Naples-set young adult series “The Sea Beyond,” which depicts the world of a juvenile jail in the crime-ridden Italian city, is scoring a slew of international sales prompted by its phenomenal ratings on pubcaster RAI.
Germany’s Beta Film, which is selling the show about kids behind bars produced by Rome-based Picomedia and RAI Fiction, has inked deals with WarnerMedia Latin America for HBO Max, Sweden’s free-to-air channel TV4, cabler HOT for Israel, and streamer Blu TV in Turkey.
The deals mark a rare case of an Italian young adult series traveling abroad.
Set in a youth detention center overlooking the bay of Naples, “The Sea Beyond” depicts a world populated by kids apparently without hope, “given that they mostly belong to [the Camorra] organized crime syndicate that Naples is known for,” said Picomedia chief Roberto Sessa, who added that the show also has “all the color and vitality of that city.”
Instead, “It’s like the flip side of ‘Gomorrah’ in that it gives a sense of hope,” Sessa noted, because “there is light at the end of the tunnel for these kids.”
Sessa also pointed out that they took some poetic license by making the youth penitentiary a place for both men and women who get to interact “with all the relationships and passions that stem from this.”
The jail warden is a woman named Paola Vinci, played by Carolina Crescentini (“Bastards of Pizzofalcone”).
Directed by Carmine Elia, Milena Cocozza, and Ivan Silvestrini, “The Sea Beyond” is now at its second season which debuted on RAI in mid-November 2021 both on the pubcaster’s linear RAI 2 channel and on its RAI Play streaming platform.
It has become a minor phenomenon in Italy because it’s the first show that proved a healthy co-existence between linear and streaming play.
“Given that it’s a young adult series and kids today are completely outside linear TV,” says Sessa, “we decided to give the show both linear and platform play. This has generated amazing traffic on RAI Play where traffic has grown ten-fold between the first and second seasons, currently reaching more than 26 million views in roughly two months, which reps roughly 18% of total RAI Play traffic and currently makes it the country’s most streamed show. Two thirds of RAI Play viewers are aged under 45, which is far below RAI’s average demographic these days.”
These numbers have sparked interest from the international marketplace.
The third season of “The Sea Beyond” will start shooting in Naples in the spring with plans to be ready for play in the fall.