27 MAR 2020
SPECIAL CONTENT

JANICE STRANGWARD: “THE MARKET HAS NEVER BEEN AS BIG, OPEN AND FLUID”

The SVP Sales at Wag Entertainment explains the strategy of the company, which began twenty years ago as a blue-chip documentary producer, and now is an international producer and distributor.

Wag Entertainment is an international producer and distributor of high-quality, high-rating returnable series for many of the world’s major broadcasters. Like many other, now the company is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, but remains positive about the future. Janice Strangward, SVP Sales at Wag Entertainment, explains Señal News its strategy.

- What can you tell me about the story of the company and its evolution until now?

“Wag began more than twenty years ago as a blue-chip documentary producer, but was slowly drawn into making more and big international co-productions. And the more co-productions we produced, the more international broadcasters we met. Over time, Wag started concentrating on its international business, and it made sense to grow its own distribution arm. I was hired to lead these efforts at the time the distribution business was launched in 2017”.

- What are the highlights of your catalogue?

“Alongside our evergreen back-catalogue of over 400 hours, we are presenting some content gems in the form of brand-new series and one-offs, as well as new, returning seasons of some of our top-rating shows. ‘Weird Earth’ (10x45’) is our powerful new series which reveals shocking and inexplicable weather phenomena. ‘War Factories S2’ (8x45’) is the fascinating untold story of war production during WW2 and how the war was really won. ‘Strange Evidence S2’ (12x45’) offers a scientific explanation for incredible events caught on camera, and ‘What On Earth S6’ (20x45’) investigates mysterious objects and events on Earth, as seen from space. To complement these Wag produced series, we are also focusing on third-party productions, featuring docs across the subject areas of nature, crime, sports and music. Among these titles are: ‘Dolphins & Me’ (1x90’), ‘Uncommon Allies’ (1x90’), ‘Closing The Gap: Hockey in North Korea’ (1x60’), ‘Power Meri’ (1x90’), and ‘Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes’ (1x90’)”.

- What will the sales strategy of your shows be now after the outbreak of the Covid-19?

“Exactly as before – identify opportunities for new and existing demand and make proposals to clients via all possible and practical methods. Physical meetings are the only variable which will now be missing. One has to be creative and look to technology to find creative solutions as and where it is necessary”.

- How do you see the launch of online markets as a solution to the cancellation of events?

“Any and all opportunities to get content in front of our customers are always helpful and complementary to the usual sales practices of telephone calls, emails, personal visits and individual company website screening facilities. Online marketplaces are certainly a great tool to assist in these efforts and allow our buyers an opportunity to screen many shows via one site”.

- How do you analyze the current production and distribution landscape?

“The quality of one’s analysis depends on one’s proximity to the market.  The virtue of having both a production and distribution wing is that we can quickly identify trends and changes of mood, and we are at a size where we can respond at speed.  We carry out plenty of analysis, and gather lots of intel, but in the end, sometimes you have to rely on your gut feeling for what’s interesting and what isn’t”.

- What are the main goals of the company in terms of production and distribution?

“To continue to grow. The market has never been as big, as open and as fluid. These are exciting times, and we’re aiming to be at the forefront of developments and distribution”.

By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo