. Other international opportunities

  • Al Jazeera’s well-attended presentation was impressive.
  • Main takeaway – with the Arab Spring still in flower, and with independent financing secure for its operations, look for Al Jazeera Documentary to continue to be an important voice both in the Arab world and in the other language territories where it is distributed.
  • Unlike China however, Al Jazeera will dub foreign language programming.

3. The one-off documentary model continues to be a hard sell

  • Much to the consternation of many local producers, there was loud and clear message from the two Australian public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS:
    • “Bring us series ideas!
    • “We can’t market one-off documentaries.
    • “And they are hard to place in the schedule … unless they are major events!”

4.  Watch out for co-pro’s

  • With the demise of the one-off documentary, co-pro’s are becoming an even more important source of funding.
  • But beware – Australians want Australian content!
  • Takeaway:  International producers would do well to find local producing partners.

About Dawn Porter

 And Read About the ‘Luckier-Than-Ever Country’

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Speaking Engagements

Asian Side of the Doc
Tokyo, March 19-22
Pitfalls and Challenges of International Copro’s
Workshops

MIPDoc
Cannes, March 30
Panel: How to Get the Funds

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