Sales Talk: Hat Trick Intl’s Sarah Tong on acronyms & ‘Ozark’s return

Sarah Tong

Buyers, hungry for new content, are making their way to the UK capital for meetings, presentations and drinks – or logging on from across the globe – all this week, as London TV Screenings gets underway tomorrow.

With so many new productions being showcased, TBI has been checking in with execs from international distributors of all sizes as they share the best new shows on their slates, along with the top trends to watch out for in 2022.

DI Ray


What’s your standout show for London TV Screenings and why?

DI Ray is a compelling crime drama for ITV, written and created by Maya Sondhi and produced by Jed Mercurio’s HTM starring Parminder Nagra and Gemma Whelan. Fresh, relevant and thought provoking, DI Rachita Ray is a police officer who takes on a case that forces her to confront a lifelong personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage.

What show are you most looking forward to in 2022 (not including your own)?

Series 4 (part 2) of Ozark! Midwich Cuckoos, Gallows Pole, Anatomy of a Scandal, possibly might watch S2 of Bridgerton (but only because it has the brilliant Nicola Coughlan of Derry Girls in it!)


What single distribution trend will define the next 12 months?

VOD – whether it’s AVOD, SVOD, FVOD or any other kind of VOD – this area continues to grow and dominate. We know as consumers that we all invest in various platforms whether to binge watch new series or just for catch up. With this comes huge opportunity for new platforms, but also it’s harder to get the right level of investment from linear channels who we still rely on for many commissions of original ideas or formats.

Three words to describe the global distribution industry right now are… 

Risk-averse. Consolidated. VOD.

Which country’s programming will boom this year & why?

I think buyers are more open to looking at both scripted and factual not just coming out of the US and the UK, the snobbery that was previously seen from some European or maybe Australasian content is on the way out and so I hope that continues. We’re all used to subtitles and a bigger variety of accents from the English-speaking world, so it could come from anywhere.

Rewind to this time in 2018. You have the same knowledge as you do now – what would be the first thing you’d do?

Make the most of being able to travel!

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