Showcase: Nicely Entertainment


The Nicely Entertainment slate has continued to expand with its own and third-party titles, keeping an even balance between the two and catering to a range of AVOD and digital partners. “We’re certainly continuing to broker traditional license deals globally—broadcast and streaming—but in the U.S. and Canada, we’re seeing quite a bump in AVOD and CTV revenues,” says Vanessa Shapiro, CEO. “With cord-cutting on the rise in Europe, we’re expecting the same pattern internationally in key territories over the coming years.”

At the end of 2023, the company found success with first- and second-run AVOD titles in the U.S., including The Christmas Venue, A Perfect Christmas Pairing and Saving Christmas Spirit. “We’re quite bullish on AVOD and digital premieres; we even released our brand-new disaster title Super Icyclone as an AVOD-first release,” Shapiro notes. “We’ve also launched our Nicely Entertainment channel on YouTube globally, where we’ve been releasing romance-driven titles on a weekly basis since November.”

The Nicely catalog continues to focus on “inspirational and boutique, feel-good-style” movies and complements its own produced titles with acquired projects. “At Nicely, we have a very clear mandate when reviewing third-party titles,” Shapiro explains. “Our wish list is limited to only growing out our core genres. We’re always open to reviewing romance content—specifically destination-themed romance titles and Christmas romance titles—and we’re always open to reviewing female-driven thrillers.”

The company is diversifying its portfolio, however, through Darkly Entertainment, a label it launched in late 2023 to “serve as Nicely’s theatrical and genre outlet,” Shapiro says. “Through Darkly, not only are we experimenting with alternative and edgy genres, but we’re also using it to drive foreign presales like we did with the disaster film Super Icyclone.”

Other titles coming through Darkly include the psychological thriller Exile, starring Adam Beach, and the Christmas-themed crime film Holiday Hold-Up, with Jeremy Holm. Essentially, “Darkly is simply the edgier, more ‘premium’ add-on to Nicely’s current catalog,” she notes.

“Segmenting the company into different branded verticals allows us to expand our content offerings while keeping the brands themselves targeted,” Shapiro explains. “We feel, strategically, this is a much more critical approach, given today’s AVOD-driven world. Traditional B2B companies like Nicely are starting to think with a much more D2C approach.”

It also helps that Nicely is getting involved in projects earlier than ever to help shape them to fit what the market is looking for. “Broadcasters and streamers have become much more selective in their content,” she says. “Co-producing across international borders is also becoming more critical. Nicely is well established as co-producing with Australian and Canadian partners, but in 2024, we’re expanding that workflow to Europe with our first European co-production coming later this year.”

This early involvement allows Nicely to mold content to fit the expanding ad-supported sector. “As connected-TV manufacturers increasingly launch their owned-and-operated D2C services on their branded smart TVs—and big-box retailers invest in media outlets for advertising expansion—we at Nicely see a growing opportunity on where these worlds collide and how TV movies can be utilized as growth vehicles,” Shapiro explains.

As an example, she offers the Ashlee Simpson-led The Recipe Files, “a cozy mystery Christmas romance produced for QVC+. This film blended QVC product integrations into the plot, including QVC cameo appearances throughout, and allowed for a very fun ad-driven experience without all the disruptive ad breaks found elsewhere. This is where the industry is headed.”

“Overall, the market is experiencing a transitionary year, but we’re using this as a time to strategize about where things are going so Nicely can get the best product possible in front of our go-to buyers and clients globally,” Shapiro states. “There’s always a certain level of churn, and the only constant is change. But we’re a small boutique company, which allows us to adapt to the marketplace needs very quickly.”