7 APR 2023

Jess Reilly: "Factual entertainment is a key focus area at the moment"

The Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Espresso Media International talks about the curated catalog they offer to global buyers and the premium factual and documentary content that will be showcased at MIPTV.

7 APR 2023

Jess Reilly

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Boutique distributor Espresso Media International has more than 22 years in the audiovisual industry and part of its success is due to its main strategy: meeting the international buyers needs and offer high-quality and multi-genre content. Jess Reilly, Head of Sales and Acquisitions at the company, exclusively explains to Señal News this movement.

Espresso Media International has been selling factual content to VOD platforms and new dedicated documentary channels. What are the main demands of these digital clients?
"We’ve been seeing huge growth in the digital space globally, from large well-established channels to specialist platforms. The demand really depends on the client, and it’s been fascinating to see certain channels carve out particular niches, whether that’s the arts, extreme sports, or LGBT+ content. It’s fantastic these new platforms exist to better cater to underserved audiences. For the more general digital platforms, we find crime, history, space, and engineering perform strongly across the board, with lucrative financial returns. We’ve also been seeing a rise in demand for non-English language content. The digital space used to be dominated by North American platforms and it’s been great to see a wider variety of digital clients enter the market worldwide."

Where will you put the focus of the company's expansion strategy this year: in adding more content to the catalogue, or expanding in any specific territories?
"Factual entertainment is very much a key focus area at the moment in terms of expansion. We’ve picked up some fantastic factual entertainment series this past year, such as the Discovery commissioned 'High-Altitude Carpenters', and are continuing to build momentum in this area. We’re also seeing strong demand for series in general, so acquiring series across all genres, long-running and limited, is a key area of focus. In terms of territory expansion, we’re well established globally, but with more digital platforms emerging in Africa and MENA, this could be a key area of growth in the future."

What is Espresso's offer at MIPTV?
"Our line-up for MIPTV consists of premium factual and documentary content across a wide range of genres. Our exciting new slate, launching exclusively at MIPTV, includes cutting-edge science documentaries from evolution to AI, an anniversary special for the 60th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, genre-defining true crime one-off’s and series, exhilarating factual entertainment series, outstanding music documentaries, and compelling social documentaries covering important topics such as climate change and Indigenous issues. We’re proud to be representing a diverse range of talented creatives from all over the world and we’re looking forward to debuting their world-class work at MIPTV."

What is your strategy when it comes to international sales?
"Our strategy is to ensure we are meeting the needs of our diverse international buyers with high-quality and multi-genre content. Our slate is carefully curated and developed in line with current and upcoming market trends. We have strong relationships with a varied range of global content buyers, from public service broadcasters to premium streamers, cable channels, AVOD, TVOD, educational, and in-flight buyers. Our strategy is to ensure we can meet the needs of these buyers with high-end documentaries and factual programming across a range of formats, which will appeal to a broad audience. Coming in early is also an important part of our sales strategy, and we continue to grow and include more projects in development or production; advising and working with producers to shape the projects for global audiences and important anniversary events."

How do you analyse the current demand for documentaries and factual content?
"We are at the forefront of the marketplace and receive regular briefs from our diverse range of international clients on what they are looking for as well as their future initiatives. As a company we are attending 15-20 markets and festivals a year, so we are very much on top of industry trends and are feeding this knowledge back to our producers and shaping our acquisitions' strategy accordingly. We are also set up as a direct supplier to many international digital platforms, so we have our own internal data on what is performing well with global audiences."

In the current dynamic and changing industry, what are the main challenges you are facing as a boutique distributor?
"A potential challenge facing boutique distributors is the wave of takeovers and consolidation happening in the industry right now, therefore it’s more important than ever to ensure we’re being adaptable and competitive against larger players with catalogues consisting of tens of thousands of hours of programming. However, our approach is not volume at any cost, and as an experienced distributor of over 22 years, with Espresso, buyers can trust they will find high-quality and bestselling content to fit a variety of slots in our carefully curated catalogue, which now consists of over 950 hours of programming.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                     By Romina Rodríguez

Our strategy is to ensure we are meeting the needs of our diverse international buyers with high-quality and multi-genre content. Our slate is carefully curated and developed in line with current and upcoming market trends.” Jess Reilly Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Espresso Media International