Realscreen London: Discussion, debate with U.S., UK execs

Examinations of top trends in the content industry, ranging from consolidation to the growing impact of new platforms, and a keynote conversation with Vice global content head Alex Miller are part of the agenda as Realscreen heads to London once again next week.
September 25, 2015

Examinations of top trends in the content industry, ranging from consolidation to the growing impact of new platforms, and a keynote conversation with Vice global content head Alex Miller are part of the agenda as Realscreen heads to London once again next week.

Taking place at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square in the city’s Mayfair district, Realscreen London will host several panels as well as intimate and informative breakout sessions featuring commissioners from the UK and U.S. over two days next week – September 30 and October 1.

Realscreen’s intimate breakout sessions, 30 Minutes With, will provide delegates with valuable information concerning the programming needs of various U.S. and UK commissioners, and the event will also feature luncheon roundtables that will provide delegates with an opportunity to meet assorted international programmers. Networks and content companies represented at the event include the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, Sky, Discovery Networks International, A+E Networks UK, National Geographic Channels International, Oxygen, UKTV, Cooking Channel, Scripps Networks UK & EMEA, Esquire Network, and Maker Studios.

The first day will kick off with a discussion about transatlantic partnerships between prodcos. “Partnering Up” will explore how production companies in the U.S. and UK establish mutually beneficial copro and co-development partnerships, and the challenges in finding the right partner to move ahead with. LMNO Productions’ Eric Schotz moderates, while T Group’s Jenny Daly, Pioneer Productions’ Kirstie McLure and Leftfield Entertainment’s Ed Simpson take part.

Running a production company during the best of times and the worst of times is the focus of “Staying Alive: Best Practices for Running a 21st Century Prodco.” Moderated by CAA’s Pierre Brogan, the session will see Screentime ShinAwiL’s Larry Bass, Lion TV’s Nick Catliff, T Group’s Jenny Daly, ICM Partners’ Pippa Lambert and Voltage TV Productions’ Sanjay Singhal offering wisdom on both starting a production company, and overseeing its evolution.

Emerging content platforms are the focus for “New platforms, new approaches,” moderated by 360 Production founder John Farren and featuring Barcroft Productions’ Sam Barcroft, Lightbox co-founder and Searching for Sugarman/Man on Wire producer Simon Chinn, CuriosityStream president Elizabeth Hendricks North, and Maker Studios’ head of content Luke Hyams.

Meanwhile, “Entering the Funding Fray”, moderated by TCB Media Rights’ Paul Heaney, will compare and contrast emerging funding and distribution models with traditional avenues. Drive’s Lilla Hurst, Greenbird Media’s Jamie Munro, Zodiak Rights’ Tim Mutimer and UKTV’s Sally Quick take part.

In the wake of the “Clarkson fracas,” managing talent has been a hot-button topic over the course of the year. Sky Vision’s Jane Millichip will explore the issue as moderator of “Talent Talk,” also featuring World of Wonder’s Fenton Bailey, ITV factual controller Jo Clinton-Davis, Lifetime non-fiction SVP Mary Donahue, Clare Laycock of Discovery Networks UK and Ireland, and BBC entertainment commissioning controller and deputy director of television Mark Linsey.

The first day will wrap with a candid discussion about the imminent Terms of Trade review recently announced by the UK government, featuring Pact chief executive John McVay – an outspoken critic of the idea – as well as Nine Lives Media CEO Cat Lewis, and more speakers to be announced.

Day two of Realscreen London will kick off with a keynote conversation featuring Vice Media’s global head of content, Alex Miller, conducted by Sunday Times associate editor Krissi Murison. Miller will discuss the brand’s approach to creating relevant content for its global millennial audience, as well as the intersection between news, story-telling, documentary and entertainment.

Arrow Media’s John Smithson will tackle “Controlling Stakes, Creativity and Commissions” – an examination of how the current era of consolidation is impacting creativity in the UK and beyond. He’ll be joined by Discovery Networks International EVP and CCO Phil Craig, Zig Zag Productions CEO Danny Fenton, Channel 4 Growth Fund head Laura Franses, Passion Distribution CEO Sally miles and All3Media CEO Jane Turton.

Innovation in non-fiction programming will be the focal point for “Moving the Needle”, moderated by Warehouse 51 MD Carl Hall, and featuring Sky factual commissioner Bill Hobbins, Nutopia CEO Jane Root, Leftfield Entertainment chief creative officer Adam Sher and Maguns Temple, CEO at The Garden.

Observational documentaries are under the microscope for “Too Real for Reality TV?”, which will focus on programming that explores social issues and generates controversy and ratings in the process. Panelists include Lineup Industries joint CEO Julian Curtis, KEO Films CEO Debbie Manners, BBC natural history and specialist factual formats commissioning head Tom McDonald, and Love Productions chief executive Richard McKerrow.

Day two’s sessions wrap with a look at the commissioning climate in the U.S. “Team America”, moderated by Pact’s Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, brings three senior U.S. commissioners to the table to provide an insider’s view of the U.S. cable market: Oxygen SVP Cori Abraham, Lifetime SVP Mary Donahue and Cooking Channel GM Michael Smith.

For more information on the event including how to register, click here.

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.