Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Commissioning Process

How do channels commission new factual programs?

How to Pitch and Sell Your Project to a Network. Case Study: A&E, Part 1/3

An “Insider’s Guide” To How Factual Television Channels Develop and Commission Programs  (Part 1/3) By Erin Essenmacher This Silverdocs presentation featured A&E’s director of Development Stephen Harris and was moderated by’s Peter Hamilton.   Harris and Hamilton originally presented at the Silverdocs Conference on June 23, 2010.  They did a reprise the following day as part of […]

The Preferred Producer System: Credit for Credits / ‘Preferred’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Forever’!

Our friends called in with two important insights into the networks’ ‘preferred producer’ system. 1. Line of Credit We missed a big motivating factor for why networks work with preferred vendors: Access to Credit Networks used to pay producers 45+/- days provided that the contracts/ invoices/ workflows/ omens were all aligned Payment terms have since slipped.  And slipped.

Preferred Vendors: Multiple Commissions / Multiple Networks. Why?

This week, we ask three questions: Which producers are getting the repeat commissions? Who gets commissions from multiple U.S. networks? And why? The Data We created lists of producers who earned commissions for new and returning programs from Discovery Networks, including the digi-nets, as well as AETN and Nat Geo Channels. Our sources were: Upfront press

Netflix 2024: What You Need To Know Now!

Payday for Snooki & The Sitch – What Do MTV’s Reality Stars Earn?

Here’s a teaser for our upcoming analysis of MTV’s ‘Sweet Spots’. Who’s Snooki? Who’s watching? What does payday look like for the Jersey Shore ensemble? What are industry insiders saying about Jersey Shore? So Who Is Snooki? If you live happily outside the popular culture, get refreshed by reading: Cathy Horyn’s snooty ‘Snooki’s Time’ in The New York

Oprah’s Documentary Club: The Red Carpet for Julia, Forest, Goldie, Gabriel & Mariel

“Oprah’s Documentary Club – Is it a Game-changer?” We asked that question in our May 12 post, when we examined: OWN’s partnership with ro*co productions to acquire ‘cinematic documentaries that can inspire and entertain’ The anticipated license fees, and how they compare with other networks The acquisitions process And we flagged the potentially huge impact

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network’s Documentary Club – Is it a Game-changer?

The Oprah Winfrey Book Club changed book publishing. Will her documentary club do the same for feature documentaries? We continue our ‘early days’ examination of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, with a 1st look at OWN’s documentary film club. We look at: OWN’s acquisitions process for documentaries. The anticipated license fees. And the potential impact

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How Nat Geo Channel Commissions Programs. Case Study: Nat Geo Explorer

This week we go deeper into the development and production process for National Geographic Channel (NGC), including a look at Explorer specials produced by National Geographic Television (NGT). The ‘Sweet Spot’ Last week, we described NGC’s flexible commissioning model that mixes: Coproductions with NGC-International (70% +/-) Coproductions with other partners, and Work-for-hire projects. Many of you

How Do A&E and Bio Networks Develop New Programs?

This week’s topic: How do networks develop and green light new programs? Our case study is the A&E and Bio pair of channels. The program development process is a huge and complex topic. Each year, hundreds of channels worldwide commission thousands of factual entertainment programs at a cost of several $U.S. billions. Commissioning practices differ