U.K.-based indies ORTV and Brook Lapping have won the job of exploiting news agency APTN’s video archive. The aim is to produce a slate of documentaries and factual formats by combining the archive with originally-shot material.
ORTV managing director Paul Gibbs will oversee a newly-formed company called Timeline Productions, which has been created to co-ordinate the venture. His priority is to develop a one-hour news & current affairs ‘shell’ called Behind the News which can be slotted into broadcasters’ schedules as a flagship bulletin.
The plan is for Timeline to produce four 15-20 minute background news reports on a weekly basis which can provide the rump of a tailored 60-minute news program. Local broadcasters would then package the material using their own presenters. ‘Many broadcasters are crying out for a bulletin which can give news its memory back,’ says Gibbs, who used to edit the BBC2 flagship Newsnight. ‘But for most of them it is too expensive.’
In addition to Behind the News, Timeline is also developing an international crime show called Crime International, a news quiz program, and a daily series called Flashback, which will consist of 3-minute vignettes reviewing headlines from previous decades. Gibbs also expects to create a raft of biographies and themed documentaries.
The two indies already have busy production slates. Brook Lapping has just produced Playing the China Card and Britain’s Slave Trade for Channel 4 and is now working on series for the BBC, ITV and Discovery. Fast-growing ORTV recently headlined The Rise and Fall of the Mafia at MIPCOM.