What International Buyers Look for in Content

Many platforms and channels around the world are constantly looking for content to acquire.

Some prefer content that caters to a niche audience while some aim at acquiring content that's more popular and general in nature.


A number of content acquisition heads of region-specific, as well as mainstream channels, share what kind of content they look to acquire and what catches their attention, while also shedding light on what kind of sales pitches impresses (and eventually persuades) them the most.



Sven Van lokeren, Buyer Fiction Series at VRT, Belgium:


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

A wide variety of shows, from more broad UK crime series to high-end, edgy thrillers and must-see international content with high talk-value. Any in-built marketability that a drama can offer, a well-known cast, high caliber writing talent, etc. is going to increase its appeal for us.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Combination of basic info (format, volume, availability, producers, commissioning broadcaster, etc) with short pitch plus main storyline and trailer.


Janaina Tadeu, Head Of Acquisitions And Coproductions at Arte1, Brazil:


What is your editorial strategy?

The Arte1 channel offers 24 hours of programming completely dedicated to the art universe. Our mission is to contribute to the development of an audience interested in knowing more about visual arts, photography, architecture, design, dance, classical music, fashion design, literature, theater, and art cinema. In our programming grid, the audience can find documentaries, series, movies, and performing arts.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

We are looking for sophisticated productions. Our main request is that all the themes of the programs need to be related to art topics. We have slots for documentaries (one-off)/ docu-series with episodes of 26’ or 52’/ concerts from classical to modern music/ballet performances from classical to contemporary style / awarded and independent art movies.

For this year, we are focused on acquiring documentaries from all the main arts subjects.


Jenna Bourdeau, Senior Director, Acquisitions at CBC, Canada:


What is your editorial strategy?

As Canada’s national public broadcaster, CBC offers a wide array of content to audiences via linear and digital platforms in nearly every genre - kids, news, sports, documentary, unscripted and scripted. CBC’s schedule is anchored by award-winning, critically acclaimed original Canadian dramas and comedies (Schitt’s Creek, Coroner, Workin’ Moms). In terms of acquired content, we look for leading scripted programming (drama and comedy) that can hold its own alongside such premium originals. The current growth area for acquisition opportunities is currently for our streaming service CBC Gem, which offers Canadians a free and subscription option to streaming service which offers an array of domestic and international content.

Our focus for Gem acquisitions includes high-impact content of all genres specifically drama, comedy, unscripted, documentary, preferably catering to 40 yr and under demographic.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Scripted Genres: Drama, Crime, Comedy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Holiday MOW, Theatrical Family Features, Younger skewing across all genres

Feature Films: Theatrically released family features, Theatrical holiday features; High Profile Documentary Feature Films

Unscripted: High Profile lifestyle series and specials


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

A detailed email works very well.


Vicky Schroderus, Executive In Charge Of International Co-Productions & Acquisitions of Children’s Programs at YLE, Finland:


What is your editorial strategy?

When measured by ratings and audience satisfaction YLE is the number one multi-platform destination for Finnish Kids. It transmits annually over 1300 hours of children’s programming for a two- to 12-year-old audience on linear tv, FVOD service YLE Areena and YLE’s add-free YouTube Channels. Pikku Kakkonen -magazine show is one of the biggest brands at YLE. Its

focus is the 3-7 years olds. YLE’s FVOD service Areena gets about 4 Mio oup every week on linear television. For the 7-12 y old kids YLE has an interactive brand named Galaxi. It reaches about 10% of its target group every week on linear tv. Galaxi universe can be found on www.yle.fi/galaxi. Buu- Klubben is aired by the Swedish-speaking channel YLE Fem. Its main

focus is the 3-7 years olds. YLE’s FVOD service Areena gets about 4 Mio starts on kids programming per week (population of Finland is 5,4 Mio).


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

I am looking for content that will enhance YLE’s offering for kids. The shows need to entertain, bring laughter and awoke curiosity. For preschoolers the top priorities are diversity, bravery as well as enhancing emotional and social skills. For school kids we are also looking for themes like mental health and coping with difficult topics as poverty, loneliness and bullying.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Short description or bible of the project with main characters and location(s). Example stories are a must. An animation sample or mood pictures, if live-action, is definitely a big plus.


Caroline Behar, Head Of Documentaries, France 5 / Head Of Acquisitions & International Coproductions at France Televisions, France:


What is your editorial strategy?

Documentaries with strong content and storytelling.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Only documentaries for both daytime and primetime slots.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

The ones from those who know France 5’s editorial line. Nowadays, we favour science, space, archaeology and ancient civilization programmes.


