London TV Screenings Insights: Tim Gerhartz, MD, Red Arrow Studios International

Forgiven (Source: Red Arrow Studios International)

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.

Here, Tim Gerhartz, managing director of Red Arrow Studios International, talks early stage collaboration, streamers’ changing approach to formats and a growing demand for unscripted content.

Tim Gerhartz (Source: Red Arrow Studios International)

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

Transformational, consolidating, growing.

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

Same as above!

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

We spend a lot of time nurturing our relationships with both our sister production companies and our third-party producer partners, who are equally important. While some of our biggest shows have come from Seven.One Studios companies, including Vienna Blood (Endor), Married At First Sight and Stranded On Honeymoon Island (Snowman Productions), several of our new launches at this year’s London Screenings come from third parties, such as leading Finnish production company Yellow Film & TV who we are partnering with on three scripted series: Forgiven, 66 North Precinct and The Laws Of Man. We spend a lot of time and resource on in-house development and early stage collaboration with production partners.

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

Buyers are not asking for streamer-friendly formats anymore but big brands that work across all platforms and means of exploitation.

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

We expect them to be more flexible than recent years with a greater focus on local rather than global needs.

Where does opportunity lie for you in 2024?

We see growing demand for unscripted shows from streamers (both local and global).

Tell us in no more than two sentences about the biggest problem facing the distribution industry and what needs to change so it can be overcome.

In times of lower advertising income the industry needs to find new and creative ways of financing productions. We need to see more cross-border collaborations and commissions in the format space particularly.

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

Forgiven (4 x 60-minutes) is a darkly tragic series about love, domestic violence, shame and the culture of silence that keeps such stories behind closed doors. Based on Laura Manninen’s bestselling, semi-autobiographical novel (Kaikki Anteeksi), the original series was written Antti Heikki Pesonen and commissioned by Elisa Viihde in Finland.

It’s a powerful, performance driven series that despite its harrowing subject matter is subtle, nuanced and relatable, with a lightness of touch that manages to conveys hope.

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