Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc


Welcome to, your new, free guide to the ever-changing business of factual television.

I’m Peter Hamilton. Born in Melbourne, based in New York, and serving clients worldwide.

Whenever I speak at industry conferences, attendees line up to express their thanks that someone is giving them ‘the hard facts’. Their gratitude has evolved into the mission of this blog. relies on my database, collected over 25-years of  experience in our industry. I speak daily with my friends who are producers, network executives and experts.

So why am I sharing valuable information? Because it has been my experience that sharing information expands networks and creates opportunities.

For the first few weeks, our focus is on: What are the networks paying for programming?

We begin with Discovery Networks U.S., followed by AETN, Nat Geo Channels, Smithsonian Channel, Scripps Networks, Canadian Channels, BBC, PBS, Arte, and many others …

In future weeks, we will cover: commissioning processes, 3D, deal terms, budget line items, ‘digital deliverable creep’, music rights, payment schedules, theatrical distribution strategies, and much more.

Please send in your questions and clarifications. We don’t know where this effort will lead, but one thing is for sure – will succeed if  it creates a forum that throws light on the business of our business.

Why Matters
A Guest Commentary by Jim Cantalini
I want to congratulate you for

I spend a lot of time looking at business models and revenue models to understand what makes companies successful.  So in a time when Jeff Drucker is worried about “analog dollars” becoming “digital pennies”, I find it surprising that people in media are not spending more time worrying about the need to convert its cost structure to reflect the new revenue stream levels by using new digital technologies to develop lower costs of production. 

Your focus on the cost structure of new production is very useful.  People’s cost awareness and the need to adjust to these changing realities is critical to reacting to the downward movement of the advertising revenue streams.   Music, newspapers, magazines and book publishers have all had to respond to a “new reality” in revenue. 

It was not “technology of product delivery” or alternative delivery formats that are killing newspapers but rather the lost revenue to Craig’s List classified ads and declining circulation.

You have identified the current cost structure and the management of the costs of the technologies.  Your focus is on the reduction of these technology costs and their impact on future production costs. Learning to do more with less and less will be the only way to widen the profit margins against a revenue stream that is under constant pressure.   Alternatively, this knowledge may provoke more experiments in developing new revenue streams that are made possible by the implementation of technologies.

I think that cable programming is the pivot point between major network programs and independent on-line content.  While talent will cost what it will, the production costs will need to continue to decline.  Content creation cost for cable, network and on-line distributors will converge.

Your mission will be important for many years to come as balancing revenues and costs will be a key issue.  I will follow very closely to keep track of the changes in all forms of content creation.

Jim Cantalini

Jim Cantalini is President and Founder of Torsted Advisors.  Torsted works with a company’s shareholders, board directors, and executive management to provide strategic leadership in high change environments for strategic and financial issues.  Since 2007 he has been utilizing his experience, as a Chief Executive Officer and a senior manager/banker in Investment Banking, for high technology industry clients.

James C. Cantalini
Torsted Advisors
[email protected]


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