What are you looking for when working on coproduction projects?

In copro, we look for big and ambitious projects, mostly suitable for prime time audiences. With a dramatic storytelling but with credibility and integrity. Of course, very strong visual treatment is very important for us.


Lei Jing, General Manager at Golden-Spread Entertainments Co. Ltd., China:


What is your editorial strategy?

Acquire foreign films and TV series and sell to Chinese clients.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Action/Adventure/Animated Feature Film, Wild/Nature Documentary, TV series.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

E-mail, sales catalogue.


Henry Leu, President at Henry Advertising & Marketing Ltd, Hong Kong:


What is your editorial strategy?

Buying programmes internationally for China Central Television.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Documentaries, Movies, Music, Animation feature films


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Documentaries (Wildlife and Nature), Movies and Music (classical music).


Dermot Horan, Director Of Acquisitions And Co-Productions at RTE, Ireland:


What is your editorial strategy?

Public Service Media organization which commissions and acquires across all key genres - drama, comedy, documentaries, natural history, and children’s programming.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Drama, comedy, feature films, children’s animation, and live-action, natural

history. Both to acquire and co-produce.


Siobha´n Ni bhra´daigh, Young People’s Editor at TG4, Ireland:


What is your editorial strategy?

TG4 is the National Irish Language Public Broadcaster. Since the inception of the channel in 1996, TG4 has had a daily dedicated children’s schedule for both Pre-school ’Cula4 na nOg’ and older children ’Cula4’. Our aim is to provide our audience with as wide a choice of top-quality and imaginative content as there is available on any other channel, in any other language. Both blocks of programming, pre-school and older, offer a wide range of Internationally renowned titles that have been re-versioned in Irish, along with our home-produced series.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

We are looking for stand out pre-school animation and edutainment, kids animation, interstitials, kids docs and strong feature film. Any acquired content has to be dubbed to Irish Gaelic. We don’t take non-dialogue content.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Concise, targeted sales pitches are best. Before pitching any content, take time to review our current content - Tg4.ie/cula4


Sharon Moverman, Vp Of Acquisitions And International Operations at Hop! Media Group, Israel:


What is your editorial strategy?

Hop! Media Group is the owner and operator of four children's channels in Israel: Hop!, Luli, Israeli Childhood, and WIZ, and is a market leader with the largest share of preschool viewings and a strong digital presence. Creating and curating content for over 20 years, Hop! is synonymous with high quality and thrilling content, good nurturing values, and a safe environment, and is instrumental in building and maintaining leading preschool brands in the territory. We apply a meticulous screening and evaluation process and cherry-pick content to ensure it matches our channels’ unique DNA, echoes children’s inner world, and reflects their everyday routines, challenges, and experiences at home and at kindergarten or school.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

We’re always in the market for shows that are entertaining and fun with an added value - whether social, emotional, or curriculum-based. Distinctive shows with strong visuals can draw us in but they also need to have strong characters and storylines and to be relatable and engaging to make the cut.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

The kind that provides as much information as possible and highlights the show’s aspects that correspond with our DNA on the one hand, and the aspects that bring something new and fresh, on the other.


Danna Stern, Head Of Channels & Acquisitions at Yes Studios, Israel:


What is your editorial strategy?

Multichannel platform/ OTT/ SVOD/ Original Production.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Premium dramas, high profile docs, Commissioners.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Viable projects


Rolandas Maskoliunas, Acquisition Manager at LRT, Lithuania:


What is your editorial strategy?

LRT serves the public by providing objective, reliable information to Lithuanian audiences at home and abroad, producing and broadcasting educational, cultural, and entertainment programs that further unity and progress. LRT TELEVIZIJA broadcasts HD content aimed at a wide audience.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

We’re looking for new products of exceptional cultural and production values. Therefore we’re buying new series and miniseries (historical, action, romantic, biographical) TV movies and features, documentaries, children programs.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

The products I’ve described before: movies and series about European history, personalities, contemporary issues in the form of thrillers or action movies. Also quality entertainment, contemporary directors, classical movies, retrospectives of famous, legendary directors and actors (not necessarily from Europe or the US).


Marc Putman, Ceo & Founder at Out Tv Media, Netherlands:


What is your editorial strategy?

