Discovery's SVP of Programming Sales, Elliot Wagner talked to Señal about the formats he presented at this year's MIPCom virtual event, the volume of workflow during the pandemic and his expectations for the formats in the near future.
Discovery Inc.’s SVP of Programming Sales, Elliot Wagner presented “Celebrity IOU,” “Cop Swap,” and “Dragnificient” at Mipcom 2020. Wagner discussed the specifics and the demands of the formats, the workflow and volume of the division amid the pandemic, and general plans and expectations for the slate this upcoming winter. Amid the drought of production caused by the pandemic, Garner explained that the formats are generally more cost-effective than original productions, and serve as a convenient tactic to avoid spending a large amount of money, handling freshman series, and focus testing, among other benefits. “They're just very easily adaptable, and localized,” he said of the formats.
Despite the lack of production, Discovery didn’t ensure many challenges as a result of the pandemic as several shows were ready for release from before the pandemic. The company’s creatives continued to produce hundreds of hours of content from home, but the conglomerate focused on appropriately structuring its programming while viewers were stuck at home during the pandemic. “When people do finally come back, they're going to be focused on looking at their bottom line, and making sure that they're spending their production dollars wisely,” Wagner said.
Discovery has also seen an increased demand in acquisitions as the volume of original programming rises back up after months of decline. As companies focus on building original content, they are requiring more content to fill their slates than ever. The company has relied on programming from broadcasters in Brazil and other regions around the world to fulfill the demand. The formats, however, haven’t been in as much demand since it would require a production, which was impossible for some companies under the circumstances of the pandemic.
The conglomerate continues to produce 8,000 of original programming per year. Wagner explained that the productions undergo a windowing cycle during which it is aired and used across networks around the world. A subset of those originals are then produced in the company’s hubs in the UK and Singapore, Germany and Warsaw, among other regional offices, and is later handed to Wagner and his team to be set for local programming.
The company was recently working on closing deals on the back-end of MIPcom and is currently in the process of fielding a lot of calls both from broadcasters and from producers. Ultimately, the division expects to sell a large sum of format rights to production companies in hopes of pitching and selling the format to a broadcaster in a particular region, or directly to broadcasters who are interested in producing a localized version of the format and distribute the local version of the formats to regions outside of its home territory.“We hope that they've received as well as we expect they will be,” Wagner said. “And on a go-forward basis, we hope to highlight at each one of these markets, a couple of new fresh formats, which we believe will resonate around the world.”
By: Karla Florez
We hope that they've received as well as we expect they will be. And on a go-forward basis, we hope to highlight at each one of these markets, a couple of new fresh formats, which we believe will resonate around the world.” Elliot Wagner SVP,