18 APR 2023

Kelly Wright: “We are looking to maximize AVOD and FAST opportunities”

Kelly Wright, recently appointed as Managing Director of Distribution at Keshet International, describes the challenges of her new role and highlights the shows that the company is presenting at MIPTV.

18 APR 2023

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In February, long-time Keshet International executive Kelly Wright was promoted from SVP of Distribution and New Business to the newly created position of Managing Director of Distribution. In conversation with Señal News, the executive described the challenges of her new role, talked about the company’s strategy, and highlighted the shows it is presenting at MIPTV.

▸  What are the challenges of your new position as Managing Director of Distribution?

“I think my biggest challenge is filling Keren Shahar’s shoes. Joking aside, we are very entrepreneurial here in Israel, so challenges always offer opportunities for us. We are looking to maximize AVOD and FAST channel opportunities for all of our content worldwide, particularly our Spanish language tape. We are also looking for partners to come on board with us earlier to help bring compelling stories to the screen.”

▸  How would you describe Keshet’s current distribution strategy?

“We represent a diverse catalog of premium dramas, high-quality factual content, and flexible formats, continually refreshed by content pipelines from Israel’s most-watched TV channel, Keshet 12. As long-time champions of foreign-language dramas, we are known for our strong slate of global scripted shows like ‘Porni,’ ‘DCU: Deep Crime Unit,’ and ‘Too Much Love.’ With our eye on market trends, our other focus for 2023 is non-scripted formats, the kind of shows that keep viewers hooked throughout the run but are also flexible enough to be stripped. Moreover, the mystery reality competition aspect is cutting through now, with buyers in Latin America and key European territories taking another look at it with fresh eyes.”

▸  Are you focusing on any particular territories?

“For us, it is about finding the right show for the right channel. This year, it feels like we are all returning to business as usual, and as a team, we are attending all the key markets and events in person to meet our clients face-to-face, such as Content Americas, London TV Screenings, Series Mania, and MIPTV.”

▸  What are clients demanding right now?

“To see a show succeed these days is not something to take for granted. Buyers know what a significant investment it takes to develop hits. Everyone is looking for a way to maximize their impact and minimize costs. We think formats, both scripted and non-scripted, are the answer. Particularly formats that are cost-effective and flexible. We have a strong catalog of tried and tested dramas that have all performed strongly locally and been adapted elsewhere. We have the scripts, the bibles, and the experience in-house. How much time, budget, and effort does that save?”

▸  What are new highlights for MIPTV?

“Our scripted slate at MIPTV is headlined by ‘Suspicion,’ Keshet UK’s ‘False Flag’ remake for Apple TV+. It is a slick international thriller that sees five seemingly innocent, unconnected people accused of the kidnapping. Some other titles are ‘A Body that Works,’ the second season of the crime drama ‘Line in the Sand,’ and Keshet Studios’ latest co-production, ‘A Small Light.’ Meanwhile, in a very exciting move, we are launching a new genre: natural history, with a raft of stunningly beautiful content from Matila Rohr Productions, including ‘Tale of the Sleeping Giants’ and ‘Nature Symphony.’ We also have the format and tape of the one-hour investigative ‘Undercover: Sexual Harassment – The Truth.’ In addition, we have an ITV documentary on diversity and adoption from Paralympian Ellie Simmonds and a fascinating documentary on Hawaii’s nuclear missile scare called ‘This is Not a Drill.’”

By Federico Marzullo