The international television industry has historically been very clearly delineated into three streams – Producers of content; Distributors of that finished product and Broadcasters who purchase the product and share it with viewers on their platforms. Just as the traditional broadcast model has been disrupted by the advent of streaming services like hulu and Netflix, there is a major shift coming in the Production and Distribution worlds.
A growing number of international Distributors are starting to get involved in activities like development, production and even the commissioning of shows. At this year’s MIPCOM conference in Cannes, the biggest shows that made major waves weren’t necessarily being hawked by Producers – those to which Distributors lent their marketing muscle, received far more visibility. NV Studios’ own show, Pirates, Inc., took pride of place on world-leading TV distributor Red Arrow Studios International’s unscripted slate and drew some major attention from international broadcasters and streaming services. Pirates, Inc. is a factual entertainment show that follows a team who make danger, their business, by flipping the spoils of drug runners, from speedboats and mini-submarines, to exotic cars and light aircraft.
As much as our partnership with Red Arrow Studios International in producing and distributing the show is a ride on this new wave, the reality is that the idea is not a new one. NV Studios has been partnering with international distributors for 8 years now to deliver shows like Real Plastic Surgeons of Beverly Hills, Keeping up with the Kruger, High Alert and Rumble & Hum to international markets. While many have been produced in South Africa, we have also travelled internationally – Pirates, Inc., for example, is currently in production in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our work in building up this trust with major players in the international industry has included ensuring we meet delivery deadlines – but we’ve also had to focus on delivering at the levels of quality and narrative they expect. Modern content needs to be able to travel, otherwise the Distributors won’t be able to sell it and everyone loses.
Shooting world-class shows in international locations on the Rand is incredibly difficult, so these types of partnerships with global distributors also allow us to more effectively fund productions, with mutually-beneficial partnerships yielding a vested interest in the success of the show. Producers always want to make the best shows they can and Distributors always want to place them in the most lucrative markets, with the highest visibility – so working together to build shows from inception to delivery makes perfect sense. NV Studios is always on the lookout for partnerships and we welcome well-developed content idea submissions from independent producers via our website at www.nvstudios.tv.
We believe our experience gives us the best possible opportunity to continue to produce high production value shows, with global relevance. It also opens the doors to even bigger opportunities – a successful show means the opportunity to negotiate First Look deals with major players, partner on equity deals and really scale up our business. We have a presence in Los Angeles, New York, London, Johannesburg and Cape Town and continue to expand our reach to tap into new markets and explore new content opportunities. What’s crucial for the South African production industry is the focus on marrying local stories with world-class technique, both in front of and behind the camera, if we want them to gain the global viewership they deserve.