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LA Screenings 2014: Brian Walsh, Foxtel

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

Brian Walsh1

Brian Walsh, director of programmes, Foxtel

What are your expectations for the 2014 Screenings?

I am expecting that this will be the biggest screenings in many years and that we will see an enormous amount of new scripted drama, given the global demand for content and the explosion of new delivery platforms. Everyone is after quality scripted content.

 

How closely do you track series in advance?

Our London and L.A. reps keep us posted on emerging trends across both sides of the Atlantic and clearly we’re keen to see those titles which are generating the buzz. I try not to get immersed on reading pages and pages of what pilots may or may not get picked up. I am more intrigued by tracking network commentary about timeslot challenges. For me, that better informs what the big four are thinking and where the opportunities may sit.

 

ChicagoFireWhat are the notable US hits on Foxtel, do certain types of US show resonate with your viewers?

The big hits for Foxtel are the signature HBO properties such as Game Of Thrones of course [and other cable series] The Walking Dead, House Of Cards, Bates Motel and Falling Skies. From the networks it would be shows such as Chicago Fire, Pretty Little Liars and the charming Hart Of Dixie.

I think as Australian commercial networks become less reliant on studio product it gives us more autonomy with our selections

What did you pick up last year, have you acquired anything recently?

Last year we picked up all of HBO’S big-ticket titles and they have worked really well for us. We also cut a deal with CBS for Showtime product such as Penny Dreadful, which we expect to do well. We recently acquired Helix and Outlander from Sony and Orange is the New Black [from Lionsgate].

 

penny-dreadfulWhat slots are there for US shows on your channels?

On channels such as Showcase and Soho, which are pure drama channels, we have ample slots. Our flagship channel for younger demos is Fox8 and we carry all the strong Fox and Warner content in prime time on this service.

 

Helix - PilotWith which distributors do you have existing programming deals?

HBO, BBC Worldwide, 21ST Century Fox, AETN, Disney, CBS, Warner Bros., Sony and NBCUniversal.

 

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

Yes, it’s more effective for planning purposes and I think as Australian commercial networks become less reliant on studio product; it gives us more autonomy with our selections.

 

LA SCREENINGS 2014 BUYER PROFILES

Marcus Ammon, senior VP, programming, Sky Deutschland

Catherine Mackin, director of programme acquisitions, UKTV

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

Jacinto Roca, CEO and co-founder, Wuaki.tv

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