Target aims for more factual

Target Entertainment Group, an international production and rights management group based in London, New York and Los Angeles, says growing the factual leg of its business is a priority for 2009. Realscreen spoke with Ellen Lovejoy, SVP sales and acquisitions and Georgina Eyre, acquisitions manager about why they feel factual entertainment will be particularly strong this year.
January 29, 2009

Just this morning (Jan. 29) Target Entertainment Group announced it has signed on a slate of international deals for its long running series 10 Years Younger, a factual series that helps people turn back the clock on their looks, with a little harsh advice thrown in. The program has performed well for the company, selling in over 80 countries over the past five years, and that’s due in part to the fact that it has a lot of episodes available for sale so it can sell either as a format or a finished program. The company has signed format deals with Australia’s Seven Network as well as Kanal Ukraina in the Ukraine, and has made various finished program deals with Discovery France, Italy’s Sky Italia and Skai Channel in Greece, while the Middle East and Scandinavia picked up the full UK version of the series.

The general feeling from the Target sales team is that the market demand now is for long-running, cost-effective, inspirational programming, so this recent raft of deals is a key example of Target’s current direction. In particular, they say, Africa, Asia and Israel are looking for positive, self-improvement programs.

They’re also seeing a renewed interest in travel and adventure programs, most that have an escapist element to them, such as their Jack Osbourne series and Rabbit Films’ Madeventures. the latter is a new series Target will be bringing to MIPTV, featuring two ‘madcap’ hosts who explore strange destinations on a shoestring budget. The program, which originated in Finland, was so popular in its home country that the DVD outsold The Simpsons and Lost.

‘Target has been doing really well with its factual entertainment slate for a number of years now,’ says Georgina Eyre, Target’s London-based Acquisitions Manager. At MIPTV in 2007 Target acquired Minotaur and a catalog that contained a number of factual shows. Since MIPCOM it has offered a number of categories of factual such as travel, people and society, crime and investigation and history. The company is looking to ramp up their slate of recent history programs.

Ellen Lovejoy, SVP of sales and acquisitions for the US, says that a move further into factual is a natural next step for Target. ‘A lot of us have a background in and a natural love for factual programming,’ she explains. ‘We all come from this area; we’re really looking for fantastic one-offs but also at developing and working alongside fantastic production talent and hopefully having some returnable series.’

Lovejoy adds she thinks factual will fare well in this economy because of the lower price point compared to dramatic programs, but also because factual is rating well. ‘You look in the States, you look in the UK, [and] these kinds of shows rate really well. I think everyone’s looking for what the next returnable series [is]. [Factual's] reaching networks; I think cable has shown that it brings eyeballs and everybody’s trying to hold onto their ad dollars right now.’ [This article has been edited since original publication. Target acquired Minotaur in summer 2007, rather than summer 2008 as originally reported.]

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.