18 APR 2024

Laura Masson: “We make sure that our portfolio has a broad reach across multiple genres”

The Sales Director at Abacus Media Rights explains how she manages the sales strategy to reach different clients and business models.

18 APR 2024

Laura Masson

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Abacus Media Rights started the year with several deals for its crime drama series, true crime documentaries, and non-fiction series. Señal News spoke with Laura Masson, the company's Sales Director, to describe its strategy, the creation of its catalog, and the potential of factual content.

How would you define Abacus' sales and business strategy in the constantly transforming content distribution arena?
"Our focus is on premium shows that stand out in the global market and present strong commercial opportunities: must-have limited series, returnable franchises, or one-off events are all in high demand. We are continually working in various ways to ensure we can help generate content at a time when producers are finding it particularly difficult to get commissions greenlit".

What are the main content demands around the different markets you manage?
"Event documentaries for must-watch and water cooler moments that stand out in the schedules. Recent titles from AMR that have proven popular in Latin America are 'Queens That Changed the World,' 'Conquistadors: the Rise and Fall,' 'The Frontier,' 'Raymond Blanc's Royal Kitchen Gardens,' 'Streets of Gold: Mumbai,' and 'Top Guns: inside the RAF.'"

How do you manage your windowing strategy and sales approach with many different clients and business models (streaming, linear, AVOD, FAST)?
"Abacus' sales team explores all opportunities to maximize exposure and revenue for all its titles. Our goal is always to place the content we represent in the best place possible. We are agnostic in terms of whom we work with—streamers, linear, AVOD, and FAST channels—and make a plan tailored to each program. Windowing is just one of the sales strategies that we use."

How is Abacus' catalog created? What pillars do you take into account to define its color?
"Our acquisition team is very experienced and has long-established relationships with producers worldwide to discuss projects, pre-financing, and production budgets early on and, ultimately, address broadcasting needs worldwide. We ensure that our portfolio has a broad reach across multiple genres and subgenres as our diverse and eclectic MIPTV show launches clearly demonstrate".

In recent months, we have seen various Abacus news related to the documentary genre. How significant is that genre today internationally?
"Abacus is extremely active in the factual space. The international market is currently seeing a high demand for true crime, history, world affairs, observational documentary reality, and talent-led factual entertainment programming. For MIPTV, we have a range of strong factual one-off films, including World Affairs Israel/Gaza, Russia/Ukraine and event pieces like 'Dynamo is Dead' and specials such as 'Barbie Uncovered: a House Divided' and commercial series across crime, history, travel, and reality including limited series like 'The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer' and 'Alan Cumming's Most Luxurious Train Journeys: Scotland' as well as longer running "'Top Guns: Inside the RAF,' 'Outback Crystal Hunters,' 'Surgeons: A Matter of Life or Death' and 'Witch Hunt: the World's Worst Witch Trials.'"

What specific launches and new titles did you offer at MIPTV?
"Abacus has a varied catalog of programs featuring scripted series and factual, including: 'The Boy That Never Was,' a drama produced by Subotica for RTE Ireland; 'The Cuckoo,' a drama produced by Calpperboard Studios for Channel 5; 'The Swallows Will Return,' a documentary produced by HiddenLight and broadcasted by Channel 4, 'The Steal,' a documentary produced by Amos Pictures for Channel 4, and 'Barbie Uncovered: A Dream House Divided,' a documentary produced by Two Rivers Media for Sky Documentaries."

By Alan Levy