Killer Virus: Case Studies of co-productions on the AIDS & Ebola epidemics

The challenges of covering the Coronavirus pandemic are anticipated in two of my Case Studies: Rise of the Killer Virus and In Ebola’s Wake. HIV / AIDS: The Rise of the Killer Virus is a scientific detective story. It traces the pre-history of HIV back to the moment of its origination in Africa around 1908. Key …

Canadian Factual Production in the Streaming Era: 2020 Outlook & Trends with Stephen Ellis. Podcast

How is Canada’s documentary sector navigating the Netflix Era? I turned to Stephen Ellis who I first met in the ‘Eighties when he was a high-volume program supplier to my client, the fledgling Discovery Channel. Stephen was CEO of Ellis Entertainment which he sold in 2011 after 47 years in the business. He is now …


YouTube: Billions in Revenues Expand Documentary Commissions. Netflix’s Audience Share

YouTube’s 15th Birthday:  A Growing  Industry Power-house. For months, I’ve been hearing about YouTube commissions for documentaries and specials. Very respectable US and UK producers are the beneficiaries. Generous budgets are in the $750,000 – $1.5 million range. Topics have included the youth-targeted categories of pop culture and music celebrity bio-docs. YouTube’s head of Originals, Susanne Daniels …

Discovery Inc Cuts into the Bone

Discovery Inc. is in the midst of laying off hundreds of employees. A radical headcount reduction is central to Discovery’s current campaign to eliminate $US hundreds of millions in costs in 2020. I hear that the layoffs and other cuts affect all of the company’s activities, from corporate to programming, and from new hires to …

Ira Deutchman: A legendary distributor on the changing economics of theatrical campaigns in the Streaming Era. Podcast

Ira Deutchman has been honored by the industry for his work since 1975 at the cutting edge of theatrical distribution for indie films. He is currently an independent producer, marketing consultant and professor at Columbia University. His documentary feature, “Searching for Mr. Rugoff” premiered at the 2019 DOC NYC festival. We discuss how the economics …

UK Documentary Ratings: The Top 100 for 2019. Takeaways on Natural History, True Crime and Brexit

It’s always a pleasure to share the UK’s highest-rated documentary and unscripted programs for the past year. My ratings snapshot for 2019 is comprised of: The Top 50 in the combined Documentary and Lifestyle / Hobbies category. My Takeaways. Then #51-100. I concluded with the Top 25 Current Affairs programs because there is some overlap …

Tugg Bankruptcy: Letter from CEO & Co-founder Pablo Gonzalez

The collapse into bankruptcy of theatrical distributor Tugg is a blow to independent filmmakers. Following is the letter from Tugg’s CEO written, I believe, on January 29, 2020. Letter from Pablo Gonzalez, CEO, Co-founder Tugg Dear filmmakers and colleagues, This is a follow up to the too brief of a message sent yesterday which was …