One of the highlights of MIPDoc 2012, the traditional “What Buyers Want” panel featured international executives giving insights on what factual programming they are acquiring, as well as what content trends they expect from production companies.
Moderated by chairman Simon Snaps of Mercury Media/Joining the Docs, the panel included Alison Baker, senior acquisitions manager – non-fiction, Australian Broadcasting Television; Chris Hoelzl, VP, programming development, Smithsonian Channel HD; Mette Hoffmann Meyer, head of documentaries and co-productions, Danish Broadcasting Corporation; Mark Kozaki, programming officer, Alhurra TV – Middle East Broadcasting Networks; and Yuan Tian, head of international acquisitions & co-production, CCTV Documentary Channel.
Kozaki of Alhurra revealed, “We’re acquiring 300 to 400 hours per year. We’re looking for series, one-offs, half-hours, miniseries, limited series, you name it. We pay the market rate in our territory, it’s a few thousand dollars per hour. It doesn’t put anybody into early retirement, but hopefully it helps!”
In terms of editorial, “the mission for Alhurra to present a fair, thorough, objective, balanced, extensive overview of the US, the Middle East, the region we televised, of the world … the credibility of our programme would be compromised if we were not thorough, objective and fair.”
With regard to his preference for history versus current affairs, Tian of CCTV Documentary Channel observed, “History is tricky. It depends what kind of history we are talking about. But our audience likes war topics. For example, the Second World War really helped our channel.”
Australian Broadcasting Television’s Baker was optimistic about the market on a whole. “I think it’s a great time to be a content maker or distributor,” she said. “There are more and more channels and more ways to reach an audience.” But for ABC, “The challenge is to find enough good programming for Australian audiences within our budgets. So the ABC is the national broadcaster, funded by the tax payer, so that means we have to be focused in terms of acquisitions. We can’t always buy as much as we’d like to. Having said that, we buy over 500 hours per year of non-fiction programming across ABC 1 and ABC 2.”
Glean more insights by watching the video of the full panel, above!