Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Docsville Webinar: Meet the team creating the streaming home for indie documentaries

Docsville is the new streaming destination for independent, thought-provoking and inspiring global documentary films.

Its curated offering spans the climate crisis to racism & inequality, true crime and inspiring personal stories.

We recently grabbed the opportunity to speak with the Docsville team:

  • James Ross, CEO of Lightning International
  • Mark Froude, General Manager of Docsville
  • Lawrence Elman, CEO of Docsville Studios

What’s the goal? Where’s the market? How to get your film on the platform? And most importantly: What’s the deal?

The team answered these questions and much more in my latest Documentary Business webinar.

Watch the Webinar (40′)



  • [1:15] What is Docsville?
  • [6:00] What’s the offer?
  • [6:40] Lightning International: Strategy and context
  • [12:50] What is the appeal to consumers?
  • [17:15] Back to the beginning: How Docsville happened
  • [21:20] Docsville Studios: The program pipeline
  • [24:00] Commissions: What’s the deal?
  • [26:25] Monetization for filmmakers
  • [27:15] What are the contract terms?
  • [31:20] Originals vs. commissions
  • [37:29] Challenges ahead
  • [38:30] How to get your film onto the Docsville platform

James Ross and Peter meet at the Lightning stand at MIPCOM 2023

Producers & Distributors!

Subscribe to Docsville Now!

  • Our Monthly Subscription is only US $3.99.
  • Save! Take advantage of our Special Limited Time Annual Offer of US $29.99.
  • You will get access to Docsville‘s library of over 15 documentary genres and hundreds of programs.



The Docsville Team

Mark Froude, James Ross and Lawrence Elman 

James Ross, CEO, Lightning International

James has over 25 years of experience at the BBC, Bloomberg, ITV and now at Lightning International – ranging from on-air presentation, programming and engineering, to production, distribution sales, and marketing – and the creation of TV channels and platforms. James launched Lightning International in 2011 as a content solutions company to help independent producers distribute their programmes. Working with more than 30 producers, Lightning International offers a catalogue of 5000+ hours of programmes and formats, and represents and creates a variety of TV channels.  Most recently Lightning International has expanded into FAST channels around the globe.

Mark Froude, General Manager, Docsville

Mark Froude has more than 30-years’ experience in the media industry, starting at TVNZ before moving to Singapore to take on Asia Pacific commercial management roles with Asia Business News, CNBC and Bloomberg Media. Mark also established a regional media representative company Press Start Media which supported the development of global television and media organizations in APAC. Mark currently resides in New Zealand after more than 27 years in Asia.

Lawrence Elman, CEO, Docsville Studios

Lawrence Elman is an award-winning producer/director and founder of Docsville Studios. He has worked extensively with the BBC on documentaries such as The Biggest Chinese Restaurant (2008), Pablo’s Hippos (2011) and The Greatest Party on Earth (2016). Most recently Lawrence has produced feature documentaries The Capote Tapes (2019), 2020: The Story of Us (2021), It Takes a Flood… (2021), Rainbow Warrior (2023) and also the short-form documentary Last Song from Kabul, which is due to air on Paramount + in November 2023.


  • Caitlin Cooper, producer for Documentary Business (Mexico City)JAmes
  • Desmond Chung, head of Marketing, Lightning International (Hong Kong)