STOCKHOLM — Crime series, especially quality ones from the U.K., are as hot as ever for the Nordic buyers — while reality shows, especially the ones labeled as “mean,” are no longer in vogue.
The one series mentioned by buyers in every Nordic country is Britain’s “The Midsomer Murders.” The producer who comes up with a series of similar quality and subject matter can expect a bidding war from virtually every Nordic TV buyer.
Most Scandis are not expecting to find any surprises at Mip (in contrast to sometimes unexpected results at the L.A. Screenings). Instead, they come well prepared, know what is offered and have the meetings already booked in advance.
When it comes to fiction, the buyers from NRK watch every genre but are particularly looking for good crime series, preferably of the traditional British model like “Midsomer.” Romantic comedies are also hot.
NRK has several channels: NRK1 is the channel looking for traditional product, while NRK3 is the young channel looking for more edgy programming. NRK2 is dependent on good docus, and buyers are looking for everything from long docu series to one-shots.
The buyers from Finnish state TV YLE are looking for fiction, especially drama, but also comedy and light entertainment. YLE has a volume agreement with HBO, BBC and Granada, and with four channels, there is a need for lots of product. High-level docus are something YLE always has a need for. Reality shows? Not so much; they leave those to commercial channels.
With several channels keyed at different target groups, the buyers from MTV3 find the acquisition process interesting and challenging. For instance, the main channel, MTV3, needs big event shows and wide audience drama, such as “House” and “Prison Break.” Channel Sub needs edgy product like “Life on Mars” and “Skins” as well as reality shows like “Project Runway” and “Top Chef.”
The company also has launched profile channels, including outlets aimed at men, at women and at kids. This means careful programming and getting to know the target audience and its taste.
With all its channels, pubcaster TV4 has a great demand for new movies, series and docs (including sports docs). “The Dog Whisperer” has been a great success, and TV4 reps are now looking for something similar, as well as other lifestyle products.
What doesn’t work anymore are reality shows with a mean streak. What’s strong instead is reality with a feel-good message.
Having already taken a sneak peek at what’s happening at the big production companies, the SvT buyers are hoping to be surprised by product from the smaller ones. They are especially eager to find high-quality miniseries from countries like France and Germany as well as good primetime drama and crime series. In addition, they’re seeking topnotch comedies but think they are scarce.
Examples of programming that is very popular at SvT are U.S. series “Without a Trace” and the U.K.’s “Midsomer Murders” and “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.” Latter is no longer produced, and as it has been a big hit for SvT, buyers are now on the lookout for a suitable replacement.
As for reality shows, the attitude is that if they are good and make people happy, why not?
RUV is looking for basically everything except game and reality shows. Knowing pretty well in advance what the big production companies have to offer, there are generally no surprises, and the meetings are booked in advance. RUV has a volume deal with Disney and works together with the BBC.
Good crime stories — like “Midsomer Murders” and Scandi series “Beck,” “Wallander” and “The Eagle” — and good comedies are always of great interest but hard to come by. RUV is also on the lookout for good docus series and specials as well as kids programs.
Features and new series are on the target list for DR. The big successes of the past years are U.K. fare like “The Midsomer Murders,” “Taggart” and “Waking the Dead,” and DR buyers also are looking for good comedy, noting Aussie “The Wedge” and British program “Green Wing” as examples. Many current U.S. series on DR, like “Californication,” get good reviews but disappointing ratings.