Making news count at MIPCOM

Making news count at MIPCOM

It’s the busiest time of the year for the TV industry. And our press office is no exception! Everyone wants to make an impact at market and we’ve been busy doing just that for our clients, announcing some of the biggest deals that happened at MIPCOM. Here’s what we’ve been working on:

Shellhut and Tiny Island Pictures sign record 10 feature film MOU with Shanghai Media Group’s Wingsmedia

The biggest animation film cooperation deal took place between Thailand’s Shellhut Entertainment and Singapore’s Tiny Island Productions earlier this month. Both companies signed on a 10-feature film co-production with MOU and WingsMedia, a member of Oriental Pearl Group and Shanghai Media Group. Valued at an estimated USD$250 million, this is the first ever China-Singapore-Thailand animation co-production! Following a buzzing press conference at MIPCOM, news of the deal was covered in Variety, C21, MIP Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Content Asia, Animation magazine to name but a few.

Komixx secures worldwide rights to Wattpad sensation ‘Captured’ by Kelly Anne Blount

Independent film and TV producer, Komixx Entertainment announced it has optioned the worldwide screen rights to electrifying young adult thriller novel Captured; the debut novel from award winning author Kelly Anne Blount with more than 15.6 million reads worldwide on Wattpad. Captured builds on Komixx’s reputation as a leading producer of exciting YA TV and film adaptations internationally. With the announcement featuring prominently in The Bookseller, C21, Variety and the Variety newsletter on the first day of MIPCOM – Komixx is fast becoming known as the leader in identifying content to surprise the YA generation.

Talesmith explores the history of Earth in spectacular new documentary for ZEEL and Smithsonian Channel

High-end, specialist factual production company Talesmith has been commissioned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises LTD (ZEEL) and Smithsonian Channel to produce the incredible Life of Earth: From Space and Life of Earth: The Age of Humans. A world-first collaboration between Talesmith, ZEEL and the Smithsonian Channel – this spectacular two-hour 4K/UHD feature documentary delves into the planet’s extraordinary 4.5 billion-year old history as never seen before. With coverage in the MIP Daily, Realscreen, C21, TBI, Worldscreen and TV Asia – this was one announcement making history at MIPCOM.

Smithsonian channel™ renews hit series ‘America in Color’ from Arrow Media

Arrow Media has been re-commissioned to produce six new hour-long episodes of its hit series America In Color by the Smithsonian Channel. The series, which first premiered in July, presents iconic moments in U.S. history as never seen before – using artistry, an expert colorizing team and cutting-edge technology to transform black-and-white films and photographs into vibrant 4K color. The announcement appeared in Televisual, Realscreen and C21 at an important time during the market to help Arrow make an impact.

Channel 5 orders second season of Naked Entertainment’s ‘Celebrity 100% Hotter’ 

London-based Naked Entertainment, the production company creating bold, innovative factual and entertainment programming, chose MIPCOM to announce its extreme-make-under format 100% Hotter has been commissioned by Channel 5 for a second celebrity spin-off series. Following the success of the first series, which almost doubled the broadcaster’s primetime average among 16-34 year olds, the four hour-long episodes will air in January 2018.  C21, Worldscreen and Realscreen all covered the news with enthusiasm!

TV Azteca and Keshet International join forces in scripted co-development deal for Mexico market

Keshet InternationalKeshet International announced a scripted deal to co-develop and produce a new original Spanish-language super series (60 episodes) to air on TV Azteca. The series will be developed under the KI banner and co-produced in house with TV Azteca and set to launch in 2018. Keshet International will distribute the series globally. With widespread coverage across the board in Variety, Rapid TV News, Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Worldscreen, TBI and C21 – the news comes during a period of tremendous growth for KI in Latin America.

Until next year MIPCOM…

Champions of Diversity: Franklin Rae support the Diversify TV Excellence Awards at MIPCOM

Champions of Diversity: Franklin Rae support the Diversify TV Excellence Awards at MIPCOM

At Franklin Rae, we’re passionate about championing and promoting diversity in all forms across the international TV industry. The issue is very close to our hearts. And we’re thrilled to be official partners for the inaugural Diversify TV Excellence Awards at MIPCOM in Cannes this October.

