Nick Bullen, one of the best-known producers of programs about the British monarchy, has launched True Royalty, a streaming service he describes as “the Netflix of royalty.” The niche service rolls out Monday in territories including the U.K. and the U.S.
Bullen produced the BAFTA-winning “The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration” and is the founder of Spun Gold, the U.K. indie that has made numerous royal specials, including the recent “Meghan Markle: An American Princess” for Fox. He has teamed with entrepreneur Gregor Angus and brand specialist Edward Mason to form ABM, the new company behind True Royalty.
After completing a funding round, the new specialty streamer has acquired about 150 hours of content at launch from the likes of All3Media and Banijay. There will be 400 to 500 hours available by the end of the first year, Bullen said. In addition to shows on the British monarchy, the lineup features documentaries and specials about other royal families around the world and through the ages.
The lineup will cover big, special-access specials by the BBC and ITV, plus series about the royals and shows looking at history, archaeology, art, and culture through a royal lens. There will also be unscripted shows such as BBC Three’s “Undercover Princes.” Some scripted fare will be added soon after launch. The first territories to get the service are the U.K. and Ireland, North America, and Australasia.
“Basically it’s Netflix for royal programs – it’s royalty on demand,” Bullen said. “From pharaohs to medieval kings to Meghan Markle, we take you across royal stories from across the world. I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great to have royal content at your fingertips whenever you wanted it?”
“Clearly at the moment the world is fascinated by the British royals,” Bullen added. “The skew and the focus is British royalty, although not just the immediate family. We found an amazing documentary about Edward and Mrs. Simpson’s lost photographs” – King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson – “or [that] go back to Victoria or Henry VII. And we also look at the [likes of] the Romanoffs and the Grimaldis.”
The wedding of Prince Harry and Markle had a global audience of almost 2 billion, including 29 million U.S. viewers. ABM is targeting the U.S. as a key market with titles that have not played there before.
Netflix’s “The Crown” is also one of the biggest drama series in the world and has spurred interest in the British royals on both sides of the Atlantic. “’The Crown’ was no accident. [Netflix] filled a huge hole in their demographics,” Angus said. “They have done us two favors: They have generated deeper interest in what goes on in royal land, and they have educated a new population about SVOD.”