Rights way

all3media International chief executive, Louise Pedersen, talks to Janine Stein about authenticity of creative vision, being unique, production investment drivers, selecting shows with universal elements, and the value of IP ownership.

Super-indie producer/distributor all3media and its international division, all3media international, has made significant investments in high-end productions and production houses around the world, driving premium global shows, including White Dragon, filmed in Hong Kong. The company also has more feet on the ground in Asia than ever, upping drama co-development and leveraging its IP in, among other countries, Japan, India and China. all3media International CEO, Louise Pedersen, talks about what’s driving the company’s latest production investments, what goes into selecting shows with universal elements, the benefits of a vibrant independent production sector, and the elements that make an indie ecosystem flourish.

What, for all3media, makes a good content investment? “Authenticity of vision. We’re not particularly prescriptive about what we invest in. We just like to know that the creators have a very clear sense of the story they want to tell. We like something that’s very individual, unique. Fleabag was a perfect example.”

Is there a perfect point for a distributor to put money on the table? “It depends. The U.K. is a different landscape in terms of the rights ownership model… U.K. producers are protected by U.K. legislation in terms of being allowed to keep their rights if they want to. So when they develop a show they keep the international IP and the broadcaster in the U.K. just takes a licence. That has enabled producers to grow their businesses and their development pots because they benefit directly from the revenue from the sales of the shows they’ve created. So certain production companies in our group have a development pot and will get shows to a certain level of development themselves. Where they perhaps don’t have the money, or where we’re working with a production company outside the all3media group, we will sometimes finance development, a treatment, potentially a script... What we can’t do is sell the show to a primary broadcaster. That’s not our job so we’ll fund development. We rely on the production company to sell to a primary broadcaster. And then what we can do is bring in extra production financing in terms of finding a co-producer or arranging some pre-sale partnerships and then go on to exploit that around the world with our buyers.”

How are you approaching content development in Asia? “We have IP that we think can travel globally but sometimes the way to bring it to a market like Asia is to work with local production partners so that our global IP appeals locally and has a tone that works for the local audiences here. A lot of our activity in Asia is having conversations with broadcasters and producers about our scripted formats, like Liar with Voot in India. We’re also producing versions in Italian, German and French.”

Who does that IP belong to? “That IP will belong to us, although potentially there would be a cut for the local producers/broadcaster, but then we can take that IP and sell it around the world. So for example, the Italian version of Liar has just sold into Spain and into Latin America, alongside the U.K. version. Then it all comes down to managing rights and windows.”

What, if anything, would entice you to invest more in Asian productions or even production houses, like you have elsewhere in the world? “At a group level, the focus at the moment is on making sure that our production business in the U.S. is working well. In Asia, we would probably get involved as a distributor at this stage. If there was a local project in development with a broadcaster that we thought ticked all those boxes – quality, authenticity, global themes, capable of travelling internationally – we would of course be happy to look at that.”

When you look at acquiring production houses, what’s most important? “An ability to retain rights that can be exploited internationally.”

Published in ContentAsia's Issue Seven 2019, 4 December 2019