Created by Diversify TV, a pressure group co-founded by Scorpion TV Managing Director, David Cornwall; All3Media International’s Nick Smith; Little Black Book CEO, Bunmi Akintonwa; and Reed MIDEM’s Liliane Da Cruz; the Diversify TV Awards aim to recognise productions that celebrate diversity, equality and inclusion on the small screen.

And who better than Sir Lenny Henry to lend his support. An instrumental voice in raising awareness around the lack of diverse representation on and off screen. He has long been at the forefront of campaigns to make British broadcasters address issues of diversity, and this year Sir Lenny Henry will deliver a keynote address at MIPCOM to coincide with the inaugural awards.

Categories for Diversify TV Awards include scripted and non-scripted content: representation for race and ethnicity, representation of LBGTQ and representation of disability. With entries officially open to producers and production companies across the international TV industry, we’re urging others to take part! The deadline for entries is Friday 6 October at midnight BST and there’s more information available here.

With the launch announcement covered in Worldscreen and Video Age International we’re proud to be associated with Diversify TV Excellence Awards and such a powerful initiative.

See you at MIPCOM!

Is climate change the greatest story of our time?

Is climate change the greatest story of our time?

As Donald Trump looks to engineer the world in his own image and turn the planet orange, Sheffield Doc/Fest hosted the panel “Climate Change: The Greatest Story of Our Time?”. The session explored the challenges of telling the story of climate change on screen. The panel consisted of leading figures from across the factual industry, including Arrow Media’s Ash Potterton (Man Made Planet: Earth From Space, C4), Director Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Coral, Netflix), Director Julia Dahr (Thank You For The Rain), Prof Joe Smith (Open University) and Keo Film’s Will Anderson (Hugh’s War on Waste, BBC) and Sky Entertainment’s Celia Taylor.

The poisoned chalice

TV remains one of the most influential and readily accessible mediums for the public to learn about the world. And climate change represents the most significant threat to the survival of this planet. According to a recent IPSOS Mori poll, 80% of the global population now agree climate change is largely the result of human activity.

Despite the clear importance of the subject, climate change programming was previously regarded as a “poisoned chalice” among producers. Arrow’s Ash Potterton, admitted as much during the panel. But after making Man Made Planet: Earth from Space, Arrow recognised that issues with the genre’s “preachy” tone must be addressed. The challenge is to create a show which avoids the old tropes. It needs to be engaging and entertaining, with a broad appeal.

Putting the story first

This attitude shift is part of a wider trend within the production industry. Producers are beginning to explore innovative ways of making shows which tackle climate change. The UK is home to the most creative talent in the world and they’re making climate change shows people want to watch. The industry has recognised the need to put the story first and the subject second. It’s about encouraging producers to use their brilliant storytelling skills to eschew that “preachy” tone. This doesn’t mean every show is going to get it right. But it does mean key lessons are being learned about what works with an audience and what doesn’t.

Take Arrow’s Man Made Planet: Earth from Space as an example. For a supposedly unpopular genre, the ratings revealed that in the 16-24-year-old bracket viewing figures were up 73%! This was achieved by packaging the documentary as a never-before-seen perspective on how the world has changed over the past 45 years. And not solely about climate change.

Climate change is a subject which struggles with balancing small human elements with the grand central issue. It’s a problem of creating scale. With Man Made Planet: Earth from Space, the solution was bouncing from the macro (satellite time-lapse images images showing the dramatic changes caused by mankind) to the individual (plucking out personal stories about the impact climate change has had on them), in order to make it feel both epic and intimate.

Finding a platform

With SVoD, the opportunities to reach different groups of people has become even easier. Chasing Coral from Emmy Award winning director Jeff Orlowski launches on Netflix in July, and tackles the catastrophic damage of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. And whilst an exceptional film, where else would such content have found a home where it could reach so many? Orlowski spoke about how Netflix allowed them to take the film on tour to schools, colleges, universities and community centres. We all know someone with a Netflix account, so by letting Orlowski put it on a big screen, it becomes extra marketing for the platform. It also means that the message about global warming reaches a far wider audience – a win-win situation.

