Exclusive: Disney+ EMEA ‘open to copros’ as originals strategy continues


Disney+ is open to coproductions across EMEA as its originals output continues across the region, according to its VP of originals, Liam Keelan.

The Mouse House has endured a turbulent six months and CEO Bob Iger recently confirmed plans to cut content spend by around $3bn and return to third-party sales to bolster profits.

The streamer is continuing to focus on producing between five and seven shows – across genres but tilting towards scripted – in each of its key markets of the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Liam Keelan

It unveiled plans in 2021 for more than 50 originals across EMEA by 2024 and some have already started landing, including Dancing Ledge Productions’ Wedding Season and BBC Studios’ Extraordinary.

Model behaviour

Almost all its EMEA shows to date have been commissioned by Disney+ on an all-rights basis, with EMEA series then heading to Hulu in the US.

But Liam Keelan, who was appointed VP of original TV productions for Disney+ in 2020, told TBI he was “happy to look at different models.”

“What we have done with many of the series commissioned so far is to take all rights and everywhere – and where there is Disney+, then we have a window on that service and then obviously on Hulu in the States.

“But that isn’t to say we wouldn’t look at coproductions or other models – every case can be looked on in its own merits,” he added. Asked if Disney+ would consider ordering a show with a partner in one of its key EMEA markets, Keelan said he “wouldn’t rule it out.”

Keelan, who was speaing at the recent GrowthLab event in London, said local content remained “really important” for its European markets but added that Disney wanted to avoid “being too prescriptive over genre or sub genres”.

The former BBCS exec continued: “We are still at a very early stage and what we are looking for are things that feel different to what else is in the market. We don’t want to replicate what else is out there – we want new voices or established voices with stories that haven’t been told yet, or with twists on existing genres.”

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