Speaking at the press briefing to kick-off the BBC Showcase 2019 taking place in Liverpool from Feb 17-20, Paul Dempsey, president global markets for BBC Studios, said that this year is the first annual BBC event where the broadcaster presents itself as an integrated content production and distribution entity.
Paul Dempsey, President Global Markets, BBC Studios said: “Once again, we’ll be welcoming customers and partners from around the world, including one of the biggest delegations from China, to Liverpool’s ACC. With this being our first Showcase as a joined-up production and distribution company, this year will be unlike any other as we bring together the best current and emerging producers, creators and pioneers across the industry with a unique and tailored programme of events.”
In April 2018, the new company was formed as a merger of commercial distribution arm BBC Worldwide and production company BBC Studios, which had previously been seen by the broadcaster as complementary companies. According to Dempsey, the major change is that the new look BBC Studios now produces content for global distribution and content made for specific countries and regions and not exclusively for the BBC, or limited to UK audiences.
The move is in line with the shift in the buying patterns of BBC Studios customers and the changing nature of content rights ownership and distribution in an on-demand future of media and entertainment. BBC Studios will look to use the annual showcase to form deeper relationships and strike long term deals for coproduction and commissioned content with global broadcasters and streaming video players.
The BBC Showcase has seen more worldwide customers than ever in attendance at over 700 including large contingents from Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
During the event, BBC Studios has announced a number of deals to licence content and formats across the globe:
A raft of global pre-sales of Simon Fuller and John Downer-produced Serengeti and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s Wild Metropolis were announced ahead of Showcase 2019. The six-part Natural History series, Serengeti, produced by XIX Entertainment and John Downer Productions for BBC and BBC Studios Distribution has been licensed to Discovery Channel in the US and Latin America, ZDF (Germany), SVT (Sweden), NRK (Norway), Telefonica’s Movistar+ (Spain), WOWOW (Japan), Ceska Televize (Czech Republic), SRF (Switzerland), ETV (Estonia) and LVT (Latvia).
Wild Metropolis, co-produced with PBS and Tencent Penguin Pictures, has sold to Arte (France and Germany), VRT (Belgium), NPO (Netherlands), MTVA (Hungary), Manoto (Iran) and TRT (Turkey). Both series have been snapped up by Channel 9 (Australia) and KAN-Israel. Elsewhere they will be shown on BBC Earth in South Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, The Nordics, Middle East and Poland, as well as on BBC Player in Singapore and Malaysia.
BBC Studios sold the format for Mistresses, an Ecosse Films production, to Japan’s NHK Enterprises. Mistresses is the first format sale by BBC Studios to NHK Japan and is the fifth format deal for the title.
In another landmark deal, BBC Studios also announced a collaboration with Phoenix Entertainment Group to create a local Mandarin adaptation of the award-winning, Life on Mars, from Kudos Film &Television. The deal marks BBC Studios’ first partnership with the Beijing-based production house, which has a reputation for producing top quality dramas for SVOD platforms.
David Weiland, EVP Asia, BBC Studios said: “I am delighted that our first partnership with Phoenix Entertainment Group is Life on Mars which ranks as one of the best dramas to come out of the UK and is a great example of the breadth and wealth of our scripted formats catalogue. We have a huge range of high quality scripted titles from Doctor Foster and Luther to Thirteen and In The Club, shows that would captivate Chinese audiences. I look forward to viewers enjoying this local version of Life on Mars as they go back 30 years in time.”
Kelvin Yau, SVP and GM Greater China, BBC Studios said: “Remaking Life on Mars for the region is a very exciting prospect. Drama local adaptation is a growing business in North Asia, particularly in China where it claims 48% of all format sales, and is a key focus for BBC Studios as we continue to bring the best of British TV to Chinese audiences.”