Michael Murphy (pictured), the acting general manager for Beyond Distribution, talks to realscreen about how he’s looking to change the Aussie-focused perception of the company.
“I’ve been non-executive director at Beyond for eight years, so I know the company and its people well,” says acting general manager Michael Murphy. “That’s helped me settle in quickly.”
Murphy is talking to realscreen after taking over the role from Fiona Crago, who stepped down in February. But while Crago was based in Sydney, Murphy will remain based in Dublin.
He has already completed a North American acquisitions trip – to New York, Toronto and Montreal – to build and strengthen relationships with producers, and emphasizes that the biggest change now that he’s in charge will be that “the general manager for distribution is based in-between London and Dublin, firmly in the Northern Hemisphere, which means producers can access me very easily, in the U.S., UK or Europe.”
Murphy adds that while Beyond has had executives based in the UK for many years, “I suppose with a general manager in Australia, there’s a perception that we only deal with Australian product.”
Murphy says the team is open to discussions with North American and European producers and is currently looking for programming across a range of genres, from factual entertainment and lifestyle to drama, kids, and more.
In the meantime, Beyond has inked deals with U.S. broadcasters Travel Channel, HGTV and Weather Channel for three primetime factual series, BBQ Crawl, Love It or List It and season two of Highway Thru Hell.
Travel Channel licensed BBQ Crawl, which follows a world champion BBQ competitor as she competes throughout the American south. The series was produced by RTR Media and premiered on Travel + Escape in Canada.
The Weather Channel, meanwhile, picked up the second series of Highway Thru Hell, produced by Great Pacific Media for Discovery Canada. The series follows a rescue team that monitors the treacherous Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia.
HGTV picked up the fourth season of Big Coat Productions’ Love It or List It, which was originally produced for W Network in Canada.