MIPTV: The Week in Factual

NEW YORK: A testament to the strength of the factual-programming business, Reed MIDEM reported record attendance for MIPDoc and MIPFormats this year, with 1,890 participants, a 5-percent gain.

Indeed, the Martinez was abuzz with buyers screening shows at MIPDoc—around 1,600 titles were in the library. There were also a reported 200-plus co-production projects looking for development as part of the MIPDoc digital library.

The question of “What do buyers want?” was addressed on the opening day of MIPDoc in a special session moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati. Smithsonian’s David Royle, Discovery’s Nesta Owens, RMC Découverte’s Corentin Glutron and ZDF/ZDF Enterprises’s Kristina Hollstein offered up insight into their programming and acquisition strategies, before receiving the inaugural World Screen Factual Trendsetter Awards.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was also part of the MIPDoc program. During his presentation, Spurlock told delegates that all networks, commissioners and producers must have a digital strategy and should be looking for gaps in the marketplace to target underserved audiences. He also spoke about targeting Millennials, noting that 16- to 24-year-olds are consuming almost 70 percent of their content digitally.

The new cable network VICELAND has made a strong push to get Millennials back in front of the TV set. During MIPTV, VICE Media and CANAL+ Group announced a partnership that will see VICELAND become available exclusively to CANALSAT customers when it launches in France this fall.

On the digital front, SVODs and streaming services were busy stocking their factual slates. BBC Worldwide Asia inked a new licensing deal with China’s Tencent that includes more than 1,000 hours of documentaries from the BBC. FremantleMedia International placed a number of titles with key SVOD platforms across Asia, totaling more than 1,000 hours of programming. This included iflix taking on a number of documentaries and lifestyle programming, Thailand’s DOONEE scooping up entertainment and lifestyle shows, and iQiyi Taiwan going for cookery programs, among other series. The SVOD platform CuriosityStream, a relatively recent entrant to the marketplace, was among the buyers for the blue-chip science feature The Living Universe.

There was notable demand for true-crime programming from both linear and nonlinear platforms. Fatal Vows and Deadly Women were among the titles that Beyond Distribution licensed to Foxtel. Lifestyle fare proved popular as well, with ABC Commercial selling a package to Discovery Latin America and Scripps Networks Interactive launching 40 new titles in this genre at the market.

There were new partnerships for documentaries announced during MIPTV as well. PBS NOVA and Lion Television entered into an output deal. Under the pact, Lion Television will develop and produce a number of archaeology-based documentaries for the PBS strand. The initial agreement covers three films, with more in the development pipeline. German production company Autentic extended its co-production collaboration with Japanese public broadcaster NHK for docs. The next co-pro from the partnership is Inside the Tsunami, about the devastating Japanese tsunami that struck in 2011, and follows on their previous co-productions Human Body (a.k.a. Human Life) and 88 Hours—The Fukushima Meltdown. Idris Elba also unveiled a new doc project. His company Green Door Pictures is co-financing the documentary Cut from a Different Cloth, about the fashion label Superdry, with Woodcut Media.

For the latest news on new documentary projects, what’s trending in factual series and more, visit TVReal.ws.