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Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

2011’s Noisiest Moments from / Big Discount for History Conference

Which of our posts generated the biggest little buzz this year?

In no particular order, here they are:


How to Mess Up a Pitch. And Not!! MTV veteran Sohini Das shares her 5 rules for a network pitch meeting.  Read here…

The Shaky State of the Single Doc Economy. What happens when an explosion of completed docs runs headlong into  a cutback of broadcast slots? Ann Rose, an expert producer and network development exec, has her say. Read here…


What Do Brits Watch? The UK’s Top 40 Docs & Series YTD.  Plus our Takeaways on the thriving UK factual market. See the Top 40 here…

Who’s Hot? Who’s Not!!  Our quarterly report, with thanks to Byron Media, asks: What is the relative scale of the audience for 50+/- U.S. factual channels? And which ones are gaining or losing viewers? View last quarter’s data here…


The Business History of Pawn Stars and Producer Leftfield Pictures:  We covered History’s #1 U.S. reality hit from every angle. And documented how Leftfield became a super-hot producer. See the Pawn Stars pitch reel.  The links are here…

How Do Networks Evaluate Pitches? A+E’s Stephen Harris shares his one-of-a-kind coverage of the “O.C. Gaffer” pitch from Burnie Burns. Our 3-part analysis includes Burnie’s sizzle tape!  Read more…

What is the Cost Premium for 3D vs 2D/HD? Hoff Productions generously updates their detailed analysis of 3D in the field, in post, and delivery. Click here…

And behind our paywall: The Kickstarter / Plimpton Case Study. How much can a doc earn from crowd-funding? How much work is involved? Download now!  Click here for our e-catalog…


A Veteran Producer at Risk: Vinnie Kraylevich gets trapped in the Siberian permafrost. His budget seems doomed. Lives are at risk. It’s “Hail Mary!” time. He doubles down. What happens?

Globe Trekker does nicely from public TV. You could say “It’s the old fashioned way.” But are deficit-financing and multiple revenue-streams also the model of tomorrow?  Read here…

Dino Stampede This Aussie international copro unleashes a cascade of tax benefits and pre-sales.


Rupert Murdoch grew up at the knee of the man who, my mother taught me, ‘invented’ Australia. That man would be his Dad, Keith. What does Keith’s brilliant career tell you about the son’s now-notorious business practices? Click here for the view from Melbourne’s leafy suburbs…



Many thanks to our clients, friends, contributors, interns, organizers of panels & workshops, producers, readers, and more.

  • Your support anchored a huge jump in readership during our second year.
  • And you helped create lots of exciting new business.

For 2012, our plans include:

  • Many more detailed case studies that address aspects of the development, financing, commissioning, production and distribution process for unscripted content.
  • And a big expansion of our e-publishing program, including new ‘Sweet Spots’ studies, budgets analyses, and much more.

Our mission remains the same: to throw light on the often-opaque business practices that are in use across the multi-billion dollar and expanding global marketplace for unscripted television content.

Please recommend ways that can be improved.

And we wish you every success and happiness in the New Year!

Peter Hamilton
New York


History Makers International – A Summit for Informative Media
January 25-27, 2012
Millennium Broadway Hotel, New York City

History Makers International attracts the world’s leading producers, development executives, researchers, archive houses and distributors from over 20 different countries in one place each year.

Newly announced sessions at this year’s summit illustrate the diverse concerns of program makers and their rapidly changing World.

The creators of George Harrison, Living in a Material World have agreed to show us how they combined their incredible archive and home movies with remixes of original recordings of Beattles’ songs and Harrison’s later pieces, and intimate and candid interviews, to make a powerful and fresh story.

Covering the Arab World: A Master Class With Al Jazeera -Al Jazeera has managed to create a unique on the ground approach, which has resulted in an amazing body of tough and authentic programs covering all the front lines that have been in the headlines.

The first recipient of our Outstanding Achievement Award for Archive Preservation and Restoration will be presented to Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films, Paris. As well as receiving the Award, Serge will present his highly entertaining Archive Cabaret, including a presentation of George Melies’ 1902 colour classic A Trip to the Moon.

In the year of the Obama election contest, we will be featuring the largest archive of African American History, Chicago based, The HistoryMakers. The founder and Executive Director Julieanna Richardson will be conducting a tour of this unique collection.

The Development Executives for Feature Documentaries for AE Network’s History, Molly Thompson and HBO’s Nancy Abraham will join Simon Chinn, producer of Man on Wire and Project Nim to discuss the art of successfully producing full length documentaries for Television and Cinema.

These join our already announced sessions on NHK and the Tsunami, the new AE Networks’ H2 Channel, finding the characters in reality series “Swamp People” and “American Restoration” and Opportunities for Games Integration and Interactive Storytelling to make this one of the richest mix of experiences ever at History Makers International…

As a reader, attend History Makers International 2012 for a very special discounted price of $649 (expires January 8th, 2012) Register NOW and save!

Discounted reg link for $649: