BuzzTaxi’s factual buzz

BuzzTaxi Communications is in its 11th year distributing factual programming that ranges from surviving outdoors to lessons on how to make whoopee with one's partner. Natalie Vinet, co-president of BuzzTaxi Communications, takes us through what the company has learned over time and what she sees broadcasters looking for.
January 7, 2010

Eleven years in and BuzzTaxi is steadily growing its staff, reputation and catalog. ‘We started off with one lifestyle series and we now have over 500 hours in our catalog,’ says Natalie Vinet, founding partner of the Toronto-based television distribution company. The outfit originally dabbled in both fiction and non-fiction, but realized over the years that becoming specialists in non-fiction is where BuzzTaxi would excel.

‘When you have different sets of buyers – children’s buyers, buyers that buy for dramatic series or features or shorts – we figured if we just concentrated on the area of non-fiction, lifestyle, factual or documentary, we could manage to become experts,’ she says.

After specializing in non-fiction and becoming secure as a company, Vinet says a new advantage is to be at a point where they’re able to consider projects earlier and invest in the ones that they believe in.

As a player in the industry for over a decade, Vinet and crew are now adept at spotting trends. One that Vinet has noticed in factual is a focus on great talent. ‘You’ve got to have engaging talent that shows things in a new way, whether it’s in history, lifestyle or travel,’ she says.

Innovation and spin ability are also things that a great talent needs. ‘We’ve been inundated with lifestyle and factual and the traditional ways of having a show hosted is a bit out,’ she says. ‘You have to spin everything to get people’s attention.’

BuzzTaxi has found success with two titles that Vinet chalks up to the strong personalities of their hosts. Les Stroud’s Survivorman, from Survivorman Productions, has done very well on Discovery and OLN Canada, says Vinet. ‘It’s almost like he’s carved out a new genre which is exploring the unexplored,’ she says.

Another big personality is Ambrose Price, from the HGTV Canada series The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price, also on Logo in the U.S. His colorful persona helps make the lifestyle/design series entertaining for viewers, which led to good international sales for BuzzTaxi.

Vinet is also a believer in the old adage that sex sells. How to Make Love to My Wife falls into that category, a one-hour doc that’s a light and funny journey following a man’s quest to satisfy his wife. ‘Sex always works on television, however you explore it,’ she says. She reports the doc has been selling well.

In February, BuzzTaxi will be hitting the markets. Vinet says that markets like the Realscreen Summit are an opportunity for them to connect with producers and new companies to work with. She says Buzz Taxi’s looking for design, fashion and male-driven factual programming.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.