Showcase: Passion Distribution


Despite a challenging last couple of years for the media industry at large, Passion Distribution has proven to be resilient and has adapted to ensure it continues to provide a pipeline of quality content to its growing base of customers. “We’re focusing on being nimble and innovative in our approach to content distribution, leveraging digital platforms and finding ways to maximize reach and revenue potential for our partners and clients,” says Emmanuelle Namiech, CEO. “This approach has served us well in being intentional in our content selection and flexible in pivoting to platforms where content is consumed.”

Passion has always had a remarkable track record in the traditional licensing market, which has allowed it to maintain meaningful relationships and develop new ones across a range of territories, broadcasting platforms and now the direct-to-consumer arena. “At our core, we are motivated to secure the creation of powerful IP, which is why we have developed an incredible network of the best-in-class producers,” Namiech adds. “We have heavily invested in a presales strategy that helps to ensure compelling content gets greenlit, and we’ve worked collaboratively with our sister companies to fully fund and commission notable projects, such as Secrets of the Superfactories, #Trump: How Social Media Changed the Presidency or Engineering Reborn, where we identified gaps in the market.”

The company’s financing models remain diverse, incorporating a mix of funding approaches to support its programming. “From traditional advances to innovative partnerships and co-production deals, we’re exploring every avenue to ensure the continued production and distribution of compelling content,” says Namiech. “As a distribution partner, we are committed and ready to provide both editorial, commercial and funding support in ways that help content be made and monetized.

“In a market polarized between large distributors and a number of smaller players, Passion Distribution stands out with its reputation, unique style of unscripted content and depth of catalog,” she continues.

The company’s drive stems from its ability to be a leader in supplying top-shelf, prime, unscripted content that is “thought-provoking and diverse enough to stand out and engage a multitude of audiences across multiple platforms and territories,” Namiech says.

As a result, it has continued to weather the storm in terms of core licensing and expanded into new activities, including via its subsidiary UpStream Media. With a growing portfolio of 18 YouTube channels receiving more than 20 million views a month across a range of themes such as science, history, lifestyle and single-IP channels, Passion is meeting a growing demand for multi-format content.

Given the importance of developing shows with a global appeal but adaptable internationally, Passion has curated a catalog of standout shows that have built a solid legacy, such as Paradise Hotel, which has been running for over 19 years in the Nordics, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Worst Driver and Love in the Flesh.

“As well as the need for global formats, the hunt for programs that enable viewers to hear from a range of diverse voices is something we are committed to providing and highlighting as an imperative source of programming for the industry,” Namiech says. Shows such as Better Date than Never, for example, demonstrate the desire for original perspectives from all walks of life.

Passion’s factual entertainment slate is headlined by Help! We Bought a Hotel, an aspirational, observational documentary series that tells the stories of some of the brave people who have given up their jobs, their homes and their lives to chase that dream in some of the prettiest locations in Europe.

It is also meeting the demand for premium documentaries with Gold: A Journey with Idris Elba, a feature-length documentary that narrates the human story of gold and how it has shaped cultures, religions and entire economies around the world.

“Passion’s proactive approach has served us well and helped us to pave the way in solutions for the current needs of the market and gives us a firm standing at the front of the industry when it comes to distribution, global format sales and cross-platform delivery,” Namiech says.

“Being adaptable to the needs of our clients’ goals has led us to developing ideas and strategies and pivot into new areas of business. As well as nurturing partnerships and multiplying funding models, Passion has invested in the branded content agency CoLab X, with a view to continue building our ability to help create exciting IP. We are currently developing several projects with the exceptional team, and very excited about the opportunities for the year ahead.”