C4i, part of the Digital Rights Group, deals in both the exploitation of program rights and coproductions, and represents a catalog of formats, documentaries, drama, comedy, animation, music and arts. Here, C4i acquisitions manager Niki Page shares the company’s need for upbeat programs and tells us how coproductions are faring right now.
What sort of factual programming will you be looking for at MIPTV?
We’re looking for returnable series, preferably with self-contained episodes, which give the buyer the freedom of selecting three or four if they want to if it’s a long running series, as well as powerful one-offs. We still have quite a lot of one-offs in our catalog, which sell very well. They’ve got a strong narrative storyline and are upbeat at the end; it seems like everyone seems to want [them]. It can be a subject matter that’s difficult but at the end if there’s hope at the end of the documentary, that’s even better.
What are some successful titles that you’ve recently acquired?
Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance [from Outline Productions], which has just been on Channel 4. She’s just fantastic and she’s sold all over the world. People know who she is, but also format-wise, there’s a lot of ‘Supernannies’ out there who are looking for the next vehicle for them, so that’s been a real success for us. Time Team, [an archeology series] is an ongoing, very important strong franchise for us. We’re just about to take delivery of the Spanish version. We did an American version last year. It sells really well and has been going for so long that it’s got a good following.
I mentioned some strong one-offs. We’ve got quite a few from a production company called True Vision. They’re award-winning documentarians, and they’re hard-hitting but their reputation is so amazing that they really sell well. Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children- Revisited is one, and Street Kids of Mumbai is another that’s selling extremely well.
Are you seeing any trends in terms of what broadcasters want?
Since the recession last year, people want to watch more upbeat shows so I think that’s what people are looking for. If something is too depressing or down, people reject it.
Is there anything you’re not looking for at this market?
We’re not looking for wildlife, natural history, or sports programming, simply because we don’t sell that kind of program.
C4i also works in coproductions. Do you enter into many coproduction deals during a market like this?
It’s been really tough actually for coproductions in factual. In the past we’ve done an awful lot with the U.S., France and Germany, and it’s just tough at the moment. We haven’t done any recent ones, simply because other countries want to produce their own programs rather than come on board with us.
Where is your favorite place to take a meeting in Cannes?
We’ve got a lovely terrace just by our stand, which, when the sun is shining, is just beautiful.