MIPCOM Buyer’s Buzz: Leona Connell, Parthenon Entertainment

In advance of MIPCOM, realscreen presents our annual round of buyer Q&As. Today, we chat with Leona Connell, new director of global sales and acquisitions for Parthenon Entertainment.
September 27, 2010

What have been some of the recent factual acquisitions made by Parthenon?
We have made a number of very exciting acquisitions due to launch at MIPCOM. Science Exposed is our key factual launch and a total visual feast of CGI and special effects. Some of the most provocative questions from the world of science are explored in the series to reveal some fascinating insights. The one-hour Indian Tiger uncovers the world of the Indian tigers, their secrets and battle for survival. Finally, the one-hour Wild Japan looks at the wildlife of this fascinating country, a topic not widely covered by film-makers.

What are you looking for at the moment – in your genres of expertise, are there any trends you’re noticing amongst broadcasters in terms of the sort of content they’re looking for?
Blue-chip documentaries on wildlife or science topics are always in demand. It’s not so much about specific genres but more about the quality of the program. Right now, broadcasters are looking to differentiate themselves with innovative quality-led programming. The challenge is always to make programs that stand out in a very crowded factual market.

What’s the climate been like over the past year in terms of selling content? Are we out of the woods yet re: the economic crisis?
No, I don’t think so. It’s a tough market although we’ve continued to do well. The difficulty distributors currently face is in having to provide deficit financing for productions while awaiting payments from broadcasters. Still, that wouldn’t prevent us from talking to producers about their funding requirements for a really high-end program/series with international appeal.

Of the genres that Parthenon deals in with factual – nature, science, history and people – are there any that seem to be enjoying a resurgence or upswing in terms of sales?
Factual entertainment programming with strong storylines is very in demand at the moment. This is an area I am looking to expand more into at Parthenon. For example, Hope for Wildlife is launching at MIPCOM and follows a team of volunteers at a wildlife animal sanctuary in Canada. It’s gripping stuff and follows both the human and animal dramas that unfold throughout the series. We are also actively participating in pitches for a variety of 3D projects as this is going to be very much in demand.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.