My unchanging editorial goals since launching my Documentary Business newsletter in 2011 are to:
- Capture in a few words how the ever-evolving unscripted ecosystem shapes opportunities for industry veterans and rookies alike, and
- Publish detailed Case Studies that reveal how productions that aren’t by award-winning A-listers are developed, funded and ultimately delivered to grateful audiences.
Most Widely Read Posts
Like much of my analysis since the mid ‘teens, the fifty posts published in 2022 often returned to the #1 trend: How Netflix and the streamers are upending the documentary economy by “putting a blowtorch to the cable model.”
Among the most popular posts in 2022 were:
- Streamers Spend on Music Documentaries. Big Stars. Unique Access. Sky High Budgets. $25 Milllion for Billy Eilish
- Netflix Dominates: 85% of “Minutes Watched”. All Other Streamers: 15%
- Netflix & the Streamers Put a Blowtorch to the PayTV Model. What Do the Charts Say?
- True Crime All the Time: Bulk Gives Way to Bespoke by StoryCentric’s Ed Hersh
- True Crime Boom: Recent Releases Spotlight What Platforms Want
- Netflix Market Value Crashes: What does losing $50 Bn mean for producers?
- Top 100 UK Documentaries in 2021: Attenborough and familiar talent stand out in a 2nd troubled year of Covid
- Nat Geo & Disney+: What Do They Want? And Not! Read their ‘Unscripted Creative Brief
- STAR CHASERS OF SENEGAL: Indie Producer’s Terra Mater Studios / NOVA Copro. A MIPCOM Case Study. Sponsored by Terra Mater Studios.
- SEASON OF THE OSPREY: How It Happened! The Development, Production & Global Distribution of a Blue Chip Wildlife Special. Sponsored by Blue Ant International.
- NAKED – Generation Gender: How a topical Canadian-German Coproduction Happened! A MIPCOM Case Study Panel
My year’s podcasts included:
- New Trends in True Crime: Streamers are Changing the Game… What producers need to know! with Ed Hersh
- Cannes Film Festival: Documentary Takeaways with Veteran Sales Agent Jan Rofekamp.
- Waterbear CEO Ellen Windemuth on conservation, community, programming and her new free streaming platform
- TRUE ROYALTY: The Netflix for “super-engaged Royals fans”. A Podcast with CEO Gregor Angus (Republished)
- Selling Your Documentary to the Streamers: Opportunities beyond Netflix and the Big 5, with Wendy Bernfeld
I’ve been blessed with many partnerships, notably
- Faith Fuller’s Desktop Documentaries for co-publishing my detailed courses on how to develop and pitch unscripted projects.
- MIPTV for conference planning and session production
- Sunny Side of the Doc, for many years my valued conference programming and publishing partner.
- Pact, the UK producers’ association, for co-producing webinars.
- Keith Ochwat’s Show&Tell for webinar co-production.
Pact Webinars: Industry Trends
“Pact has teamed up with Documentary Business‘ Peter Hamilton to present Industry Trends, a new Pact Growth Accelerator series exploring key industry trends in handy bite-sized chunks.” Read Pact’s press release here
Initial webinars are:
- Latest trends in the platform’s seemingly unlimited appetite for True Crime, with StoryCentric’s Ed Hersh
- US Viewers: What Are We Watching? with Byron Media’s John Morse
- Streaming: The Cruel Math
- Many thanks to last year’s sponsors, including Terra Mater Studios, RX France (MIPTV), Sunny Side of the Doc and Blue Ant International.
- I’m very thankful to Ed Hersh and Dan Salerno who regularly contribute their unique industry insights in posts, podcasts and webinars, as well as in conversations that never fail to light up the key issues of the day.
- Byron Media’s John Morse for brilliant audience and related analysis.
- Tom Jennings and Michael Hoff are invaluable advisors.
- Gregory Crofton contributes on the “rightwing documentary ecosystem.”
- My editorial associates are Camran Shealy, a rising senior at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, and Mexico City-based journalist/writer Caitlin Cooper.