Teachers’ TV

Angela Taylor, acquisitions controller, Teachers’ TV

The buyer: Angela Taylor, acquisitions controller

The channel: Teachers’ TV

Recent acquisitions: The Earth From Above (France Televisions), The Rise of Man (France Televisions), Ultimate China (Pilot), Electric Science (Electric Sky), NAF Street Kid (Ruth Diskin Films), Escape from Antartica (Network Ireland), Drugs & Brain (Arte)

Teachers’ TV is a UK free-to-air government funded channel and is operated by Education Digital, a consortium between Brook Lapping Productions, ITV and the Institute of Education. It buys a large amount of factual and educational programming. It also has a video-on-demand service via Virgin Media’s cable TV platform.

What is Teachers’ TV’s programming strategy?

It’s watched by teachers, school managers, anyone and everyone who’ve got something to do with schools. It’s also obvious that other people stumble upon us.

What is the mix between acquisition and local productions?

A large part of the schedule is produced ourselves – it’s about 80% locally produced and 20% acquisitions. I acquire shows to complement things we produce.

We have an extensive shopping list, particularly in science and history. For example, I’ve picked up lots of documentaries on the Ancient Egyptians, World War I, the Cold War and the Holocaust. It’s a fantastic channel to acquire for because it’s got an actual shopping list, which does exist. I source docs all around the world so if something needs reversioning we’ll do that.

What have you acquired recently?

We acquire a lot of shows from Marathon, CCI, Electric Sky, Beyond and TVF. We’re looking to do something with Parthenon and we’re talking to Nat Geo in the US to see if we can pull a package together. We bought Slaves without Chains recently from RTE in Ireland and The Rise of Man from France Televisions.

I’ve acquired a 42 hour package of various titles from Channel 4 Learning / Espresso Education. We’ve done a lot of work with Channel 4 International but they’ve now done a first look deal with Discovery.

Last year we ran an Israeli/Palestinian week, looking at issues around that. We were supposed to be filming in Gaza when Alan Johnston was kidnapped. It was a co-pro with Al-Jazeera which was cancelled, then rescheduled. In the end we did film a show, Two Schools in Nablus looking at the issues in schools there. To cover that I was asked to find something looking at the Israeli side of things and acquired A Little Peace of Mind.

What are you looking for?

I’m going to see if I can get the rights to White Tribes, which aired on Channel 4 and Who Are You Calling A Nigger? We’re looking for shows on the wider issues around citizenship, gender issues, race, and parenting.

Do you acquire new media rights?
I manage to acquire online rights to about 92% of the docs. Of that, probably 90% I may get the full range, download, streaming and simulcast.

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