Debbie Macdonald: Could you please introduce yourself?

Sergio Sancho: I’m founder and CEO of Phileas Productions. After spending 7 years working in the advertising industry, creating and managing campaigns for many important brands, I decided that I wanted to have more than 30 seconds to tell stories and engage audiences. So in 2009, together with my partners, we created Phileas Productions – a company with a clear objective: have fun and create original and innovative formats able to attract and surprise the audience, both in the international market and in Spain.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to create, develop and executive produce shows of multiple genres (entertainment, talent shows, game-shows, factual entertainment, reality) including Don’t Say it, Bring it, Crush, Hall Pass, The ATM, The 20 little Piggy Banks, Involution, Millions@Home and Around the world in 90 Days. All of these shows have been commissioned and produced in multiple territories.


> What do you think is the most innovative thing in TV now, and why?

I think VOD has shaken the entire industry and it will continue to do so in all aspects but the new innovation could be virtual reality (VR). However, we are still at the beginning of what this technology can achieve. Nevertheless, once we figure out how to make it more user friendly, naturally it will become the next mass medium. This is the creative challenge that all creators, producers and networks have. Most VR experiences have either been in games or non-interactive videos but this isn’t strong enough to make it onto TV. We must find a way for VR and TV to co-exist.


> What opportunities does the development of new platforms and business models open up for content creators or producers today?

Platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Facebook and YouTube have shaken the industry and we are seeing how these new platforms are bringing huge investment in new content. This is, of course, an opportunity for all content creators and producers.

For example, in Spain, before Netflix and Movistar (the next one will be Amazon), there were only 3 big buyers (Mediaset, Atresmedia and TVE). But now we have 2-3 new buyers investing large sums in local content and productions, especially on the scripted side. I really see this as great news for the industry. Not only for producers (as it provides us with more opportunities) but also for the buyers, as it becomes a more competitive market…


> Is the playing field more level in the digital age? To what extent is the ‘traditional’ system (pitching to a Commissioner) still important and how do you see that system evolving?

I am still from the old school of thought that pitching face to face to a commissioner is still the best way to get a show commissioned. Commissioners today have so many ways to source new content without meetings but it’s often hard to cut through the plethora of content available and grab their attention. However, in a pitch face to face you have the opportunity to surprise them and grab their attention and, most importantly, show them your passion, dedication, and love for the project. This is something that can’t be beaten.


> What is your favourite TV show/IP today and why?

I think it’s impossible to just pick one, because I love so many!!! I think shows like Survivor, Big Brother, Got Talent, Undercover boss, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or no Deal, Amazing Race, Masterchef, The Voice etc, are all big franchises that we all like to have in our catalogue.

Besides those, I’m a fan of the more recent shows like Married at first sight, First dates, Old People’s Home for 4 years… but my favorites have to be Don’t say it, Bring it our game show that will premier in the UK soon, and Crush that will premier in Spain and Hall Pass.


> How will TV’s golden age continue post-Game of Thrones?

As a big fan of Game of Thrones, I think it’s going to be a challenge for the industry to find a scripted series to compete with this but I am sure new ideas will come through and soon we will be talking about the next big show.

As already mentioned, TV on demand has created new opportunities and whilst these opportunities exist, there will be people who will continue to create content. So, I hope the golden age continues on the scripted side. However, I think we should work on creating the golden age of the unscripted format (entertainment). For that to happen, we need people to invest and take creative risks and only then we will see the new Big Brother or Survivor coming through.


This is the latest in a series of posts from MIPCOM 2017’s MIPBlog Ambassadors, a group of industry experts coordinated by consultant Debbie Macdonald, who’ll be sharing their insight here in the run-up to MIPCOM this October. Stay tuned for more!

About Author

Debbie Macdonald is a children’s media consultant. She was formerly VP, programming director at Nickelodeon UK, having worked in acquisitions at the BBC.

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