Are we ready for a Netflix for Sports?

Are we ready for a Netflix for Sports?

Being a sports fan is an expensive habit. Ticket prices for games are sky high – WRU tickets recently tipped the £100 mark for the first time in the organisation’s history. So, it’s not surprising most of us will prefer to tune in at home to indulge our habits. There has never been more choice for viewers and the amount of sport being broadcast is the best it’s ever been.

 

As a women in sport, I couldn’t be more excited to see how accessible hockey has become on TV in the past few years following Olympic success. Not to mention being able to watch the thrilling England Netball Commonwealth campaign from the comfort of iPlayer last month.

Streaming rights

Sports broadcasting is a complicated landscape however. With streaming rights for certain leagues often split across multiple broadcasters – these days you need a Sky Sports subscription to watch the Premier League, BT Sport to watch the Aviva Premiership and Amazon Prime if you want to watch the NFL. And that’s not even taking some of the more obscure platforms into consideration. My Netball Live subscription is the best £13 investment I’ve made this year – and currently the only option in the UK for watching the professional Suncorp Super Netball from Australia.

‘Netflix for Sports’

There’s no one size fits all subscription package for the ultimate sport fan. Consumers have been crying out for a ‘Netflix for Sports’ for a long time, and there’s a very good reason it’s yet to materialise. Sport is a prolific business, and the cost for live streaming rights is at a premium. The Premier League is the biggest prize in British sport broadcasting, and Sky recently signed a £3.6bn deal to air the majority of the games for the next 3 seasons.

When you consider Netflix paid a record £100m in production costs for the first series of global drama The Crown – it puts the cost of multiple sport rights in context. Sky paid a golden sum for the Premier League, and it’s still not an exclusive deal.

Digital giants

That’s not to say sport isn’t attracting the big tech players. Amazon recently paid a reported $50million for the rights to stream 11 NFL games this season. A package the digital giant managed to win over rival Twitter. And niche markets such as esports have long been reaching their audiences through digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitch.

There are exciting ripples of movement over the pond towards a ‘Netflix for Sports’ format, from the likes of ESPN and CBS. I for one am interested to see how the pay-per-game format of Turner’s Bleacher Report Live will pay off, as it brings together a variety of sports under one model.

Content sharing

But much has to be said about the impact of multiple broadcasting packages from leagues in all this. Live TV broadcast, digital streaming rights, highlight packages, near-live broadcast and goal-clips for the same league are all being sold separately. As a result, there’s so much more content than ever before being auctioned to the highest bidder.

With Sky Sports and BT recently reaching a content-sharing agreement on the Premier League, there appears to be some level of consolidation of rights. So while we might not be ready for an all-encompassing ‘Netflix for Sport’ just yet – change may just be on the horizon.

By Abi Williams, Account Manager, Franklin Rae

The Press Room: Kim Carr, Freelance

The Press Room: Kim Carr, Freelance

Freelance Entertainment Editor, Kim Carr (left!), writes about TV and Showbiz for national newspapers including The Sun and Daily Mirror. This month she tells us about some of her favourite stories of the moment.

What are you writing about at the moment?

I interviewed Strictly’s Aston Merrygold last week, who is now out on a solo music tour before joining up with fellow dancing stars Harry Judd and Louis Smith in theatre show Rip It Up. It’s nice to see the former JLS member getting a second stab at solo success with his single Get Stupid getting a second lease of life now it’s soundtracking the new Samsung Galaxy TV advert.

What are the headlines everyone’s talking about at the moment?

We’re enjoying the return of Britain’s Got Talent but the Ant McPartlin situation still rumbles on and is generating a lot of heat among TV fans on both sides of the industry. On a personal note, I am still reeling about the death of Timmy Matley, The Overtones singer who was thought to be recovering from skin cancer and looked well when performing on Jane McDonald’s Channel 5 show recently. He was only 36 and a lovely man.

