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Amazon fares badly in NPACT factual survey

Amazon’s approach to factual commissioning is leaving plenty much to be desired, according to a new survey from non-fiction body NPACT.

NPACT's John Ford

NPACT’s John Ford

The SVOD service fared badly in various sections of the survey, as Apple, Netflix, YouTube Red and traditional networks such as Smithsonian Channel and Oxygen were positively received.

Amazon was considered to have the worst pitching process and business affairs policies.

It was also thought of as among the most difficult to deal with, and among the worst at programme development, feedback, notes and editorial production oversight, and production management.

There was a ray of hope for the e-commerce giant’s commissioning division, however. It was still considered the second-most improved network in the past year, only ranking behind NBCUniversal’s female-skewed Oxygen cable channel.

Amazon has had a tumultuous year, with its studios chief, Roy Price, leaving after allegations of his behavior surfaced. Other top executives such as Morgan Wandell, Tara Sorenson, Joe Lewis and Conrad Riggs also left, and a new Amazon Studios chief is still being sought.

Other revelations from the study of US unscripted commissioners show A&E, ID, ABC, CBS, Smithsonian and History were among the best networks to work with for producers.

A&E and ID were jointly cited in the most category top tens, while Showtime was considered the best to deal with overall.

Linear channels with work to do in 2018 include MTV, which performed badly in the pitching, editorial production, feedback and programme development areas. It was also considered the most difficult to work with overall.

Apple was considered to have the best pitching process, while YouTube Red, Hulu and Netflix fared well in some aspects, but not all, of the content creation process.

The data rated 46 commissioners comprising networks, premium and basic pay cable channels and OTT or SVID services in eleven categories.

The survey, which covers 2017, was the first since NPACT was formed last year upon the merger of the Nonfiction Producers Association and PactUS.

Leaders in all survey categories

Pitching Process: Apple

Development Process: Smithsonian Channel

Executives’ Understanding of Network’s Brand/Programming Needs: ID

Business Affairs Process/Policies: History

Editorial Oversight/Notes Process: Smithsonian Channel

Production Management Process: NatGeo Wild

Financial Process/Policies: FYI

Scheduling/Promo Support: NBC

Most Improved Network: Oxygen

Most Respected Network: A&E, ID, Netflix (tie)

Best Network to Deal with Overall: Showtime