International buyers converged at MIPDoc Saturday (April 5) to discuss acquisition trends for the year ahead, revealing nature and scripted and unscripted history programming as their top choices.
The panel – moderated by Edwina Thring, MD of Wild Thring Media – included Andrea Harrick, director of acquisitions for Canada’s Blue Ant Media; Leland Ling, president of LIC China; Ben Noot, global acquisitions manager at National Geographic Channels International (UK); and Jane Roscoe, head of international content for Australia’s SBS International.
Harrick, who acquires content for Blue Ant’s eight channels, said the prodco is looking for over 500 hours of content this year, with a focus on history, nature and natural disaster fare, as well as content on the paranormal, food and crypto-zoology such as the Bigfoot phenomenon. She added that Blue Ant is open to pre-buys as well as copros.
SBS’s Roscoe, who is based in the UK, similarly said that history programs are something the Australian broadcaster is looking for – particularly presenter-led shows – but quickly added that SBS was “a little full” of World War programming. She added that historical dramas are also being considered, saying that, “You can blame Vikings and Game of Thrones for our interest in this resurgence.”
The exec said that call-to-action and one-off event docs based on anniversaries are good fits this year, as well as wildlife programming and food shows that are less “chop and chat” and more inclusive of travel and culture.
Meanwhile, LIC’s Ling said the Beijing-based media company is in need of docs from overseas markets and that it is looking for 800 to 1,000 hours a year. The exec said LIC was open to diverse programming, adding that the company is actively looking for copro partners.
Lastly, Nat Geo’s Noot showed a trailer for the group’s latest channel Nat Geo People, which launched March 1 and replaced Nat Geo Adventure, explaining that the undertaking aims to target female audiences and present content with “real emotional depth.” Noot also discussed the success of Brain Games, adding that Nat Geo has plans to expand the strand going forward. The exec said another strand they’re looking at involves examinations of various subcultures.