MIPTV: The Week in Factual

MIPDoc, along with MIPFormats, drew some 1,800 participants the weekend before MIPTV, and in the doc sector, high-end projects reigned supreme.

The 4K series Big Pacific, distributed by ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE), was the most-watched program in the MIPDoc Screenings. The blue-chip natural-history co-production had a special premiere at the market as well. The screening was preceded by a MIPDoc superpanel, moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati, which featured executives from ZDFE, NHNZ, PBS, CCTV9, ARTE France and ZDF weighing in on co-pros.

TV presenter and philosopher Jason Silva, of Brain Games fame, was in Cannes to present his new series Origins: The Journey of Humankind. FOX Networks Group Content Distribution launched the program to the global market at a MIPDoc lunch, which featured a conversation with Silva and National Geographic’s Tim Pastore, moderated by Carugati.

In another MIPDoc session, Nat Geo’s Hamish Mykura, Foxtel’s Hannah Barnes, Canal+’s Isabelle Antraygue and ORF’s Andrew Solomon discussed acquisition and commissioning trends. The lively conversation, also moderated by Carugati, was followed by the presentation of the second-annual World Screen Factual Trendsetter Awards. The buyers and commissioners on the panel said they were looking for everything from premium natural history to high-end lifestyle series to docs that have immersive experiences such as VR.

The range of deals scored throughout the week in Cannes echoed this diversity. PBS International landed sales for its 18-hour documentary film series The Vietnam War, which boasts the auspices of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and for the topical doc The Age of Consequences, which deals with the military and political implications of climate change. TCB Media Rights licensed a pair of royal-themed shows to SBS in Australia, while Beyond Distribution lined up two new broadcasters for the science-infused Mythbusters: The Search. GRB Entertainment secured sales on a number of docuseries, including Twisted Tales of My 9 to 5, in Poland and Africa. True crime continued to prove popular at the market as well. The Sky free-to-air channel Pick ordered a second season of Britain’s Most Evil Killers and its international counterpartWorld’s Most Evil Killers—both are Woodcut Media titles sold by Keshet International.

Further emphasizing the trend toward high-end, blue-chip fare, ORF-Enterprise signed a range of agreements for titles from its Universum strand, including Sky River of the Himalayas and The Canary Islands. Terra Mater Factual Studios was at the market with a slew of high-quality nature programming, along with a brand-new 4K science highlight presented by Sir David Attenborough.

Speaking of blue-chip productions, ITV Studios Global Entertainment inked an exclusive first-look deal with Maramedia covering all of the Glasgow-based producer’s natural-history programming. And Blue Ant Media announced a two-year production and distribution output agreement with Blink Films that will see seven new original series for Love Nature, a joint venture between Blue Ant and Smithsonian Networks.

As the bar continues to be raised for the level of quality expected in documentary programming, co-productions are becoming key. The Japanese public broadcaster NHK announced that it is teaming up with the Welsh-language pubcaster S4C on a new series, The Body, which combines cutting-edge science and the latest UHD imaging technology. The two broadcasters are also looking for more co-pro partners to come on board.

TV Real Weekly will continue to chart the trends in the factual space, so be sure to visit TVReal.ws for all of the latest news about new blue-chip international co-pros, productions in development and more.