We’re a pay-tv and digital media service aimed at the LGBTI audience in Europe, LATAM, Africa, and Asia. We do operate traditional pay-tv services via tv-operators in various countries and have our own ’Gay Netflix’ platform as well as distribution via third-party platforms. We’re looking for drama series/comedy/scripted finished programming and feature films with having storylines including LGBTI characters, expressing diversity and inclusivity. Our ambition is not to produce these formats only for us, we’re a small niche focussed company, so finished products for licensing are ok for us, but we do sometimes co-produce or make distribution agreements with producers to facilitate the production process in order to attract slate funding, media funding, etc.


Nathalie Windhorst, Head Of Factual Acquisition at VPRO, Netherlands:


What is your editorial strategy?

Broadcasters of Dutch public television are very active in producing and commissioning in the Netherlands. The acquisition is therefore only a limited percentage of what we air. We focus on the titles and genres we cannot produce in-house. E.g., award-winning international documentaries, talented teams, unique access to a topic, urgent and relevant stories, innovative television that really adds up to what we produce in-house.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

- Creative documentaries made by international talent, that tell urgent and relevant contemporary (political) stories (Best of Fest)

- Creative and accessible documentaries on contemporary well-known artists (film, music, literature, architecture, etc.)

- Creative and accessible documentary series on contemporary political and historical topics

- Original fresh factual entertainment and long-running factual series for young audiences

- In general: Outstanding new original content that deserves to be seen on public television


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

By email; short synopsis, trailer if possible, info on cv, filmmakers and partners already on board.


Mercedes Gamero, Acquisitions And Sales Director at Atres Media, Spain:


What is your editorial strategy?

Company Activity: Atresmedia is the leading media group in Spain, the only Company in the territory with a key position in TV, digital, production, radio, cinema, and internet.

Editorial Strategy: Atresmedia offers a wide array of content to our audiences on linear and non-linear platforms in nearly every genre through its leading TV channels (Antena 3 and La Sexta), the family of thematic channels (Nova, Neox, Mega, and Atreseries), together with the main digital video player in Spain (Atresplayer).


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

All kinds of genres, big events, and internationally acclaimed dramas for Antena 3 and La Sexta. For Atresmedia thematic channels, telenovelas and female-oriented content for Nova, long-running sitcoms for Neox, male-oriented factual for Mega, or well-known and easy-to-watch dramas for Atreseries.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Easy pitches for specific content are the best, especially if they include access to a screening link, promo, mood concept trailer, or development.


Carlos Blanch Bachs, Head Of Programme Acquisitions at TV3, Spain:


What is your editorial strategy?

Catalonia’s national public TV, mandate to inform and entertain with rigour and excellence, to promote democratic values and Catalan language and culture, to be a motor of the local audiovisual industry, and to innovate. Generalist channel TV3 top of the ratings continuously over the past 8 years, ahead of the all-Spain Spanish-language channels.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

- Drama: TV MOVIES main interest. Primetime drama is in-house or local, with occasional exceptions in holiday periods. Afternoon long-running series and holiday mini-series must be pre-watershed and well lit. The keys are (as always) character and script, a rich universe to generate situations and conflicts, a strong hook early on, pace, and clear plots.

- Childrens: half the children of Catalonia are members of Club Super3 (free entries, discounts, annual megaparty..). Sister channel Super3 aims to broadcast the best animated sitcoms, from pre-school upwards, along with the interstitial adventures and activities of the Super 3 family.

-Factual: flagship 1st-channel (TV3) strands (partly in-house/local, partly acquired) 30 minuts (reportage) and Sense ficcio´ (primetime docs) as well as 2nd-channel(33) 60 minuts (current affairs docs), also dramatized history slot Cronos and wide-ranging lifestyle and discovery for daytime and 2nd channels.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

informed, enthusiastic and honest. Sellers who know the market, know your channel, and cut out the chaff are much appreciated, they are our guides. Pitches should focus on the programme, its tone and fell and how it engages the audience, rather than the subject or story.


Stephen Mowbray, Head Of Svt International at SVT, Sweden:


What is your editorial strategy?

As the national public broadcaster of Sweden, we have a very broad mission to cater to the whole population from the very young upwards. Our challenge today is to deliver our services digitally allowing the whole population to consume our services where and when they want to.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

we are essentially looking for all types of programming but always with a public service angle- with emphasis on quality and values.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

where we know there is a need from our audience - we rarely acquire programming without a strong feeling of the job we expect it to do as part of our overall offer. Obviously, we expect pitches to be professional, concise, and realistic with a time frame, budget, and attached commissioner.


Yesim Sezdirmez, Deputy General Manager, Planning & Acquisitions at Kanal7, Turkey:


What is your editorial strategy?

