As the new year gets underway, TBI talks to some of the biggest names in the global TV industry to get their thoughts on the major trends and best shows coming up in the next 12 months.
Here, Kate Beal, founder and CEO of UK-based Woodcut Media, talks expanding the factual offering, the cost of living crisis and the upcoming royal coronation.
What is the biggest growth area for your company this year?
The key word in this question is growth. Since the beginning of 2020 we’ve been working in survival mode and through the support of our partners along with sheer hard work this is no longer the case. We’re now in a real growth period and that’s hugely exciting for us as a company. We’ve consolidated our position as the UK’s leading true crime producer as well as supersizing our brand of female produced specialist factual. Now, our focus is on extending the range of our factual entertainment offering. In addition to this, our sales operation, Woodcut International, continues to grow a boutique catalogue of titles covering select Woodcut Media productions and an increasing amount of third-party content.
What is the key trend going to be this year?
From a content perspective it will be happiness, escapism and how to find that elusive pot of gold! The global cost of living crisis means that consumers will have a little less money to spend and will most likely be watching more TV. Although the current landscape is vastly different from the 2008 financial crash, there are still some similarities. During that period, a host of unique hits emerged. When purse strings are tightened this always leads to breakthrough programming ideas, and we will see the same over the coming year.
In terms of production, the instability within the broadcast market will have a huge impact on budgets and what we are able to produce. Currently some of the big buyers are losing share price value and this is having a real-world impact on production spend. As shows become more expensive to make, the focus will be on producers ensuring they maintain the same level of quality for their viewers so that threshold is not compromised.
What is your New Year’s resolution and why?
From a work perspective I never make resolutions – just a promise to make the most of every opportunity throughout the year. However, at home we take them very seriously! Every year my family and I sit down at the beginning of the year, take a big sharpie and write a personal goals list on a page of A4. One of my ten-year old daughter’s 2022 missions was to build a mansion in Minecraft for example. My four-year old wants to go rock climbing! So this year mine include… start outdoor swimming, take my eldest daughter to the opera, eat earlier in the evening, go for an overnight walk with my husband and organise a photographic exhibition of the natural world in my local area. Please hold me to this list… especially the swimming promise!
What will be the biggest headline in 2023 and why?
I sincerely hope that the only big headlines will be positive. We’ve had enough ‘big’ news over the past few years to last a lifetime. Let’s go with England’s Lionesses winning the World Cup!
What show (from outside of your own company) are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to watching the coronation of King Charles! As someone with a keen interest in the past, this is wonderful – history in the making. The difference between the first televised coronation of the late Queen in 1953 and her son’s will be enormous. As always, the TV coverage of the event itself will be flawless.
Read more from TBI’s 2023 Predictions
- Tom Fussell, CEO, BBC Studios
- Marco Nobili, EVP & Int’l GM, Paramount+
- Mikiko Nishiyama, EVP, Nippon TV
- Julian Bellamy, MD, ITV Studios
- Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming, Multichoice
- Marina Williams, co-CEO, Asacha Media Group
- James Burstall, CEO, Argonon
- Lucy Smith, entertainment division director, RX France
- Mark Fennessy, founder, CCO & chair, Helium
- Andrea Scrosati, Group COO & CEO Continental Europe, Fremantle
- Maaz Sheikh, CEO & co-founder, StarzPlay
- Kate Beal, founder & CEO, Woodcut Media