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Albatross’s Anne Olzmann


Anne Olzmann, the managing director of Albatross World Sales, tells TV Real about how the company is navigating the AVOD/FAST channel factual space.

The rapidly developing AVOD landscape is providing a wealth of opportunities for distributors with sizable back catalogs to exploit. For Albatross World Sales, a boutique seller of nature, science, travel and history fare, while AVOD and FAST services still represent a small part of its revenue base, the segment can’t be ignored as macroeconomic trends and competition slow the gains at the SVOD platforms.

TV REAL: What opportunities are you seeing for licensing your content to AVOD services?
OLZMANN: AVOD services are to be taken very seriously. After a true “launch wave” of SVOD platforms accelerated by the pandemic, this market is slowly but steadily saturated. Now, combined with inflation and world-shaking events such as the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, people are becoming more reluctant about where to spend their entertainment money. So, seemingly, the free options that AVOD and FAST offer are the go-to solutions to broaden the offer. With different SVOD platforms now also exploring lower or even dropping subscription fees, this is quite obvious to note. We have been working with different AVOD and FAST operators for quite some time now, and while it has taken some time to set up, it’s starting to become very lucrative, especially for titles that have made their TV rounds and are ready for third and fourth runs.

TV REAL: How lucrative is this space becoming in terms of tangible revenues?
OLZMANN: On a per-title basis, AVOD revenues are still relatively low; it’s all about volume. We distribute a German classic wildlife TV series called Eye to Eye with Nature by Ernst Arendt and Hans Schweiger that has been running since the ’70s and has over 50 episodes. We have sold the AVOD and FAST rights, and we see how much the audience loves this, as these episodes can’t be seen anywhere else. Wildlife and nature films are a very rewarding genre for third and fourth runs on AVOD and FAST.

TV REAL: I understand managing deliverables with the AVOD services can be time-consuming. Are you finding that to be the case?
OLZMANN: Yes, we can certainly agree. Delivery is very time-consuming, and we had to create a specific structure in-house to deal with these kinds of volume deliveries. After all, we remain a small team, and our focus has always not necessarily been volume but rather high-end one-offs and specials. So, TV remains our core business. When it comes to AVOD/FAST, we noticed that different platforms have different needs. Some need a 100-word synopsis; others want 150 words. The same goes for the artwork that goes with it. But once you have a delivery base for the programs in place, things can move quickly and need less adaptation. But it was a big challenge to evaluate potential revenues and how much effort we could put in. This is especially the case for revenue-share deals, where you have to take a certain risk initially and deliver without knowing what revenues are to be expected. But we have spent a lot of time exploring the different markets and platforms and now have a good base to work with AVOD/FAST buyers in different territories.

TV REAL: Are you seeing AVOD platforms invest in factual originals?
OLZMANN: Many AVOD and FAST channels are quite niche-oriented (for example, wildlife channels, travel channels, etc.). In contrast to generalist TV broadcasters, their advertising offer is limited and therefore can’t generate the same advertising revenue. Advertisers, too, have to increase and split their marketing budgets between different platforms depending on their strategy and brand. So, revenues are still quite limited at the moment, and I believe they don’t allow them to invest in many originals. However, to market the AVOD brand itself, it makes sense to invest in flagship programming that will define that brand. I think this is a way to go, but I assume it will still take more time than it took for SVOD platforms.

TV REAL: What has the emergence of factual AVOD services meant for you as you craft windowing strategies?
OLZMANN: We don’t work as much with windowing and AVOD yet. At this point, our main clients for new programs remain TV broadcasters and SVOD. However, with TV deals, we try to limit holdbacks for VOD (thus, including AVOD).

TV REAL: Are there types of shows best suited to a lean-back AVOD experience?
OLZMANN: I think the best and safest way for a lean-back AVOD experience is to create theme-based offers, where viewers can binge-watch programming of their particular interest. This goes best for long-running series, of course, but also for themed packages such as different nature one-offs, travel shows that can be wrapped together, etc.

TV REAL: What opportunities are you seeing to create FAST channels from within your substantial library?
OLZMANN: We see ourselves as a specialist factual distributor; we still focus very much on each individual title of our catalog, and volume is not our primary focus. Our catalog currently contains about 350 hours, and not all of them are available for AVOD or FAST. So we do not see any Albatross channels in the near future.








About Mansha Daswani

Mansha Daswani is the editor and associate publisher of World Screen. She can be reached on mdaswani@worldscreen.com.

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