What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

As a freelancer being asked which publication you’re covering an event or interview for in advance can be annoying, because these days commissions often don’t come until after you can offer quotes to a publication. PRs should consider that having a freelancer at an event or doing an interview offers them the opportunity to reach more than one publication because we can usually share out content to multiple outlets. We take up one space and can deliver lots of content – what’s not to like about that?

What are you watching at the moment?

I’m watching the final series of Nashville with sadness that it’s coming to an end, but also relieved as it feels like it’s done its time. It’s making me want to return to Music City to enjoy the amazing Southern cooking and hospitality of the people but I’ll have to make do with seeing some of the cast live at the 02 Arena in London instead.

The Press Room: Andy Fry, Freelance

This month, we speak to veteran TV journalist Andy Fry ahead of MIPTV to hear what everyone’s talking about in the build up to market.

What are you writing about at the moment?

At the moment I’m mainly writing about subjects related to MIPTV in Cannes. But, being freelance means I have to spread my net quite widely so I’ve also been doing stuff in areas like travel, sponsorship and sports marketing. There’s much more of a sense these days that you need to be writing reports, moderating, consulting and so on to make a living.

What are the headlines everyone’s talking about at the moment?

The issue of female representation on screen is a big story right now. There’s lots of interesting looking dramas that have strong female characters, though still some work to be done with getting women into writing and directing roles. Drama, as always, is also a big talking point – especially with the launch of the new Cannes Series event which will showcase great non-English drama from around the world. Broadcast has also got me doing an interesting piece about entertainment programming based on a round table discussion – definitely a feeling there that drama is being paid too much attention by the trade media and critics.

What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

The two extremes; 1) organisations that don’t engage at all because they don’t think they need the media. Generally in my experience that leads to problems for them in the long run. 2) Organisations that micromanage the process – questions up front, lots of PR execs involved, requests to see copy, questions about who else is being interviewed. It takes forever and makes you dread dealing with them again in future. But, don’t get me wrong good PRs are amazingly useful.

What are you watching at the moment?

Save Me on Sky, which is really good. I love Lennie James and hope he goes on to win some awards. I’m juggling it with Born To Kill (C4 drama last year) and just finished Peaky Blinders series 4, which was brilliantly back on form after a slightly wayward series 3. Jack Thorne’s Kiri was thought-provoking and for a lighter mood I am watching The Durrells with my wife, which immediately gets me looking at travel websites. I occasionally get sucked into First Dates by my wife and daughters. My son and I tore through the exceptional Silicon Valley and are now bonding over Mr Robot.

The Best TV Moments of 2017

The Best TV Moments of 2017

Christmas is the perfect time of year to look back and reflect on what’s made some of the best TV moments of 2017. There’s been plenty of highlights across all genres in the past 12 months, and the FR team have picked out their favourites. See if you agree with their choices!

Big Little Lies

Sky Atlantic – March 2017

Melanie Webb, Senior Account Director: “I am a sucker for a good TV drama. So, I absolutely loved this series and the grand finale was one of the best hours of television I’ve ever seen. The climax was teased from the very first episode, and part of the intrigue of this series was trying to solve the mystery (before it happened). The series worked back to front, which was a clever narrative tactic. The whole scene was shown in complete silence which not only made it so much more powerful, but was testament to the incredible acting and direction. I can’t wait to see what the second series brings.”

British & Irish Lions

Sky Sports – August 2017

Abi Williams, Account Manager: “It takes something special for me to get out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning. But, I was committed to getting up and watching all three test matches for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand this summer. And the commitment certainly paid off. After a disappointing start, the last two games made for some of the most entertaining TV of the Summer. I have to confess to watching the last 5 minutes of the final test behind a cushion. Now I can look forward to opening the DVD of the behind the scenes documentary in my stocking at Christmas, and reliving the whole thing again.”

