London TV Screenings Insights: Oliver Bachert, chief distribution officer, Beta Film


As buyers flock to the UK for London TV Screenings and BBC Studios Showcase this week, TBI talks to the bosses of more than 25 distribution companies to test the temperature of the global content industry and to find out how the next 12 months are shaping up.

In this installment, we hear from Oliver Bachert, chief distribution officer, Beta Film.

What three words would you use to describe the state of the TV/streaming industry as a whole right now?

Consolidating, streamlining, innovating (the need for innovative financing models)

What three words would you use to describe the state of the distribution sector right now?

Concentration, flexibility, efficiency

With fewer shows being commissioned, how are you securing your pipeline?

Beta stands for close relationships with great talented creatives all over Europe; we collaborate and support creatively and financially at the early stages of projects with the goal of maximizing international potential, both within and outside the Beta Group. Within our group, we have close relationships with independent production companies across Europe, such as Beta Spain (Fiction and Entertainment), Drugi Plan as our partner in the CEE region, and Beta Nordic Studios. Through our offices in France, Spain, the US, Latin-America, and Asia, we have strong connections in various territories. It’s essential to see the big picture and to be on the lookout for great and high-quality content from all corners of Europe and the world. You can expect a quite stable pipeline for 2024.

What is the single biggest difference in the discussions you’re having with buyers today compared with 12 months ago?

On the production side, there has been a widespread consolidation of national companies into larger national or European, fully integrated media conglomerates. This, paired with budget cuts and a shift in content, leads to a market situation that is very tense and highly dynamic. For us as a distributor, it is even more important to be agile, strategic, and forward-looking. Still, what remains utterly important is that content is key! Twelve months ago, there was a craving for captivating and authentic storytelling, and there is still today. We try to not lose the big picture, combine resources and potential, and beware of fast trends and tendencies in the industry.

How do you expect global streamer demands for rights to change in 2024 compared with 2023?

Oliver Bachert

It’s challenging to predict the future, as we all know things can change from one day to another. Given the tendencies of consolidation and streamlining, effectiveness on the programming schedule will become increasingly significant. This might affect the licensing part more than the originals, as it’s obvious that through licensing you can acquire more content that fits your needs than commissioning originals. This also leads to my assumption that there is a trend towards more mainstream, easily accessible, escapist, and more entertaining content, and a decrease of time-consuming, edgy, and niche programs.

Where does opportunity lie for you in 2024?

When some of the big players opt out, there is always room for new alliances. This goes hand in hand with the need to find new financing models: New collaborations are a great opportunity to maximize expertise, creativity, and economic efficiency. New alliances and international co-production are crucial to overcome financing gaps. Still, it’s essential to recognize compelling and exceptional stories that can stand out and to embrace talent and innovation.

Tell us about your top show at London Screenings & why we should buy it

Clients can expect exclusive insights into Eagle Eye’s upcoming gripping series, some British flavor that fits into every schedule. Also, for those who are keen on enjoying a glimpse at the royals, we’ve packed Millstreet’s drama Maxima that follows the life of Argentinian born Maxima Zorreguieta who later became Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Finally, the highly anticipated historical epic Rise of the Raven by acclaimed producer Robert Lantos (Eastern Promises). And it is one of the most epic Central European TV productions of all time, blending entertaining modern storytelling with the highest international standards.

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