6 MAY 2024

Robert Salvestrin: "Our catalog has grown from 5 hours of content to 800 hours"

The Founder of Lucky You review the trajectory of the company, which is turning 10 this year, stands out the best current titles and anticipates the future goals for this year.

6 MAY 2024

Robert Salvestrin

  • Facebook
  • X
  • Linkedin
  • Whatsapp

Distribution company Lucky You was founded by Robert Salvestrin in June 2014, and since then, is part of the Bonne Pioche Group. The company’s catalogue includes blue-chip documentary programs covering a wide range of genres, from history, and science to discovery and current affairs. Salvestrin talked exclusively with Señal News about this decade of hard work, the current highlight titles and the next steps for the company.

Lucky You is turning 10 this year. How would you describe the evolution of the company during this decade?
"The company was created in June 2014, and it has been growing steadily in terms of team and content, and that despite recent and unexpected international challenges - the pandemics, nearby conflicts, the economic crisis, as well as the big changes in the industry caused by emerging new players and new technologies. Over the years, the catalogue has been growing from an initial 5 hours of completed programs to around 800 hours to date."

What is your acquisition strategy?
"LY’s main goal is to cherry-pick documentaries that will help the viewer develop/ shape their own inquiring mind and independent thinking. That is why over the years Lucky You has been delving deeper and deeper into the fields of Science, History – including Arts – and tackling with big Current Affairs topics and Environmental Issues. LY catalogue also includes other topics spanning from travel to food, for people’s own leisure."

What documentaries are you highlighting nowadays?
"At a time of dangerously growing national movements, international tensions and conflicts, we have been actively looking for History and Current Affairs programs, that help the viewer to learn from the past, and to better understand today’s world. Our current slate of completed programs or projects includes 'Hiroshima Behind-The-Scenes' (2x45’, 90’ HD) which is production and it will be delivered in 2025; the completed documentaries "The Little Girl Who Wanted Peace" (52’, 70’ HD); and "Pussy Riot, Rage Against Putin" (52’, 60’ HD) and "Race To The Arctic" (2x52’ HD) which is in production. Besides, we are eager to work with projects that involve several disciplines, a bit of humour and in-depth analysis, and that relate to people. We are proud to be representing ambitious and creative projects like 'Middle-Age on LSD', that reveals new insight about an almost unknown recurrent pandemic that maimed or killed thousands of people over several centuries; 'Homo Animal' which is a science-based mock-umentary- A mock wildlife film, this documentary plays on the genre’s codes to introduce the viewer to an enigmatic species: the human being and our historical-social documentary projects such as "Vegetarians – The Great Odyssey."

As factual expert, how do you analyse the current documentary demands?
"While in the past, non-fiction was a popular genre worldwide, although with big differences in storytelling between countries, now the appetite for non-fiction looks largely uneven around the world. There appears to be a drop in demand by traditional broadcasters and platforms for several documentary subgenres. This seems particularly true in the US as well as on US-run worldwide platforms, where True Crime and Sports biopic seems to be flavor of the month. In some European countries, in Canada, in Japan and in Australia, we still see a thriving documentary industry, which is supported by public and some private broadcasters as well as public funding. But growing cuts, the challenges of new viewership behavior and the spreading of VOD platforms are challenging the traditional way of pre-financing projects. Producers are obliged to take more risks upfront. All in all, international coproduction and pre-acquisition have drastically shrunk. Formerly key partners, such as the American networks and cable, which used to bring in a lot of financing, are now missing, as several have closed down or have gone non-linear with limited budgets. Platforms, other VOD or FAST channels are not yet a pre-financing partner in non-fiction, and they rather focus on few originals which they hold many and long time rights for. And the opportunity for coproduction is also limited in terms of content. Only fewre current topics –such as Great Civilizations, big international scandals/ investigations and exceptionally some mind-blowing science with unique access get international attention. As a result, the line width is significantly small.".

What are your goals for 2024?
"In 2024, we will be doubling our efforts for staring collaborations with producers and talents from outside France and Europe. Together we will be weathering the storm through high-quality and meaningful documentaries on Science and History that shred light into the past, the present and the future. In-depth documentaries are necessary in the struggle against fake news. In 2024, we will also keep working together with my peers, in order to find new sensible ways of sharing the new VOD rights with traditional media and bring significant pre-financing back to the table. And of course, keeping the energy high and preparing the next 10 years of Lucky You."