Spotlight on World Screen Content Trendsetter Awards


For the sixth consecutive year, World Screen is teaming up with Reed MIDEM at MIPCOM to present the Content Trendsetter Awards to four programming executives to honor their contributions to the television industry. This year’s winners, Bonnier Broadcasting’s Cathrine Wiernik, Mediaset’s Zelda Stewart, UKTV’s Alexandra Finlay and Stan’s Mike Sneesby, reflect today’s varied and ever-evolving media landscape.

As viewers have more and more entertainment options and an increasing number of devices from which to enjoy films and TV programs, the challenge to all broadcasters, channel groups and streaming services today is to extend their offerings in order to reach viewers wherever they may be and on whatever screen they prefer. As a consequence, network schedules and on-demand menus must be rich in variety. It is the main responsibility of the four Content Trendsetter award-winners to source must-watch programming that will draw viewers and brand their networks or services.

They will be presented their awards at the end of the Acquisition Superpanel: Global Strategies, which will take place on Wednesday, October 19, in the Grand Auditorium in the Palais des Festivals from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. The discussion, moderated by World Screen’s group editorial director, Anna Carugati, will range from spotting shows that work with local audiences to negotiating the complex maze of rights required to provide shows on multiple platforms.

Cathrine WiernikCathrine Wiernik 
Director of Programs
Bonnier Broadcasting, Sweden

As director of programs for Bonnier Broadcasting, Cathrine Wiernik oversees acquisitions, local productions and drama for all channels and platforms within Bonnier Broadcasting. This includes the free-TV station TV4 in Sweden, a group of basic cable channels and the pan-Scandinavian SVOD platform, C More. Acquisitions play an important role on all of TV4 Group’s channels and platforms. They are the backbone of niche channels like Sjuan, TV12, TV4 guld, TV4 Komedi, TV4 Fakta and TV4 Film, and are an essential part of C More’s offering. But even on flagship TV4, imported programs, particularly serialized drama, if exclusive in nature and strategically scheduled, can draw high ratings. Two such examples are Broadchurch and The Night Manager. Recent acquisitions include The Young PopeVictoria and Cold Feet. In the areas of co-financing or co-producing, Wiernik is keen on getting into projects early and forming alliances with the right partners in order to secure exclusive rights.

Zelda StewartZelda Stewart
Head of Acquisitions
Mediaset, Italy

Having to fill the schedules of a broad spectrum of free-TV, pay-TV and online offerings, Zelda Stewart is acquiring product year-round. As the director of acquisitions at Italy’s leading commercial broadcast group, Mediaset, she buys for the three terrestrial networks, Canale 5, Italia 1 and Retequattro, as well as for eight thematic free-TV channels. She also looks for product for a bouquet of 11 pay-TV channels, the stand-alone SVOD platform Infinity, the nonlinear catch-up service Premium Play and the online service Premium Online. Stewart acquires more than 1,000 episodes of TV series just for the group’s free-TV channels. Recent acquisitions from the U.S. include Game of SilenceShades of BlueSupergirlBlindspot and Lethal Weapon, while ArrowGothamGrey’s Anatomy and Mr. Robot are among the American series that have worked well on Mediaset offerings. Stewart also sources a good deal of European product, including TV movies and series from France, Germany and Spain.

Alexandra FinlayAlexandra Finlay
Head of Acquisitions & Co-Productions

UKTV, the biggest multichannel broadcaster in the U.K., jointly owned by BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, consists of ten linear channels and its video-on-demand service, UKTV Play. The network’s 78,000 hours of scheduled airtime is filled with a mixture of original productions and acquired programming: first-run and exclusive content secured from global third-party suppliers ranging from the Hollywood studios to independent producers, as well as archive from BBC Worldwide, with whom UKTV has an output agreement. Alexandra Finlay, the company’s head of acquisitions and co-productions, acquires content from third parties for UKTV’s entertainment channels, Dave, W, Gold and Alibi, as well as for UKTV’s affiliated nonlinear services. Acquisitions are instrumental in helping to drive UKTV’s growth, delivering commercially attractive profiles and helping to define the network brands. Finlay, who is also responsible for co-productions across all ten channels, has secured some of UKTV’s biggest hits, including Castle, Grimm, Murdoch Mysteries, Storage HuntersRizzoli & IslesSuits and Quantico.

Mike Sneesby Mike Sneesby 
Stan, Australia

A few years ago, in response to consumers’ changing viewing habits, the Australian media company Nine Entertainment Co. started looking for a partner to launch an SVOD service. They formed a joint venture with Fairfax Media and launched Stan with Mike Sneesby as CEO. In the small but extremely competitive Australian market there are already two SVOD providers, Netflix and Presto, but under Sneesby’s leadership, Stan has lined up an attractive offering for TV and movie fans. It ranges from cop thrillers, romantic dramas and comedies to cooking adventures, documentaries and natural history shows. A number of much buzzed-about series from around the world premiere exclusively on Stan, including UnREALPowerRoadiesThe Last ShipTransparentAsh Vs Evil DeadAngie Tribeca and 11.22.63. Stan also has an exclusive output deal with Showtime for such series as BillionsDiceThe Circus and Masters of Sex, along with the upcoming Twin Peaks. Stan’s movie offering includes recent blockbusters, franchises, classic and international films.