TV Real Festival Preview

The boost the factual industry was expecting from the Hollywood strikes last year never fully materialized, with commissions still on a downswing, but the slump isn’t as aggressive as what we’ve seen in other parts of the business. Nevertheless, challenges remain, from contending with reduced content spend across the board at broadcasters and streamers to coping with the risk aversion that has set in amid all the uncertainty in the business.

With that rubric in mind, we knew we wanted to extend our expertise in thematic virtual festivals to the factual and formats businesses. Building on the success of the TV Kids Festival, the TV Kids Summer Festival, the TV Drama Festival and the FAST Festival, the inaugural TV Real Festival next week will spotlight the survival strategies being deployed by non-scripted distributors, across tape sales and formats, to navigate the landscape today. If you haven’t registered, there’s still time to do so here. Only those registered will receive access to our Exclusive White Paper featuring key intel from the event in a compact, easy-to-digest format.

The festival opens on June 18 with our superpanel on factual distribution trends with BossaNova’s Paul Heaney, Off the Fence’s Bo Stehmeier, Albatross World Sales’ Anne Olzmann and ZDF Studios’ Nikolas Hülbusch. Next, we’ll hear from Warner Bros. Discovery’s Kathleen Finch, chairman and CEO of U.S. networks at Warner Bros. Discovery, who oversees a bouquet of leading channel brands, among them Discovery, HGTV, Food Network and Investigation Discovery. At noon EDT, TV Real Festival viewers can watch our keynote conversation with Dawn Porter, the founder of Trilogy Films whose credits include Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court. We’ll get a deep dive into NBCUniversal Entertainment’s formats and factual strategies with Corie Henson and Rachel Smith as day one comes to a close.

The Wednesday schedule starts with our formats superpanel, assembling Fremantle’s Vasha Wallace, Banijay’s James Townley, BBC Studios’ André Renaud and All3Media International’s Nick Smith. We’ll then take an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities of rolling out FAST factual channels with insights from Autentic’s Patrick Hörl, Blue Ant Media’s Jamie Schouela and Cineflix Rights’ Mike Gould. Wildlife takes center stage in a panel featuring ORF-Enterprise’s Armin Luttenberger, PBS Distribution’s Joe Barrett and Terra Mater Studios’ Berend Dreier. The 1:30 p.m. EDT session will feature a keynote conversation with Michael von Würden, managing director of Snowman Productions, the outfit behind the megahit Married at First Sight.

The Thursday agenda opens with a research session featuring Fred Black of Ampere Analysis, outlining commissioning trends in factual. The morning session also delivers a keynote with classicist and presenter Mary Beard, whose latest project, Meet the Roman Emperor with Mary Beard from Lion Television, aired on BBC Two earlier this year. True crime continues to dominate the factual business, so we’ve convened a panel with GRB Media Ranch’s Sophie Ferron, TVF International’s Poppy McAlister and Woodcut Media’s Kate Beal, who also chairs the Association of True Crime Producers, on achieving success and driving innovation within the genre. The inaugural TV Real Festival closes with a keynote from Arthur Smith, whose extensive stable of shows at A. Smith & Co. Productions includes Hell’s Kitchen and American Ninja Warrior.

Register for the TV Real Festival here.