With Trump abandoning the Paris climate agreement, it has never been more important for the global community to tackle the single greatest threat to our existence. We’re on the right path and the TV industry is waking up to the responsibility of using its influence as storytellers to spread the message.

There’s just one last thing I’d like to leave you with; more needs to be done and not just by telling stories. It’s time to practice what is being preached. Production companies need to really think about how they can be greener. A good place to start is the albert sustainability initiative for the visual-arts; a venture set up in conjunction with BAFTA which provides guidelines and a commitment to being an eco-friendly producer. I’ll raise an ethically sourced plastic bottle of water to that!

By Xander Ross, Senior Account Executive at Franklin Rae

MIPTV: The Future of Kids TV

MIPTV: The Future of Kids TV

According to Reed Midem, 10,500 delegates descended to the Croisette in Cannes last week for MIPTV. It was definitely much quieter than recent years, but apparently, there were 800 new buyers in town. This begs the question – is it worth attending MIPTV anymore? Perhaps for indies, not so much, especially if you have a distributor on board. MIPCOM is by far the busiest market out of the two, and the “must attend” event, but with that said, there were a number of interesting takeaways from MIPTV 2017…

One of the most informative sessions of the market took place on Tuesday morning. It focused on the future of kids TV and the first half of the session saw Michael Shore, ‎VP and Head of Global Consumer Insights and Foresights at Mattel take to the stage to discuss the future of play.

New age content

According to Michael, the time kids spend watching content has shifted from traditional TV: whilst 59% of time is still spent watching TV, 41% of time is spent on other devices, for example tablets, video game systems and smartphones. The types of content kids watch is also changing substantially. A survey conducted amongst kids aged 3-12 revealed that 69% like to watch full-length TV episodes, 53% like to watch movies and 55% like to watch videos on the internet – this is up by 13%.

It is fair to say that the likes of Netflix and YouTube are defining content for new platforms. For example, on tablets and smartphones alike the majority of kids like to watch YouTube videos over Netflix content, whereas Netflix’s content still dominates TV screens when compared to YouTube videos and traditional programming/live TV.

This new-age content has shaped programming genres quite a bit. Nowadays kids are hooked on watching more user generated content, unboxing videos (video content that captures the unpacking of new products, i.e. new toys, consumer tech, etc… Crazy, I know!), tutorials, videos of other kids playing games, speed drawing, speed gaming, sports/esports and wait for it… jump scares (literally videos that make you jump and scream).

The way kids consume content is changing

So, how do indies keep up with these rapidly changing trends when it comes to creating kids content? This is where Hopster Founder and CEO, Nick Walters and Dan’l Hewitt, VP Non-Linear Programming at The Walt Disney Company came in.

Dan’l stated that within weeks of a child growing older, their interests and the way they consume content changes and they migrate to new content at an increasingly fast pace. In an attempt to keep up and really appeal to varying age groups, The Walt Disney Company works with talent that has the right influence, to stitch content together and create playlists for each creator, ultimately building brand franchises. Mattel is also identifying new ways to stay on trend. A couple of years ago, the company introduced the beloved Barbie as a vlogger. That’s right. Watch out Zoella and Tanya Burr. Barbie officially joined the 21st century by setting up her own YouTube channel in 2015, to share snippets of life in her dreamy Malibu Beach house.

Mattel also recently announced its new Hello Barbie Hologram. Now, at age 58, Barbie is a hologram. The bright pink box contains an animated projection of Barbie, which responds to voice commands. Bring her to life by saying “Hello Barbie” and you can then ask her all kinds of questions, such as “What is the weather going to be like in Malibu tomorrow?” It combines motion-capture animation with Amazon Echo-style voice interactions, and will be available to purchase later this year.

