MIPTV: The Week in Factual


FAST has emerged as a buzzword across all sectors of the business, but factual distributors appear to be benefiting the most from the quickly growing segment. That was clear from many of the headlines out of MIPTV last week, which in its reimagined three-day format brought the MIPDoc screenings library into the Palais.

Of note, Love The Planet, a new environmental channel from Love TV Channels, has become available on Samsung TV Plus in Europe, and BBC Studios launched its 12th FAST channel, BBC Earth, on Amazon Freevee and Plex in the U.S. At the packed FAST & GLOBAL Summit on Tuesday, Shaun Keeble, VP of digital at Banijay Rights, highlighted that the company operates 22 FAST channels, including popular services built around reality brands like Deal or No Deal, Survivor and The Biggest Loser, and Horizons, focused on U.K. entertainment. Rakuten TV unveiled its new factual entertainment channel, Real.

Ruth Berry, managing director of ITV Studios’ global commercial division, highlighted the opportunities in FAST channels in her Media Mastermind keynote on Tuesday and discussed the importance of high-end natural history to the company. “For us, a distribution business, accessing natural history has been quite tough—it’s a pretty closed genre,” Berry noted in discussing the rationale behind the company’s 2022 acquisition of Plimsoll Productions. “This seemed like a brilliant opportunity for us to enter the natural history space, which we’ve seen go from strength to strength over the last few years. To marry natural history with us from a deficit-financing perspective is interesting because the size of the budgets is much more like dramas. You’re looking at co-financing, co-producers, deficit financing and putting together enormous-scale shows that take even longer than a drama to produce and taking them to market. It’s a very different cadence but a brilliant one. It’s a brilliant partnership, and I’m excited as to where the journey can take us next with Plimsoll.”

The market also featured the MIPDoc International Buyer Screenings, the brand-new Canneseries international documentary competition and a dedicated producers hub and lounge for those in the factual and formats communities. “Each April, MIPTV is the biggest week in unscripted,” Lucy Smith, director of MIPTV and MIPCOM Cannes, told TV Real Weekly. Two joint winners were selected at MIPDoc for the Buyers Coup de Coeur—Prison Project “Little Scandinavia” and The Caravan—while Let Me Go Home won the MIPDoc Pitch.

Other significant headlines last week included ZDF Studios teaming up with Tom Gamlich and Jan Fritzowsky to launch CONTENT LADEN, which will focus on developing and producing factual entertainment formats; and taking on the rights to the award-winning biodiversity documentary Colonies in Conflict. National Geographic and BBC Studios’ Documentary Unit greenlit a three-part limited series that traces the rise and fall of scientist and explorer Tommy Thompson. Escapade Media secured select rights for the lifestyle culinary travelogue series The Spice Trails: Latin America, a co-production between Zee Plus and TelevisaUnivision. Canal+ Group’s Planète+ commissioned Pernel Media to produce and develop 1914, Summer in Hell, a docudrama telling the story of the first summer of World War I. And the documentary The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution was acquired by Republic Pictures for worldwide distribution by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

Catch up on these stories and more on TVReal.com, screen clips of a wealth of factual titles on TVRealScreenings.com and visit our recent TV Real Screenings Festival to learn more about the buzziest titles available today.