G100 UK: RDF Media

RDF Media (London)
March 1, 2008

RDF Media (London)

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. So reads the eulogy on calendar year 2007 for RDF Media.

After it well and truly hit the fan over RDF/HTI’s Monarchy series, things looked grim for the UK production powerhouse. At one point, a decision by UK broadcaster ITV to halt commissions from the prodco set off a 19% drop in the company’s stock price. Perhaps worse still, RDF was forced to accept the resignation of chief creative officer Stephen Lambert, one of the old guard and driving forces behind the company. While the rest of the world was left to wonder if any of this would have happened if the series hadn’t involved the Royal Family, it appeared to be the start of dark days for RDF.

However, success is the best revenge. Beyond the slew of programming RDF provides to broadcasters all over the world, including such hits as Wife Swap, Ladette to Lady and Secret Millionaire, Monarchy itself went on to become a huge audience winner. In fact, when it eventually premiered on the BBC, it drew a peak audience of 7.2 million; and when it screened in the US on ABC (under the ’20/20′ strand), it won the night with 14.14 million viewers.

And, while many UK producers open US offices solely to repurpose Brit fare stateside, RDF USA was behind several of the series that realscreen‘s broadcasters found in their top 10, including Don’t Forget the Lyrics and The Two Coreys.

Once the year was done and dusted (just to be on the safe side), RDF bought Monarchy coproducer HTI. The deal saw proceeds from the sale funneled back into RDF shares, giving HTI a 1.26% stake in the company.

Now, no one mention the Queen again.

Employees: 281 (35 in US)
Hours this year: 261 (121 from US)
Recent titles: The Two Coreys, Wife Swap, Monarchy, The Secret Millionaire, Don’t Forget the Lyrics
Current/upcoming titles: Shipwrecked 2008: Battle of the Islands (Channel 4), Dickinson’s Real Deal (ITV1), Personal Services Required (C4), Can’t Read, Can’t Write (C4)

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.