Global 100 catch up: ITN Factual

With the next Global 100 coming up, it's a perfect time to revisit some of the prodcos who made the list last year. Senior writer Lindsay Gibb spoke with ITN Factual's head, Philip Armstrong-Dampier, about how to survive the economic crisis and what 2009 has in store for ITN.
December 3, 2008

At MIP you said it was hard to know what impact the economy was going to have. Are you feeling it more now, or do you have a better sense of how it’s going to affect you?
I’m not sure we do just yet. I think it’s a little early to tell. I think people are getting this financial year out of the way. At the moment we’re pretty busy, we have a huge amount of projects in development with various broadcasters and we have a lot of things in the marketplace, and that feels very good and positive. The test and the crunch will be, I think in the first or second quarter of next year. We need to see how things pan out a little bit. I think everybody seems a little concerned, but it’s still too early to tell.

This is a time when you can either say ‘oh my god the world’s going to fall apart,’ or you can say, ‘you know what? Let’s just keep getting ideas out there.’ I think this is a good time to be positive, because otherwise we might as well jump out a window.

I really think you just have to keep pushing and really go for it, that’s my view. We’re trying to get as many ideas out into the marketplace as we can. The financial crisis is about confidence and I think it’s the same for us really, we need to be confident. You just can’t put your head in the ground like an ostrich, you have to keep going.

What’s coming up for ITN in the next couple of months?.
We just finished Pandamonium for Animal Planet. For that, we did a series of five and when we finished our filming the earthquake happened in China, so we did a final program which was an earthquake special for international and Animal Planet US. Then we’re finishing off quite a lot of films for Channel 4, including a series called What Really Happened. We made four so far, and we’re making three more. Then we have a lot of other stuff in paid development, that we’re working very closely with broadcasters on. We have a lot going on, ranging from a big special arts program to some current affairs, war and investigative entertainment programs.

What will 2009 have in store for ITN?
We’ve strengthened our development team, which is really good, and our core team is strong overall. Our view is to go forward and build on those strengths, which I know sounds frightfully businesslike, but it’s true really. I think coproductions are definitely a way forward for us. We have lots of shows at the moment which we’re seeking coproduction partners for.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.