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Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

About Documentary Business

“Quite frankly, Peter Hamilton is the smartest guy there is about the
whole business of unscripted television.”
Paley Center for Media, New York

“Documentary Business is indispensible for network buyers and producers.”

‘No single website contains more information about license fees than Documentary Business.”

International Copro Keynote Panel at Sunny Side of the Doc 

Welcome to Documentary Business, since 2010 your free guide to the ever-changing business of unscripted television.

I’m Peter Hamilton. Born in Melbourne, based in New York, and serving clients worldwide.

Whenever I spoke at industry conferences like Real Screen, attendees lined up to express their thanks that someone was giving them ‘the hard facts’. Their gratitude evolved into the mission of this blog.


TEDx Traverse City MI

Most multi-billion dollar markets – and that is the scale of today’s Factual niche worldwide – enjoy professional analysts who report on commercial practices and trends.

Our sector has lacked that kind of service to date. I’m working to fill the gap, one post at a time.

Documentary Business relies on my database, collected during 30+ years of service to clients in our industry, and updated almost daily in conversations with friends who are producers, network executives and experts. We also rely on a variety of publications, conference proceedings, and so on.

We almost never break news stories. Our editorial tone is always respectful of the professionals who work in an intensely competitive industry.


My initial focus was on U.S. networks and platforms:

  • Their development processes for Documentary and Reality programs
  • Budget ‘sweet spots’ for commissions in various genres and formats
  • Analysis of their slates of new series and specials
  • Their preferred producers. I then expanded to publish Case Studies that carried lessons for producers and channels.

Why Free?

So why am I giving away such valuable information in Documentary Business?

  • Because it is my experience that sharing information in the digital economy expands networks and creates opportunities.
  • These include consulting and speaking engagements, sales of special studies, sponsorships, and so on.

What Next?

We don’t know where this effort is leading, but one thing is for sure –- Documentary Business has made headway because we offer a service that throws light on the business of our booming business..

Peter Hamilton
New York


  1. Really great. All the info on network exec will ever talk about at conferences but the nitty gritty stuff everyone wants to and needs to know.

  2. Melissa Goddard

    Thank you so much Peter for taking the time to do this. The information provided is priceless! Sending you lots of good karma!

  3. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  4. As a Freelance DP/Cameraman that Shoots Documentary and Reality TV, I find it invaluable to have a site like yours that gives me a better insight in the Business end – rather just from my perspective of the creative end.

  5. At first I thought the email I got was going to be either spam or another “partner ad” from someone. SOOOO glad I didn’t delete and instead checked out your sites. This is EXACTLY the information I need at EXACTLY the time I need it. So thorough, so true and so helpful. Thank you!

  6. Hi Peter,

    Congratulations on a great site!

    Helpful, informative and topical……

    I am fascinated with doc filmmaking and this is a great resource.

    Thanks and enjoy the rest of your summer,


  7. Hi Peter, love the blog, very useful! Do you think you could add a search function so the site could be searched for keywords (like BBC, or Argentina, for example).
    Great work!

  8. Hi Peter,
    Congratulations on this great initiative. It took a Melbourne lad with the imagination to do it. Fantastic.
    As an independent factual/documentary producer based in the NSW’s Hunter Valley, just keeping on top of the all of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in the last five years can be a full-time job in itself.
    And given the pressure to create that high-quality content that is both entertaining and engaging plus appeals to a broad audience to make it economic sense to do it in the first place, your blog will form part of my daily reading.
    Look forward to reading more….all the best
    Greg – Newcastle, Australia

  9. the previous comments are right on target

    the internet sea brought me to your shore looking for information on live music shows shot on studio (not a thoroughly researched topic it seems) for my PhD thesis

    just thought I let you know that starting today you have a new dedicated follower in the NW of spain

    thanx for sharing!!!

    carlos [galicia / spain]

  10. Peter,

    Thank you for your very frank and to the point information about an industry that I am working hard to break into. I am more in-tuned with generating pitch packages (vs. producing) and now feel as though I have an inside view that will help me create a realistic methodology to success.

    Walt Marcy

Comments are closed.