MIPCOM Buyer’s Buzz: Diane Rankin, DRG

In advance of MIPCOM, realscreen presents our annual round of buyer Q&As. Today, we chat with Diane Rankin, new SVP of acquisitions for London-based DRG.
September 23, 2010

As you head to MIPCOM with DRG this year, what are your buying priorities, from a factual or fact ent perspective?
DRG’s interest runs from reality straight through to feature documentary so we’re interested in a very wide variety, but for this market I’d put glossy fact ent series like Heston’s Mission Impossible and high-end intelligent factual such as BP: Eye of the Storm at the top of my wish list.

Given that DRG is active in securing format deals, what trends have you been seeing in format activity in the market? Is there an increase in older formats being revived (such as Fort Boyard) or is there still a sizable amount of new ideas coming through?
We have seen a willingness in select territories to take risks on new ideas, particularly on primetime with family entertainment formats with a fresh twist like Your Chance to Dance, but tried and true ratings winners continue to appeal to broadcasters as there is a successful model to follow. A prime example would be The Real Hustle that is in now in its seventh series for the BBC; six local versions have been made, including an Australian version which launched this fall.

Are there any genres of factual or fact ent that you expect to be in demand at the market this year or over the next year?
With the proliferation of multi-channels internationally, fact ent programs that can be aired in their original version and then also formatted locally like Don’t Tell the Bride continue to appeal as they provide volume while being a cost-effective proposition. Celebrity-fronted factual will continue to be popular, particularly when the personality has an established fan base such as Martin Clunes, star of drama series Doc Martin, who fronts Martin Clunes: Man to Manta – In Search of the Giant Ray, a one-hour special we’re launching this MIPCOM.

Tell us more about your remit at DRG – will first-look deals be a priority?
We have a number of healthy first-look deals in place. For some relationships a first-look or development deal is the right way forward, but we assess each opportunity on a case by case basis, rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach. A first-look deal is not always in the producer’s best interest and not being tied to one can give them greater flexibility in finding the right partner for each of their projects.

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.