LARS Blomgren is head of scripted, EMEA Endemol Shine Group, working closely with the Group’s network of producers and companies across non-English-language markets in Europe, Middle East and Asia — between them responsible for over 40 productions in 2017. He is also co-founder and former managing director of Swedish production company Filmlance International, where he has produced some 65 titles and most recently overseen the fourth and final series of global hit Bron/Broen (The Bridge).
Non-English-language — and multilingual — dramas are commonplace around the world today, and The Bridge is one series that can claim to have moved the boundaries. But this wasn’t always the case. “Ten or 15 years ago, even five years ago, multilingual and non-English-language dramas weren’t readily available on mainstream platforms,” Blomgren said. “There were fewer broadcasters and non-English-language drama was championed by those with a public-service remit, with commercial channels obviously focusing on — and marketing — the big, noisy shows that had local and mass appeal and were guaranteed to bring in the numbers.”
The arrival of streaming platforms “quite literally opened up the world”, he said. “The likes of Netflix and Amazon already have their paid-up members, ready and eager for brilliant stories, no matter what the language. I don’t think people’s opinion or tastes as to viewing non-English-language drama have changed, it just wasn’t as readily available to them before and if the story is good it doesn’t matter what form it comes in.”And drama will continue to be a key focus for all platforms. “People love brilliant stories, it’s as simple as that. And the new world that we’re living in has given them the opportunity to see and binge on more,” Blomgren said. “Broadcasters also want to feed viewers what they like to consume, so the more they watch the more broadcasters want to commission. I think that people try either to escape from the world or process it via great drama and storytelling. And people have never really needed that more than they seem to now. I also believe there’s a genuine interest and a growing need to learn more about other cultures.” He added: “I think we will see new areas that have greater prominence on the global scripted stage — such as India and Asia — that have previously had a much more local focus. But I don’t see the bubble bursting any time soon.”
Blomgren’s Masterclass “will be an overall discussion about the world of non-English drama, how it has evolved over the last few years, the hits, the learnings and where we think it’s headed in the near future”, he said. “The role I took on last summer means I oversee Endemol Shine Group’s scripted production companies across EMEA, working closely with our network to supercharge our content across the group first internally and then obviously externally for buyers and broadcasters, so there will be a discussion around that and our strategy going forward.” And he values the move by MIPTV to focus on content creation as well as distribution with the expansion of In Development. “Anything that fosters and prompts engagement about the future of our industry and how we can grow is always a positive thing,” he said. “For me it’s a great opportunity to meet up with many of our key contacts and creatives in the one space. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say.”
Lars Blomgren’s Creative Masterclass: Taking Non-English Drama To New Dimensions is on Monday, April 8 at 15.40
This article originally appeared in the MIPTV 2019 Preview magazine , which you can read in full online, here!