Just a few months into settling into his role as global head of scripted at Banijay, Christian Wikander outlined his strategy for leading IP creation and collaboration across 60-plus labels at the TV Drama Festival today.
Wikander took part in a keynote conversation with World Screen’s Anna Carugati at the festival. You can see it in its entirety here.
The session began with Wikander discussing what elements a local story needs to have to resonate across borders. “First of all, it needs to be locally anchored. The more exotic backdrop helps something to travel. But besides that, it is about theme; theme in the sense that I, as an audience, find a story relevant for me wherever I live.”
As for challenges in the market today, Wikander highlighted the cutbacks at the streamers. “We are in a time of correction. The market is correcting itself. We are moving towards something less risk-averse and more to the middle of the road, more mainstream. Earlier, we would see some titles commissioned because it was almost like a marketing argument as to why we should produce that high-end title. Most of that is gone now. Each commission needs to perform on its own merits. And budgets are under big pressure.”
Wikander’s remit covers 60-plus labels across diverse markets. On fostering collaboration, he noted, “Get producers together. Get them to share. That is part of what the group is about. It is a big strength and focus for us. We also have a scripted fund, which means that we can also help producers; maybe it’s a co-production idea with another group, and we can help to share the risk and invest in getting something developed with that ambition.”
The discussion then moved to managing costs, and Wikander stressed the importance of clients and audiences seeing the value on-screen. Efficiencies can be found through detailed conversations with the commissioning partner. “It can be in duration, in volume, maybe commit to a returning series. You can collaborate a lot around how you make something more efficient regarding production costs.”
The session wrapped with Wikander sharing his views on where the scripted market is headed. “It’s extremely important that we can develop stories that are relevant for an audience today. The fact global rights are not the case all the time opens opportunities for producers. It’s so important that a producer is part of owning the rights. I’m also happy about the fact that stories today more and more are expected to do well in their own market. And I see that in many different territories, public broadcasters are coming back. That’s also good for everyone.”