Video: Co-Production Evolution

ZDF Studios’ Robert Franke, Dynamic Television’s Daniel March and LEONINE Studios’ Caroline Kusser have taken note of how the co-production model has evolved.

With production budgets already on the rise before Covid and an increasingly competitive environment, “we as international distributors have to change the model a little bit, and we are becoming co-producers,” said Kusser, executive VP of international co-production and world sales at LEONINE. “We have to jump on board very early if we want to get our hands on a project. We used to write a check for an MG, and the deal was done, or we were deficit financing. And we see a lot more private equity companies coming into the market wanting to be part of the game. That’s a new model to look at in co-financing/co-production.”


March, founder and managing partner at Dynamic Television, agreed and added, “Co-productions fit into one of two buckets: creatively driven or economically driven. The benefit of economic models is often trying to attract an additional broadcaster or another entity. That’s just getting a little bit more challenging. But I think in general, demand for co-productions is very strong.”

Franke, VP Drama at ZDF Studios, added that co-pros are the market’s response to mitigating investment risks. “It’s one way to make sure that you don’t put too much money into one project, and you partner with like-minded people and companies to make sure that you benefit from a joint production. It’s also a reaction to the vertical integration of big media companies. These big conglomerates keep everything to themselves. Production companies now belong to bigger groups. If you’re not part of an idea right from the get-go, you’re not part of it at all. That leads to a situation where we are forced to become co-producers. It’s not an evolution of the co-production model per se. It’s more the evolution of the role of distribution companies in the markets and facilitating our expertise.”