Event Preview: Realscreen Summit

The 2017 Realscreen Summit will be returning to the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C., from January 23 to 26.

The market and conference again welcomes content creators, distributors, agents, commissioners and multiplatform broadcasters working in the areas of unscripted and factual-entertainment programming, with nearly 1,300 delegates already registered to attend.

The opening day, January 23, will feature the Master Class “Storytelling Decoded,” with executives from Hoff Productions, Hunni Media and Discovery Communications, as well as “Talking About Talent” and “Budget Building.” There are two speed-networking events on the planner for that day—one dedicated to lifestyle and reality and another for history, science, natural history, travel and exploration. The “Pitching Partners” session will see production executives from Propagate Content, Pilgrim Media Group and Original Productions, among other companies, taking one-on-one three-minute pitches from potential production partners.

Also on the opening day, the “Meet an Expert” sessions focus on distributors and agents. Executives from distribution companies such as TVF International, DRG, Zodiak Rights, Endemol Shine International, TCB Media Rights, Passion Distribution, Cineflix Rights, PBS International, Beyond Distribution and all3media International are expected to take part. Among the agents planning to participate are executives from APA, Gersh Agency, Creative Artists Agency, Bienstock (a United Talent Agency company), WME, ICM Partners and Paradigm Talent Agency.

The main session on the Monday is “Under Pressure: The State of the Unscripted Nation.” This session will bring together stakeholders from various sectors of the industry, with an aim of looking at the challenges within the unscripted industry, as well as potential ways to find win-win scenarios for all involved. Executives from the Nonfiction Producers Association, Critical Content, Discovery, PactUS, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive are taking part.

On Tuesday, January 24, the “Coffee + Commissioners” networking opportunity will feature executives from PBS, APT Worldwide/American Public Television, Viasat World, ZDF Enterprises, Corus Entertainment, Discovery Networks International and National Geographic Channel. Cindy Holland, the VP of original content at Netflix, is set to deliver a keynote. There are planned “30 Minutes with” sessions featuring Russ McCarroll of HISTORY, Alon Orstein of TLC, Courtney White of Travel Channel, David Royle of Smithsonian Networks, Andie Beckerman of Syfy/USA Network, Eliot Goldberg of AMC/SundanceTV, Joseph Schneier of Discovery Channel, David Stefanou of WE tv, Kimberly Chessler of Lifetime and Devon Graham Hammonds of A&E, among others.

Philip Segal of Original Productions will be part of Tuesday’s “Meet a Mentor” program, which also features Tom Forman of Critical Content and Jenny Daly of T Group Productions. Other sessions on that day’s schedule include “VOD: Meet the New Boss;” “The Danger Zone,” which hears from producers and network execs about the riskiest projects they’ve undertaken; “Status Update,” about the interplay between social media and TV content; “Doc Talk: Who Wants What?” and “Diversity Works: Representing and Rating!” Tuesday will wrap with the Summit Showdown international pitch competition. Judges include Mary Donahue, the senior VP of nonfiction programming at Lifetime, and Howard Lee, the executive VP of development and production at TLC and general manager of Discovery Life.

Wednesday’s “Coffee + Commissioners” event boasts such execs as Alexandra Finlay of UKTV, Peter Andrews of SBS Television Australia, Marco Bresaz of AMC and SundanceTV, Chanel Carmona of CNN, Tracy Forsyth of BBC Worldwide and Michela Giorelli of Discovery Networks Latin America. Those taking part in “30 Minutes with” sessions include executives from OWN, Food Network, REELZ, LMN, GSN, National Geographic, Discovery Networks International, Science Channel and FYI.

Channel 4’s Jay Hunt will lead a keynote conversation, as will Rob Sharenow of A&E and Lifetime. “Meet a Mentor” sessions include Robin Ashbrook, executive producer of MasterChef and Little Big Shots, and Jane Root of Nutopia. Also on Wednesday, there will be sessions on “Life After the Sale,” “Building Brands,” “Inroads to Asia: Challenges and Opportunities,” “Trendwatch: Deja View or Tried and True?,” “Formats Under Fire,” “The Next Move for Niche Networks,” “America: Getting the Whole Picture” and “What Makes a Hit?” There are planned speed-pitching opportunities with executives from TLC, Esquire Network, A+E Networks, PBS, Oxygen, Corus and more.

The final day of the event will feature the sessions “Amping Up Unscripted,” about programming strategies across the myriad new platforms, and “What I Did, What I Learned,” with executives from Barcroft Productions and Lion Television.