Talking directly to audiences

Nick from Hopster also touched on working with brands and influencers to produce content that is more relevant for kids. Over the years, Nick and his team have fostered great relationships with the likes of eOne, DreamWorks and Millimages to bring some of the best kids content to Hopster, including Peppa Pig, Postman Pat, Noddy and Louie. Nick and the team have also created a platform that lends itself nicely to non-traditional content, which would not potentially work on linear platforms; from music videos and games, to short form content like Punky for example. Punky is a kids animation about a little girl who has Down Syndrome, which teaches kids how to interact with family and that, most importantly, being different is OK.

Unlike linear channels or the likes of YouTube, SVoD platforms such as Hopster can talk directly to their audiences and achieve a much deeper level of engagement with kids – especially if they are based on a subscription model. With over 1.5 million parents subscribed to Hopster all over the world, you could argue that it is the perfect home for long and short form preschool content, that will not only entertain kids, but will help them learn through the stories they love too.

So although MIPTV might have been quieter than last year and the year before that, it definitely presented a good showcase of true trendsetters, who are helping to shape the future of content and more importantly, are willing to impart their insight and wisdom for others to embrace.

 

By Shereene Witter, Senior Account Director at Franklin Rae.

So You Want to Make a Successful Panel Show?

So You Want to Make a Successful Panel Show?

Last night the Franklin Rae team took a trip down to The Hospital Club for the very first Turn On, Tune In event of the year, with some of the industry’s most respected programme makers.

We were treated to a talk from panel show producer Matt Nida, whose production credits include Big Fat Quiz of the Year, 8 out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie To You. Over the course of the evening, Matt let us in on a few secrets and tips on the tricky art of making a panel show – here’s what we learnt…

It’s point-less

In most successful panel shows the points system doesn’t really mean anything at all! Instead, the competitive element of the format offers a starting point for chat across the panel.

All about chemistry

A successful panel show should feel like the audience is a fly on the wall at a really great dinner party – chemistry and debate between the panelists is also essential.

Simply does it

It’s a mistake to think a panel show can be based on anything, or that an intricate and unique twist is a sure-fire way to make a hit. In fact, keeping the format of the show simple is often most effective in allowing the jokes to flow.

Stand Out

Producers are always on the hunt for creative ways to get panelists out from behind their desks or stands – but only if there is a clear reason and/or it’s funny.

Inside Access

Sometimes the best technique is to build rounds or questions around anecdotes and stories that guests have to offer. So research, research, research! Thoroughly researched chats can often provide comedy gold.

All in all it was an enlightening and informative evening, and we’re looking forward to the next one!

By Chloe Lawrance, Junior Account Executive at Franklin Rae.

Specialist Factual in an Era of Alternative Fact

Specialist Factual in an Era of Alternative Fact

Last week we attended a breakfast event at BAFTA with a number of the specialist factual commissioners from the BBC, Sky, Nat Geo and Channel 4.

Despite an early start the David Lean room was full capacity, with filmmakers and production company’s all looking for insight into the latest trends and what’s on the commissioners radars.

A key take away across the panel was ‘authenticity of experience’, something which in an era of ‘alternative fact’ and ‘fake news’ Tom McDonald, Head Of Specialist Factual commissioning for the BBC, said is imperative. Authentic portrayal is something specialist factual programming must provide.

Conversation also touched on the ever changing digital world and what this would mean for the genre. Many on the panel agreed that the traditional 30’ and 60’ minute format is becoming increasingly old fashioned. With VoD and SVoD becoming more and more the first port of call for viewers, the commissioners said there was a greater flexibility for filmmakers to make engaging content that could be 15’ or 90’ minutes in length. Short form has definitely become more popular in recent years, especially for people on the go i.e. commuters, and younger audiences who traditionally take to YouTube for a quick fix. So there are ample opportunities to make specialist factual more accessible for these audiences.

Snow Leopard – India – Planet Earth II

Moderated by media-veteran and journalist, John Plunkett it was a fascinating morning listening to key figures from a genre that is still riding on the crest of the wave of successful recent hits such as Planet Earth II, The Secret Life of 4/5/6 year olds and 24 Hours in A&E. Specialist factual is a genre that we are confident can create informative, entertaining and must see programming.

By Michael Goward, Account Executive at Franklin Rae.