Kanal7 has aimed to be the family channel of Turkey appealing to a general audience through a wide array of content ranging from drama series, female skewed non-scripted programs, travel shows, cultural programs, documentaries, foreign drama series, and feature films, news and TV movies. Founded in 1994 as commercial free-to-air television, Kanal7 has been the main entertainment brand of Kanal7 Media Group, which also includes thematic news channel (u¨ lke TV), radio stations (Radyo7), video-on-demand platform (Izle7.com), an online news platform (Haber7.com). The basis of Kanal7’s broadcast strategy is to present high-quality «Daily» drama series to the television audience and therefore to offer unique and alternative viewing options through a different content code on prime time, which is dominated by «Weekly» drama series. We produce stories resonating with the human heart and appreciating

values.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Our program preference depends on for which platform we acquire the content. For Kanal7, we mainly focus on scripted drama as ready-made or format, non-scripted formats for daytime (female skewed lifestyle), and feature films (action/adventure/comedy). For our news channel, we acquire factual and documentaries of all genres especially nature and wildlife, current affairs, travel/adventure, social issues, and history. For our video-on-demand service,

we look for drama series and films.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

It has always been productive for the salesperson to know who we are and what we need. Before pitching, it would be fruitful to make research on our group, platforms, and programming. Thereby, he/she will be able to pitch projects that are relevant to us. We prefer reading synopsis or summaries of the stories first and then we would like to see the trailers of the projects. In order to finalize our decisions, we prefer watching full episodes. Keeping us updated on new projects always speeds up the process of acquisition.


Niam Itani, Trt World Documentary Acquisitions Manager at TRT World, Turkey:


What is your editorial strategy?

TRT is a public broadcaster funded by Turkish taxpayers. TRT World is our English language news channel, which is broadcast internationally. We put humanitarian interests at the core of our broadcasts, and aim to cover the effects of major global events on ordinary people, rather than world powers or international institutions. While we are acutely aware of the tragedies

that surround us, we are hopeful about the future and seek to spread this hope to our viewers.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

We acquire documentaries and documentary series for two programming slots: One is Storyteller, a 52-minute show that airs once a week. For Storyteller, we curate one-off titles that address pressing world issues and their effects on people whose voices are rarely heard in mainstream international media. The documentaries must have strong characters and a solid structure- be they story-centric or theme-based. They should fall under the subgenres

of human interest, social impact or environmental issues. The second slot is 26 minutes long. For this slot, we acquire or commission documentary series that we brand internally as ’light with an edge’. Genres include travel, music, food, and culture, and provide insight into the human stories behind the subject matter.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Those that reflect distributors have done their homework, are familiar with their content, and our broadcasts. For an initial evaluation we require an email containing a synopsis, a trailer, production year and duration. If the submission seems like a potential fit, we ask for a screener link and further information.


Marc Lorber, SVP, International Acquisitions & Coproductions at Lionsgate TV, UK:


What is your editorial strategy?

As my remit is for series normally originated outside of the US- we would say majority English-language series, as returnable drama, eclectic comedy, or prestige limited miniseries. Lately, that’s ranged from drama coproductions like the thriller Cold Courage with Viaplay, or The Pact which will first go out on BBC, and BBC’s returning comedies Motherland (now in season 3) and The Goes Wrong Show (now producing season 2) to name a few. We’re always wanting to harvest the ripest fruits- so having a combination of these elements always helps: recognizable IP (such as bestselling author and/or book, known true story, a spin-off of a film or remake of an older series, etc.) married to known writer-creator(s), a lead director of a recent and significant series or film, key cast who move the needles forward, and the interest if not involvement of an anchor broadcaster in a key territory- that’s what will generally get us excited and more involved at an earlier stage.


What type of projects/programs are you looking for?

Scripted returnable drama, certain comedies, and prestige miniseries across a range of genres as we’re quite agnostic in being able to work with a wide range of buyers and sellers. We prefer to stand in genre corners not already crowded by other similar projects unless there are some larger aspects to the series and we can see its intrinsic value therein. Again majority English-language unless it’s a possible remake project for us. On the doc factual side, it’s going to be projected with strong IP/marketing/recognition that is universal.


What kinds of sales pitches do you respond best to?

Generally, projects that are well baked in development and not just an idea on a page or simple treatment. Never hurts to have strong IP along with a bible, pilot script, and/or sizzle or trailer. That said, always happy to get an email, consider and give a steer on something.



From an exclusive report by MIP Trends on 'What do TV Commissioners and Buyers Want'.