7 APR 2022

Jessica Reilly: "Expanding our reach in the digital space is key to our strategy"

The Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Espresso Media International analyses the rapid escalation of the distributor in the digital arena and details the highlights for MIPTV 2022.

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Jessica Reilly

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With 21 years of experience, Espresso Media International has earned a place in the content distribution arena with a vast catalog of documentaries, factual entertainment, and lifestyle content. Jessica Reilly, Head of Sales and Acquisitions, spoke with Señal News about the company's distribution strategies with digital partners and its committed collaboration with producers.

▸  Espresso Media International is heading to MIPTV with a vast slate of documentaries and factual entertainment. What are the highlights?

“We are proud to be presenting a dynamic new slate of high-end and award-winning documentaries and factual programs at MIPTV. Key highlights from our new content include Nadia Tass’ ‘Oleg,’ narrated by Brian Cox, a unique and timely feature documentary about Soviet superstar and defector Oleg Vidov. We also have ‘The Scent of Fear,’ narrated by acclaimed BAFTA-winning British actress Sophie Okonedo, which takes audiences on a first-hand cinematic journey across the globe, meeting those who enjoy fear and those who feel paralyzed by it. Another key highlight is the trailblazing and heart-warming ‘Art & Pep,’ an inspiring love story about civil rights leaders Art Johnston and Pepe Peña, whose life and love is a force behind LGBTQ+ equality in the heart of the United States. Meanwhile, ‘The Human Trial’ takes you inside an epic quest to cure an invisible yet life-threatening disease, type 1 diabetes. It features real-time access to a ground-breaking clinical trial and Spanish-language miniseries ‘narcogallegos’ explores the forces fighting drug trafficking which recently premiered on Movistar+.”

▸  What must a show have to be part of Espresso’s catalog?

“We pride ourselves on being a broad-church factual distributor and work across a wide array of genres, styles, and formats to fulfill the needs of our international client base. It’s important that the programming we take has high production values, has an international scope, is informative or entertaining, and is topical; feeding into the cultural zeitgeist or telling us something new about the world.”

▸  How do you manage the ongoing work dynamic with producers?

"Espresso is involved with projects at all stages of development. In addition to distributing finished content, we proactively work with producers on several projects each year to source international co-production partners and pre-sales, and act as executive producers on certain projects."

▸  In 2021 the company reached several content deals with digital partners like Tubi, Peacock, and Pluto TV. What will be the strategy this year in the digital arena?

"We are seeing a huge rise in our VOD revenue and expect this to rapidly increase over the next few years as audiences shift to even more digital consumption. Expanding our reach in the digital space is key to our distribution strategy. We are working with new platforms every month. We are working with large players such as Netflix, Amazon, Roku, and Crackle, but we have also forged fantastic partnerships with genre-specific platforms such as History Hit, Extreme International, and Marquee TV."

▸  What is the current potential for documentaries and factual entertainment?

"We have seen a growing demand for documentaries and factual entertainment from our international client base, with a huge rise in demand from VOD platforms and new dedicated documentary channels. We have seen a particular increase in demand for social issues programming, whether environment or stories focusing on marginalized communities. Science, space, history, crime, and music/arts documentaries continue to perform strongly."

By Romina Rodríguez