Innovative methods of getting projects into production was the subject of discussion for a group of top U.S. and European producers, networks and streamers during a debate at the AVP Summit in Trieste.
The panel brought together the likes of Amplify Pictures CCO Rachel Eggebeen, Media Res International head Lars Blomgren, Cattleya Co-CEO Marco Chimenz, Nicola Serra from Palomar, Prime Video’s Davide Nardini and France Télévisions’ Head of International Scripted Series Morad Koufane, who each outlined how their operations could help projects get financed and into production.
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Kicking off the session, Eggebeen talked up Amplify’s model of “enhanced acquisitions.” This means independently financing, developing and green light a project for production before selling it to a buyer, who will still be able to “have their fingerprints on it and be involved.”
To date, Amplify, which former Amazon Studios boss Joe Lewis founded last year as an indie, has made two seasons of HBO doc series 100 Foot Wave using the model. Former Netflix EMEA exec Eggebeen, who joined Amplify recently as Chief Content Officer, said: “Our next hurdle is to apply this model in scripted.”
She revealed Amplify is working on a project that will shoot in Italy about “two young American girls who love” the country. “Our plans is to fully indie finance using our model or use some combination of pre-sales to get the show made,” she added. “The goal is to get things made quickly, innovatively and in a way, we have agency of how they get made.”
Chimenz, whose company Cattleya is behind shows such as ZeroZeroZero and Gomorrah, said streamers are becoming more flexible in their rights approach as they are “retrenching and in some cases more cautious about what they spend.”
“That’s interesting for producers who have the expertize to go round the world putting together the financing… There is a possibility of retaining rights, which is very desirable in the long term. Only by retaining rights can a company achieve long-term growth.”
Chimenz added that the shift away from all-rights deals with streamers had brought distributors back into play. “Sales companies at one point looked like belonging to the past but look like they’re part of the present and the future,” he added.
Blomgren, who joined The Morning Show maker Media Res as international chief from Banijay earlier this year, said many international producers see the streamers’ strategy shifts as “a return to the comfort zone” of piecemeal dealmaking and working with overseas partners.
“When the streamers started looking at making money it changed everything for us,” he added. “They started carving out territories [in their deals] and not paying for things they didn’t need. That’s a challenge but also an opportunity. Producers are like bumblebees, it’s amazing how much we can fly.”
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