What do TV companies want?

Television commissioners from Europe and a couple of Asian networks revealed their current desires for programmes this week in the latest MIPCOM publication TOP DRAMA BUYERS 2014. Here I will attempt to provide some insights into what these comments from the people who buy for our television networks, mean for those of us who create content. At first it all looks very predictable. The top two genres on almost everyone’s list are crime and period dramas., with Sci-Fi and Comedy a close second. Add to this the dominant desire for mini-series, even ahead of long-running series, and you start to see the pattern which has been created by the major successes internationally over the last few years.

The ongoing impact of HBO series, and the move of major US film talent to television has made US series still dominate buyers minds. However, the success of Scandinavian drama (The Killing, Wallander), Isreali (Homeland) and UK (New Sherlock,Downtown Abbey) has clearly opened up the market to non-US programmimg. This is good news for those aiming to write distinctive, darker thriller/crime based material, developing a period drama with contemporary resonance through either soap/romance angles or Sci-Fi with action and thriller overtones. However, comedy remains solidly in the sit-com realm for most buyers apart from Comedy Central – who just want “Comedy.Comedy, Comedy” in any form.

At Mip-Com the market is dominated by finished programmes but a few channels – especially the newer entrants e.g. SVOD, VOD, and online multi-channel networks e.g Microsoft and Canal+ are very open to early stage proposals, and the only ones seriously looking to mobile and web series. This diversity of channels is probably the most heartening aspect of this buyers’ guide. It shows that the future, while still at the moment dominated by the established broadcasters with their well established audience profiles e.g. “late afternoon”, also contains content hungry new players who need to work with non-established talent to build audiences, and fill their niche channels with creative content.

This niche issue is one which applies to all TV channels though. All programmes have specific audiences and time slots. As a result the buyers stated they really appreciated people who had done their research, knew what the channel was about, and saw how the programme they were pitching might fit, and where, in the company’s schedules. So though diversity is also reflected in the way people wanted to be approached from a trailer plus first episode to a simple “A meets B’ pitch, the need for research as to who might like your idea, after you have developed it, is crucial to saving time, and looking professional.

For the guide go to http://www.my-mip.com/en/resource-centre/white-papers/what-do-drama-buyers-want/?utm_source=clnr&utm_medium=md_emailing&utm_campaign=Mipcom2014_TVTrends_6_Novembre

All the best with you online series/serial ideas.

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