Icarus

Netflix – August 2017

Xander Ross, Junior Account Manager: “Icarus has one of the most unexpected and dramatic shifts in narrative in a documentary I’ve ever seen. Bryan Fogel, filmmaker and amateur cyclist decided to see how doping would improve his performance in competition, whilst seeing how easy it was to avoid detection. In one heart pounding scene, Fogel’s contact Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov has to escape Russia following threats to his life from the state. I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether he would make it or not. It’s not often a documentary has done that so powerfully for me.”

Have I Got News For You

BBC One – November 2017

Sarah Walker, Corporate Communications and Marketing: “My best TV moment of 2017 has to be when the irrepressible and forthright Jo Brand slapped down the Have I Got News For You all male panel, when they appeared to make light of the sexual harassment claims in Westminster during the height of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Her rebuke rightly touched a nerve and garnered cheers and applause from the audience. It must one of the few times in the show’s history that both Paul Merton and Ian Hislop – and their partners in crime journalist Quentin Letts and actor Miles Jupp – have been rendered speechless. Go Jo!”

Peaky Blinders

BBC Two – November 2017

Eve Edmunds, Account Executive: “The return of Peaky Blinders was long overdue and the perfect way to settle into the long winter ahead. Dark, gritty, grey and yet somehow incredibly glamorous, this series so far has been packed with the perfect dose of drama. Tommy Shelby is the star of the show as he attempts to reconcile with his family in the face of his greatest threat. In this series, the subplot of political turmoil also provides a really interesting historical backdrop to the internal drama. Never has the idea of being a 1920s Brummie gangster been so appealing.”

2017 in summary

Leigh Turnbull, Managing Director: “Despite everything going on in the world this year, we have thankfully had some pretty outstanding TV to distract us. We’ve been spoiled by incredible dramas, both returning series and brand new productions. Favourite moments for me included Olenna Tyrell’s final speech in Game of Thrones, Balaclava Man’s reveal in Line of Duty, the return of Victoria, the finale of Broadchurch, finally getting justice for Barb, everything about Catastrophe, and Tom Hardy being Tom Hardy in Taboo.  New dramas to hit our screen and offer some incredible TV also included Three Girls, The Handmaid’s Tale, Mindhunter, Big Little Lies, Broken and Fearless to name but a few.

Not forgetting, we’ve also been treated to some summer fun in Love Island, Stanley Johnson negotiating his way through the jungle, Strictly shock eliminations, thought-provoking storylines from the soaps and the unveiling of a history-making Doctor.  As I said to the team, it’s too difficult to pick just one of these but if I really have to pick my favourite TV moment, it might just have to be this…

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy telly-watching!

The Making of an International Drama

The Making of an International Drama

This time every year London plays host to the international drama industry. Producers, broadcasters and commissioners from around the world come together to do business and discuss what makes great TV at C21’s International Drama Summit. So what are the challenges facing international drama producers?

During an in-depth panel about TV drama development, Jill Green, Chief Executive at Eleventh Hour Films said:

“The perfect partnership for a co-production doesn’t come along very often. The challenge for indies [like us] is making that partnership work on an international scale.”

Judging from the audience’s reaction, it’s a sentiment felt industry-wide.

This week, we had the pleasure of announcing an exciting international development and distribution deal between Eleventh Hour Films and Sony Pictures Television International Production. A UK and US collaboration that tells a story from British history, set on a US air base, it ticks all the right boxes for an international partnership.

Rendlesham is a compelling and emotional family drama inspired by the real-life UFO incident which took place at a US air base close to the village of Rendlesham, Suffolk in 1980. The series plays out against the height of the Cold War, exploring themes which resonate stronger than ever today.

With award-winning writer and director Joe Ahearne confirmed to helm the show – it also goes to show that great talent is key to making great international drama come to life.

The Rendlesham announcement coincided with the opening day of the Drama Summit, and was received with applause during sessions featuring Sony’s Wayne Garvey and Eleventh Hour Film’s Jill Green. With a full sweep of coverage across the board in Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Broadcast, C21 and Worldscreen – the news has made an impact for Eleventh Hour at a key time in the industry calendar.

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…