Catherine Mackin is director of programme acquisitions at UK channel operator UKTV. It runs a suite of digital channels and in recent times has acquired raft of US shows for its Dave, Watch, Alibi and Really channels. As the LA Screenings gets underway, she tells TBI about what UKTV will be looking for this year.
Broadly, what is UKTV’s acquisition strategy, how does the amount of acquired US content differ across the channels and how has that mix changed over time?
We have a network of 10 channels so each acquisitions strategy is tailored to suit the respective channel’s needs. For example a channel such as Dave has a mixed economy of BBC Worldwide content and homegrown commissions such as Red Dwarf X and Dave’s One Night Stand, which sit alongside US acquisitions such as Suits and Lizard Lick Towing – so quite an eclectic bag.
At the LA Screenings we’ll predominantly be focussing our attention on content that could work for Dave, Watch, Alibi and Really. We are always looking for shows that will make our channels stand out and that we can create a buzz around so it’s important they deliver new, unmissable, exclusive content.
What acquired (US) shows have performed best for you, what have been the notable successes?
I think it’s fair to say our hit rate with US drama has been relatively successful.
Suits (below), which was our first ever US drama on Dave, has just concluded its second series on the channel and has performed exceptionally well. Over on Watch shows such as Grimm, Perception, Beauty and the Beast and Being Human USA have all attracted a loyal following and on Really, Hart of Dixie was the top rating show on the channel last year (a second series is due to TX on Really in the summer).
Plus on our crime drama channel Alibi, Body of Proof was the channel’s top-rated show of 2012 and, alongside Castle and Rizzoli and Isles, has helped widen the audience demographic of the channel and attract more 16-34 year olds.
Do you think we’re in for a good year at the Screenings?
I think this could be a strong year at the Screenings. Each studio’s slate has a really broad mix of comedy and procedurals and there also seems to be a lot of serials this year. I’m excited to see what’s on offer.
Are you picking up on any trends in the shows that are on offer?
There seems to be a lot more comedy this year which is interesting and the media has also picked up on the number of spin-offs.
How soon after the Screenings will we hear about any deals?
It really does vary depending how quickly a deal can be agreed and the respective channel’s requirements. However do watch this space later this year and early next year…
Have you got any specific requirements this year?
We are focussing on picking up series for our Entertainment channels, so we are looking at comedy, a companion piece for Suits and procedural dramas.
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