Recent years have seen a strengthening in the market for bigger-budget drama that can serve as event programming for broadcasters. Red Arrow Intl. is in the vanguard of that trend, with high-profile shows like “Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot,” “100 Code” and “Bosch.”
“If you have a well-known cast, a great writer and showrunner, a program is on the road to becoming a successful event program,” says Irina Ignatiew, who heads the company alongside fellow managing director Henrik Pabst.
The market has benefited from the entry of streaming services like Netflix, which licensed “Lilyhammer,” and Amazon, which commissioned “Bosch.” “The opportunities to create high-quality stories and formats are better than ever,” says Pabst. “Since those new services are particularly reliant on attractive content in order to entice new subscribers, they are prepared to come up with serious budgets and are willing to invest in high-quality productions.”
The rise of non-linear services, both pure streaming operators like Netflix and Amazon, and the ancillary services offered by traditional free and pay TV operators, has allowed new forms of drama to take root. In the crime genre, for example, with shows like “100 Code” and “Bosch,” more time can be devoted to character and more complicated plotlines.
“The market has changed,” says Ignatiew. “Theatrical talent is moving more and more into television, enabling us to tell stories in a more thorough and creative way. Procedurals with closed storylines don’t allow for much character development, and now through serialization we are able to take a more cinematic approach to the storytelling.”
Comedy can offer a challenge for distributors, but dramedies can be very popular, and have offered a rich vein for Red Arrow Intl. to mine. Steven van Zandt starrer “Lilyhammer,” which has sold to more than 150 territories, provides a telling example.
“Every country has its own sense of humor; therefore, a broad and universal appeal is key to its success,” Ignatiew
says. “With ‘Lilyhammer,’ this works very well, and Steve van Zandt’s hilarious fish-out-of-water performance makes it must-see TV.”