StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

The Future of Wildlife Television: Interviews from Wild Talk Africa (3/3). Key Trends in Austria, France and South Africa

This week’s expert interviews from Wild Talk Africa cover Austria’s Universum stand, which is a keystone for pure wildlife productions, and France’s appetite for the ‘cute’ over the predatory. Also: explaining South Africa’s soft demand for unscripted programming, including Natural History.


Inside ORF-Austria’s Universum Strand 

Thomas Matzek
Deputy Head of NHU
ORF, Vienna

ORF is a key player in the pure Wildlife commissioning niche, and its Universum strand garners astonishing audience shares year in and year out. Tom describes his unit’s commissions, co-productions (often with NDR-Germany) and acquisitions. He addresses the editorial filters, the scale of the pipeline, and ORF’s acquisitions process.


France’s Audience for Wildlife Television 

Laurent Flahault
Commissioning Editor
France 5 / France Televisions, Paris

(English and French)
Laurent describes the kinds of programs that work for the French audience that’s interested in Wildlife. A highlight: He says that ‘cute moments’ and bonds between humans and wild animals are more important than predatory sequences.


South Africa’s Regulatory Environment for Docs

Marc Schwinges
CEO/EP, Underdog Productions
Executive Consultant, SASFED, Johannesburg

Marc is a leading producer and an outspoken industry advocate. To explain the tepid demand for nonfiction in RSA, he describes South Africa’s regulatory environment, focusing on SABC, ETV and M-Net. (Audio not great.)



US Networks: What do they Want? What’s the Deal? And the Things They Won’t Tell You…
Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Don’t miss my intensive half-day master class with industry veteran Ed Hersh at WESTDOC 2013.

Our workshop is dedicated to helping producers understand the chaotic and rapidly-changing nonfiction marketplace so that they can get their projects green lit.

I met with Ed this morning and over coffee we developed a jam-packed ‘curriculum’ for our Masterclass! We thought up a subtitle for our list of topics: “How to Get in the Door, and What to Do When You Get There!”  We will build on the Standing-Room-Only success of last year’s Master Class with Stephen Harris, the former A&E development exec and now ‘red hot’ LA-based producer. Check out the video highlights of the 2012 Master Class here.

This year, Ed and I will take a tour of the network landscape: which networks commission docs, specials and series, including reality series, and focusing on key industry trends.

Register here!

We’ll use our video clips, Powerpoints, ratings data and other valuable resources to bang home the teachable moments.

What We’ll Cover

Topics that we will cover include:

  • Understanding network “filters”
  • Series vs. one-offs: what you need to know
  • What are their audiences, key demos and current program strategies, and how that should affect your pitch?
  • Why do some producers seem to get “all” the green lights, and others don’t
  • When your experience counts. And when it doesn’t!
  • The network commissioning process: What you need to know before you pitch, when you’re in the room, and what happens afterwards.
  • The pitch: Five key Do’s and Don’ts that will increase your chances of success.
  • What are the five things that MUST be in your pitch to have it even considered
  • What are the key deal terms for work-for-hire commissions, co-productions and acquisitions.
  • What do the networks pay for programs? And is that negotiable?
  • Do emerging producers need an agent? Or is it better to partner with an established producer? And what’s the deal for ‘marrying up?’

There will be plenty of time for Q&A and post-workshop networking.

Westdoc Producers’ Master Class
Built for Success: Developing and Producing Non-Fiction Programming in Today’s Environment
US Networks: What do they Want? What’s the Deal? And the things they won’t tell you…

Sunday, September 15th, 2013
$199 for WESTDOC attendees
Register here.

Or email me ([email protected]) if you have any questions about the Master Class.