What Buyers Want: Lauren Whitelaw, head of programming , OUTtv

With a flurry of markets, conferences & co-production-focused events taking place this month, Mark Layton speaks to key buyers about the shows they want and the models being used to pay for them

Lauren Whitelaw

Lauren Whitelaw, head of programming , OUTtv

What’s on your commissioning wishlist at the moment?

We are always looking for stories and programming which is centered on queer people and their narratives. In particular, unique competition shows, docuseries and dating shows with interesting talent attached or off-beat subjects. Pitches must be entirely LGBTQ+ focused.

Are you open to pitches?

Yes, always. It is helpful to have pitches include a visual pitch deck, pilot script (for scripted projects) and a budget top sheet. We champion creators, storytellers and contributors from the LGBTQ+ community – so that also guides the focus of our commissioning.

What are your financing models like?

We have a huge range, dependent on the project, the talent, the country of production, and exclusivity.

What can you contribute towards productions?

Up to 100% – and we like to see details on any fund applications when relevant.

What upcoming shows are you most looking forward to? What is it about those projects that excites you?

It’s great to be doing more multiple season/returning shows, so I’m looking forward to new seasons of Gogo For The Gold, For the Love Of DILFS, X-Rated City, a franchise that we are expanding to Los Angeles and the fourth season of Pride, a docuseries.

For new programming and series, we’re particularly excited about our first feature-length romcom – It’s All Sunshine And Rainbows, starring Priyanka, winner of Drag Race Canada, stand up series Live At The Queer Comedy Club and the documentary Some Girls Hate Dresses, a product of our documentary fund in coordination with the Iris Prize and the University of Aberystwyth.

Sugar Highs

What is your acquisitions strategy?

We look for offbeat or provocative WTF shows, docs and movies that have a high percentage of our territories available (in the English-speaking world), we also acquire foreign language programming, dubbed or subtitled.

Are you on the lookout for any particular genres or types of show at the moment?

Unscripted projects do particularly well for us, especially dating formats that are unabashedly queer such as For The Love Of DILFs and Dating Unlocked.
We are also looking for more female-led and focused series. For scripted content, we like webseries (generally around 11 minutes per episode) or lower budget drama/comedy and limited series (like Avocado Toast and Cam Boy).

What kind of rights would you be looking to acquire?

SVOD, AVOD, FAST for the English-speaking world and broadcast rights in Canada and South Africa.

Any shows doing particularly well for you right now?

For The Love Of DILFS, Behind The Drag Queen Of The Year, Sew Fierce and Sugar Highs.

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