Holly Hodges, the head of sales operations and VP of sales for Australia, New Zealand, North America, the U.K. and Ireland at Twofour Rights, talks to TV Real about some of the long-running successes in the company’s catalog.
It’s no easy feat for a series to be successful season after season, but Twofour Rights seems to have cracked the code with a number of unscripted titles in its catalog, from the lighter end of factual entertainment to the more serious factual content.
“Twofour Rights continues to offer flexible and innovative shows,” says Hodges. “We deliver adaptable programming that rolls out across the globe but also has the scope to be truly relevant to viewers internationally.”
Headed into its 15th installment is The Hotel Inspector—led by hotelier Alex Polizzi—which is one of the longest-running and most successful titles on Channel 5 in the U.K. “The last season reached more than 40 percent over the slot average, and it brings new audiences year on year,” says Hodges. “It’s a format that works for both daytime or prime time, in the U.K. or internationally, and continues to attract great audiences through new episodes, VOD and repeats.”
Born to Kill has been around for seven seasons, with the show securing sales in more than 100 territories around the globe. “It was a true breakthrough title for us,” says Hodges. “We can offer volume as well as proven ratings success and critical acclaim.”
Extreme Cake Makers is launching a fourth season in the U.K. The series “is more entertainment-focused, with food at its heart and some very likable characters, delivering broadcasters volume and flexibility to schedule,” says Hodges. “It’s another great traveler in our catalog, with more than 100 territories that have acquired rights.”
Also a long-runner for Twofour Rights is the Impossible franchise. “Impossible Engineering was originally picked up by Discovery’s Science Channel in the U.S. and UKTV in the U.K. for its Yesterday channel, and quickly became a global hit,” says Hodges. “Now with a combination of six seasons, including our spin-off Impossible Railways, spanning 48 episodes and sales to over 120 territories worldwide, it bridges well with the more fact-ent appeal of our catalog.”
Then there is the Weekender constructed-reality brand, which recently returned for a seventh installment as part of ITV’s double-season recommission. “Social media has played a key part in the success of this show, and it’s an integral part of our promotion to mount a 360-degree campaign, especially for this particular genre,” says Hodges.
According to Hodges, returning series are appealing because they provide buyers with both volume and flexibility. She notes that the company offers up “combinations of lighter factual-entertainment shows and the more serious factual, both of which are long-running returning formats that clients can build into their schedules.”
In order to increase the chances that a show will come back season after season, Hodges notes the importance of having universal themes and relatable subject matter. “But I also think it’s about us offering a very clear promise in our expertise—our ability to deliver in defined genres,” she says. “Buyers often want to return because they know Twofour is focused on delivering for the international audience from the very beginning. We’re offering stripped, high volume and, most importantly, cost-effective programming.”
Another crucial element for longevity is getting commitments from strong on-screen talent. Hodges cites, as an example, The Hotel Inspector’s Polizzi, who “combines credible business advice with a no-nonsense approach and natural charm,” she says. But once you secure a top-notch presenter, how do you ensure that they stick around? There has to be “trust that they will be represented truthfully. Also, once a show’s re-commissioned, it gives talent that added assurance.”
Hodges adds: “Creativity is—and I hope will always remain—at the core of television and good product does stand out to buyers…. So if the content’s right, it will appeal and find a place in their schedules.”