As buyers flock to Los Angeles for the May Screenings, TBI speaks with key players about what’s on their 2014 shopping list.
Which channels are you buying for?
We are buying mainly for Universal Channel, Syfy, 13th Street and Diva. Our other brands across the region – Studio Universal, Telemundo, E! and Style – don’t currently carry a lot of US, English-language scripted content.
What slots are there for US shows on your channel(s)?
We premiere and promote our US shows in primetime, which stretches from 8 to 10 pm, depending on the territory.
We have a limited number of output deals and we work with the majority of the big US Studios, but also pick up shows from independent distributors, too. Our acquisitions strategy depends on the needs of each specific territory.
We will be looking for action, procedural and relationship dramas that appeal to a broad, mainstream audience.
How closely do you track series in advance?
The trend is now on a year-round development calendar; from cable original programming to Network shows, we track series all year long.
The shows with a strong element of procedural and close-ended episodes tend to work better for our pay-TV channels. We like to use established series like Law & Order: SVU, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist or Grey’s Anatomy to launch and promote new titles.
A recognisable cast is also important to promote a new show and drive local press coverage.
From the last couple of slates we’ve picked up, among other titles, Arrow, Chicago Fire and Perception.
Does it change the acquisitions process when many shows are going straight to series and getting announced early?
It doesn’t change our acquisitions strategy – which is based on local needs and budget; however, it definitely helps our financial and schedule planning, by giving us more visibility.
We can show series as quickly as 24 hours later for English-speaking territories such as Africa; 10 days for territories where we subtitle, as in The Netherlands; and, approximately four weeks after where we voiceover or dub, such as in Eastern Europe. While we prioritise a quick turnaround, it all comes down to when the distributor is willing and able to release material.
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