Show of the week: Online and Lying

An unusual but interesting option for buyers seeking thought-provoking factual entertainment is Online and Lying from Karen Young’s indie distributor Orange Smarty, which she established after exiting the now-defunct Electric Sky.

Orange Smarty will be in town selling the show, a Channel 4 commission from UK indie Knickerbockerglory about the issues arising from the prevalence of the internet and social media. Presented by YouTube star Emily Hartridge, the show explores themes such as stolen online identities, cyber self-harming, phishing, catfishing, honeytrapping, hacking, selfie obsessives and net hoaxing.

Hartridge meets victims, perpetrators and social media experts to build a picture of where the dangers of web surfing truly lie. Young says the show works for a core 18-35 demographic, but also for older viewers looking for information on something they may not naturally understand.

“We listen to our buyers and what they need, and when the something like this comes along we know it’s right,” she says, adding many channels are looking to “bridge the gap” between them and their younger audiences, “and a way to do that is to bring in someone who already has a very big following online”.

Young expects the central and eastern European interest in the show to come from the SVOD space, which is fast growing in the region.

“There’s been a big increase in multiplatform in the CEE region, and with the legislation around pay TV in Russia, [there’s more opportunity],” she says. “We’re not sure what effect that will have, but there’s definitely been an increase in OTT and SVOD models and this content is perfect for those platforms.”

Orange Smarty is close to closing 20 deals after launching the show at MIPTV, where it was one of the distributor’s most-requested titles.

The show: Online and Lying
The producer: Knickerbockerglory
The distributor: Orange Smarty
The broadcaster: Channel 4 (UK)
The concept: One-off doc in which YouTube star, Emily Hartridge investigates the darker sides of the internet