Louise Pedersen told TBI in her first interview since returning to helm the company Pedersen that the scripted investment is part of a wider plan to move All3Media International beyond plain distribution and towards a indie studio model.
“We’re doubling our investment in drama this year,” Pedersen said. “Coming back, one of the things I wanted to do was move us away from just being a sales house, in the sense of coming in at the end of the process. I wanted to move us up the food chain, and get us more involved in drama development, helping with financing and bringing in coproduction partners.”
In terms of where it will place its drama bets, All3Media International wants both the edgy high-end drama series that drive cable and SVOD viewing, and the more comfortable story-of-the-week shows that attract broad free TV audiences.
“When we look at the content strategy, our needs are quite wide,” Pedersen said. “At the high end, we want big, ambitious shows that require and can bring in coproducers. At the moment, these tend to be more in the thriller and genre areas.
“There is also another prong, which is more about shows that can return, play more to a family audience, and are maybe more detective- based; shows like Midsomer Murders, Grantchester, Brokenwood Mysteries and Inspector George Gently. These are part of a whole tier of shows that are fundable from a UK broadcaster, plus a tax credit and distribution advance, and they play in primetime in key territories.”
All3Media International will invest directly in content through first-look and development deals; and it can bankroll overheads and development for start-ups in return for distribution rights.
Youth-skewed drama is also on the company’s radar. “There is also a place for more niche, younger-skewing shows like Clique (above), which is from Bryan Elsley, who created Skins, and is cool and contemporary,” said Pedersen.
Liberty Global and Discovery Communications’ ownership has also opens up other opportunities. Last August, Liberty said that All3Media was producing a quartet of dramas, with its UK cable platform, Virgin Media, effectively the commissioner.
The shows will play on Virgin’s streaming service and on Liberty’s SVOD services in several territories, and All3Media International will sell the shows elsewhere.
“We have three nearly ready to announce,” said Pedersen. “The scripts are being written, so they are in very active development. We hope there will be decisions about which ones are greenlit soon.”