Beta Film Drives Into YA Scripted (EXCLUSIVE)

BERLIN — Germany’s Beta Film is driving into Young Adult scripted, acquiring international distribution rights and co-financing four high-profile fiction series, three set up at top European regional SVOD players: Germany’s Joyn and Telekom and Scandinavia’s  Viaplay.

Many also involve top European production houses as well. To be unveiled at the Berlinale Series Market’s German Showcase on Monday, the four storyline “Echos,” in which four witless upper-class socialites discover an underworld beneath Munich, is produced by “8 Days’” Neuesuper for Joyn, the new Discovery/ProSieben SVOD joint venture.

Set to air on Viaplay, and a pop graphic novel-style high-school gore fest that is sparking large word-of-mouth. “Cryptid” is a passion project of Patrick Nebout at Dramacorp, a part-owned Beta Film company whose credits include “Agent Hamilton” and “Midnight Sun.”

“YA series can take traditional elements and play with them, or rework them in different formats, creating something new,” said Beta Film’s Moritz Kruedener, arguing that “we haven’t seen so many supernatural series for young adults in recent years.”

Billed as “‘Lord of the Flies’ meets ‘Skam,’” “Wild Republic,” which has young offenders creating a new republic in the high Alps, is produced by Lailaps and “Babylon Berlin’s” X Filme for Telekom.

The fourth Beta Film series, the “Sea Beyond,” now in post-production for Italy’s RAI, is a tale of teen friendship and first love set at a Naples Bay juvenile detention center whose violence is shocking, given the youth of its practitioners and victim. It will be showcased at March 29’s MipDrama Buyers Summit.

The series are “about a group of young people who are given a second chance in life, or at least to break out from a rather protected and maybe boring lives of normal young audience today,” said Kruedener.

Beta Films is also handling international distribution of “All-Round Champion,” an unscripted sports series for young teens, based on a format from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, which originated “Skam.”

Beta Film’s drive into YA scripted comes as Netflix has made a large impact in Europe and beyond with YA Netflix Originals such as “La Casa de Papel,” “Elite” and “Dark.”

Across the board, from public broadcasters to burgeoning OTT operations, Europe’s industry recognizes the need to attract YA  demographies, which have often turned their back on free-to-air TV and traditional pay TV players.

“It is really a very crucial point [for broadcasters] to find out that they haven’t lost young audiences on television, that really with the right show, and the right way of production, it’s possible to bring them back,” said Kruedener.

He went on to cite two cases of Beta Film-sold shows which saw YA audiences return to established players in Germany: “The Red Band Society,” remade for RTL’s Vox, and a German version of “Skam,” shown on non-linear ARD  and ZDF and now on to Season 5.

The widespread demand for YA shows “does not imply a complete shift by platforms to courting young audiences,” but rather “a move to cover the broadest audience possible, which in a way is very similar to traditional linear television,” Kruedener observed.

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