European Alliance Execs Debate Difficulty Of Competing With Streamers MIA Market10/15/2021
A host of heavyweight European execs have debated the difficulty of competing with US streamers on big budgets, while criticising these players for failing to nurture local talent and buying up studio space.
Many of the panellists involved in today’s Getting Your Projects Financed session at the MIA Rome Market are involved with the European Alliance, which aims to co-produce programming such as the upcoming Around The World In 80 Days adaptation between European networks France Televisions, Italy’s Rai and Germany’s ZDF.
Manuel Alduy, France Televisions Head of Cinema and International Development, cited the complexities of co-producing with streamers who “want to discuss almost everything, from your position in the room to editorial to rights to IP.”
“Finding blockbusters like Around The World In 80 Days is therefore so important,” he added.
And deep-pocketed streamers like Amazon and Netflix are keener to take local rights than ever, according to ZDF SVP International Co-productions and Acquisitions Simone Emmelius.
“As long as I can keep German speaking rights that is fine but the problem is the streamers want to own everything and that doesn’t work for us,” she added.
“Allowing streamers to take rights [on co-produced shows] in other territories is fine but giving away local is not an option and I think that is similar for a lot of other broadcasters.”
She praised the work of The Alliance for speeding up the process of financing and editorial development and bringing other European networks on board.
Polly Williams, who Deadline exclusively revealed recently moved to Around the World In 80 Days producer Federation Entertainment to head its UK hub, spoke of the “curse” of “falling between the US and Europe” on the streamers’ ambitions.
“We’re going up against US projects that are hugely packed with talent we can’t reach like Nicole Kidman while the streamers’ ambitions in Europe with local language content is much bigger than the UK,” she explained.
Williams said the likes of Amazon and Apple are “commissioning barely any originals” in the UK and it’s difficult to get streamers to invest in a show even when a respected local network such as the BBC or ITV is on board.
She also criticised the SVoDs for failing to “protect and nurture” young writing talent in the same way as local networks the BBC or Channel 4.
“The streamers have really young writers on shows like Sex Education and everyone gets very excited about them but I don’t think they have the infrastructure to support the talent. That nurturing needs to happen if talent is going to grow.”
Lack of studio space and crew was cited as causing the execs a huge headache, with Emmelius describing the current market as “overheated.”
Williams said finding studio space in the UK is “nearly impossible” due to the US streamers and studios moving into the territory.
She predicted the issue will inflict France and Italy next year, driving up the price of production.
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