In one of this week’s Intl. TV Newswires, DR, a classic European drama series producer, announces its plans for 2019 and competing with major international streamers; the U.K. government implements its plan to promote growth in kids TV; Banijay and Clearwood team up, unveiling a new series from “A Very English Scandal” author John Preston; and All3Media joins with MIPCancun on a new format pitching competition for Latin American content creators.
DR’S AMBITIOUS LOCAL CONTENT PLAN, NEW SERIES
Danish public broadcaster DR has announced an evolved drama strategy, and a host of accompanying programs. The objective of the plan is to load up on high-end local content as a means of competing with the global streamers moving in on the territory.
It’s been just over a year since Christian Rank took over as drama director at the company, and he will spearhead the task of developing and implementing the strategy. The approach is an often-emulated, three pronged strategy which aims at weak spots that major international streamers sometimes miss.
One: Focus on programming which creates a strong cultural impact. This is an area where DR has excelled in the past. The network has a catalog loaded with locally-produced content that has made just such an impact, both domestically and abroad. Think “The Killing,” “Borgen” and “The Bridge.”
Two: Co-produce with neighboring countries which share similar sensibilities and audience taste. The idea is to increase shows reach without having to include a major foreign partner, and mitigate risk between producers.
Three: Target younger audiences. Under the new directive, DR says it will produce four to five series per year dedicated to YA audiences, and at least that many for children aged 9 to 14.
New dramas set to launch over the next 12 months include “Peace on Land,” from creators Christian Torpe and Marie Østerbye who wrote together on “Rita”; “When the Dust has Settled,” from Ida Maria Rydén and Oscar-nominated writer Dorthe Warnø Høgh (“Grisen”); “Family Case” from Maja Jul Larsen (“Borgen,” “The Legacy”) and short-format YA series “Doggystyle.”
WOODY ALLEN SHOOT HIGHLIGHTS MEDIAPRO GROWTH
Woody Allen will begin shooting his next film this July in Spain’s Basque Country and other Spanish locations ,Jaume Roures, Mediapro co-founder, confirmed at a Madrid presentation of The Mediapro Studio on Wednesday. He declined to give any more details. Allen’s production, although a banner title, forms just part of a huge rollout of film and especially TV drama series at The Mediapro studio, which has 200 titles in development, stages of production or already released, said fellow Mediapro co-founder Tatxo Benet. Three new titles were teased in a video promo. More news is likely to come at MipTV and the LA Screenings.
YOUNG AUDIENCES CONTENT FUND LAUNCHES IN U.K.
First announced in October, the U.K.’s Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), a government grant scheme dedicated to creating new TV programming for young audiences, launched this week and is now accepting applications. Backed by the British Film Institute and headed by former BBC Children’s executive Jackie Edwards, the fund was established with the aim of halting a decline in children’s TV programming seen on British public broadcasters over the last decade-plus. That’s a big ask, £57 million ($75 million) has been earmarked to open new paths for creators to find their way onto the market, and stimulate greater variety in the types of content being produced.
BANIJAY PARTNERS WITH CLEARWOOD
Banijay’s distribution wing Banijay Rights, has entered into a first-look deal with U.K. independent production company Clearwood Films. The two companies will work together on developing and producing series for the U.K. and international broadcasters and platforms. Clearwood was founded by Ellie Wood, who has previously worked on hit shows “Bleak House” and “Decline and Fall.” The first series produced under the arrangement will be “Stonehouse,” based on an idea from “A Very English Scandal” author John Preston. The idea comes from the true-life tale of politician John Stonehouse, who fakes his death to run away with his secretary.
MIP CANCUN AND ALL3MEDIA LAUNCH CALL FOR NEW FORMATS
2019 marks the 6th MipCancun, one of Latin America’s most important TV markets. This year the event will host a new Formats Pitching Competition in association with U.K.-based sales and distribution outfit All3Media. The call for entries is now open, and the winning pitch will receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as individual coaching to aid in the development of the format. The initiative is aimed specifically at Latin American creators of original content, five of whom will be selected to pitch at November’s MIP Cancun. Having already supported similar competitions at MipTV and Asia TV Forum, this will be the first time All3Media has done so in Latin America.