LA Screenings 2014: Marcus Ammon, Sky Deutschland

As buyers flock to Los Angeles for the May Screenings, TBI speaks with key players about what’s on their 2014 shopping list.


Marcus Ammon, senior VP, programming, Sky Deutschland


Which channel or channels are you buying for?

“Sky Atlantic – The Home of HBO” (available in SD and HD) is our main channel for series. Most of the content on Sky Atlantic is also available on-demand via our innovative services Sky Go and Sky Anytime (on Sky Anytime via the Sky+ HD box or on Sky Go online or on their iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Xbox 360).


Have you acquired anything from the studios recently?

Our latest acquisition, 24: Live Another Day by Fox has triggered much interest by German media. Sky Deutschland broadcast the series with original English voices parallel to the US launch. We also succeeded in airing the German dubbed version in addition to the English original version only one day after the broadcast in the US.


24-Live-Another-Day-keyart-LRHow soon to the US air date can you typically show series?

We air the original version of most US shows in sync with the US air date via Sky Go and one day later via Sky Anytime. The dubbed version usually follows via our linear channel as well as via our on-demand services as soon as we can get it from the dubbing house.


What slots are there for US shows on your channels?

We mainly feature US shows on our series channel Sky Atlantic such as 24: Live another Day and House of Cards. The channel’s line up is complemented by European series such as Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders from the UK or Death of a Pilgrim from Sweden.

I am particularly excited about the way in which the great success achieved by cable shows has changed storytelling, even in the context of network shows


game-of-thrones-1600What are your expectation for the 2014 Screenings?

I am particularly excited about the way in which the great success achieved by cable shows has changed storytelling, even in the context of network shows. Has it become more horizontal? Have the characters become more complex? Are boundaries being overstepped? I generally look forward to series t feature sophisticated characters and provide high-quality entertainment while inspiring the audience to think.


How closely do you track series in advance?

Thanks to the movie deals we have with all studios and the long-term business relations we maintain with indies, we exchange ideas with all relevant licensors on a regular basis. And of course, we inform ourselves about current productions of TV series and exciting new projects.


House of Cards newWhat are the notable US hits on your channel(s), do certain types of US show resonate with your viewers?

Sky Atlantic represents the ‘new golden age’ of television, which everybody is currently talking about. We are the home of high-class series. Of course, the media and our viewers respond best to hit series such as Game of Thrones, True Detective and House of Cards – how could it be any different?


Does it change the acquisitions process when many shows are going straight to series and getting announced early?

Being given the opportunity of screening a pilot episode prior to an acquisition certainly gives you a better feeling about it. However, this is not always indispensable. For example, if we think that a project matches our vision perfectly, we contact the producers and/or licensors very early on.



Catherine Mackin, director of programme acquisitions, UKTV

Chrystele Fremaux, vice president, programming, emerging markets, Universal Networks International

Jacinto Roca, CEO and co-founder,

Brian Walsh, director of programmes, Foxtel

Guðrún Helga Jónasdóttir, head of programme acquisitions, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service – RUV