Over the past two to three years, All3Media International has found significant success with its expansive scripted formats catalog all over the world, according to several of its sales executives. Sabrina Duguet, executive VP of the Asia Pacific region, notes that “there has been an explosion in demand for our scripted formats.”
The desired genres are diversified, as Stephen Driscoll, executive VP for EMEA, says there is demand for thrillers, comedies, young adult dramas and more.
Duguet concurs, adding, “One of the main genres is thrillers—crime, detective and psychological thrillers—which we have a lot of. We are also very lucky that our catalog has some more lighthearted series: comedies or rom-coms, as well as family dramas. And all of them have sparked an interest in the market.”
So, what’s driving this recent scripted formats boom? For one, “the high quality of the scripted production companies that have joined the All3Media group over the past few years” has upped the caliber of the series, Duguet says.
The arrival of global and local VOD platforms in certain regions has also driven the increase in requests, according to Duguet. She notes, too, that scripted formats often fill the gaps in certain production styles. “A lot of countries in [Asia] have a strong culture of long soap operas and telenovelas,” she says, adding that there aren’t many limited, four-, ten- or 12-part series. Adaptations of shows such as Two Brothers Pictures’ Cheat and Liar fill that gap for shorter series in places like India, where they are known locally as Mithya and Marzi, respectively, and stream on OTT platforms.
Additionally, adaptations “enable local broadcasters to attract A-list local talent to make prime-time premium dramas,” Driscoll says. “We’ve had the privilege of working with top producers,” including Indigo Film in Italy and Felicita Films and TF1 in France. “We’ve found that, once you’ve made one show with a producer or broadcaster like this, that tends to lead to further conversations for new projects to work on.”
And it doesn’t necessarily matter how long ago a scripted format was created, either. Sally Habbershaw, executive VP of the Americas, points out that Peacock’s adaptation of Russell T Davies’ Queer as Folk comes more than 20 years after it first debuted in the U.K., and FOX has an iteration of Jimmy McGovern’s Accused, first launched in 2010 in the U.K., in the pipeline. FOX has even ordered an additional three episodes of Accused before it’s launched, Habbershaw says.
“Here, we have two award-winning writers in Russell T Davies and Jimmy McGovern, who’ve created these incredibly compelling stories in the context of social change. And those stories have transplanted to the U.S., not just five but, in some cases, ten, 20 years later, and have adapted to speak to American culture now,” Habbershaw points out.
Not only does the length of time between the original and the adaptation not seem to matter, but Duguet notes, “[We] have been pleasantly surprised about how easy it’s been to localize our foreign scripts,” even when the subject matter is “challenging.” She points to Liar, a series about a sexual assault, which has found success in India and has an adaptation planned in Malaysia. In fact, Driscoll calls Liar their “hit scripted format,” noting, “we’ve done ten adaptations now, and there are more in the pipeline.”
Even more is to come from All3Media International in the future, as evidenced by the sheer number of planned Liar iterations. In Asia alone, Duguet says, “we have done eight scripted format series, and we have another eight in development.”