Sales roundup: Espresso, Blue Ant, Autentic and Beyond Rights land deals

Espresso sells docs to MENA broadcasters UK-based distributor Espresso Media International has sold several hours’ worth of content to Middle Eastern broadcasters Al Jazeera, OSN and Bloomberg’s Asharq News. Espresso has licensed ...
January 12, 2022

Espresso sells docs to MENA broadcasters

UK-based distributor Espresso Media International has sold several hours’ worth of content to Middle Eastern broadcasters Al Jazeera, OSN and Bloomberg’s Asharq News.

Espresso has licensed 15 hours of space, social and arts content in its latest package to Al Jazeera. Included are On Broadway (52 min., pictured), a look behind the scenes of Broadway’s beloved shows, and I Am Gen Z (52 min.), which explores how the digital revolution is impacting the first generation of “digital natives.”

In the company’s first deal with UAE’s OSN, Espresso has licensed Beirut Blast: The Story of Warehouse 12 (90 min.), which explores the story of the deadly 2020 Beirut port explosion (caused by a dangerous stock of ammonium nitrate that had been stored on the site for seven years before igniting) and includes 30 interviews as well as footage of the blast and its aftermath.

Finally, Asharq News (launched by Bloomberg in 2021) has acquired five-and-a-half hours of documentary content, including They Say It Can’t Be Done (52 min.), a science documentary that follows four companies on the cutting edge of technological solutions that could solve world hunger and mitigate climate change.

“We are delighted to be extending our long-standing relationship with Al Jazeera with a further 13 titles from our new releases collection,” said Espresso’s head of sales and acquisitions Amy Freshwater in a release. “They have reached into the breadth of our catalogue for a wide range of important themes and genres, whereas OSN have focused on a region-specific anniversary title for their audiences.

“Plus, Jessica Reilly [senior sales and acquisitions executive] has started our new collaboration with Asharq with strength and precision as they focus on cutting-edge releases from our science collection, making this a powerful 5.5 hours launching into the Middle East.”

Blue Ant International’s Latin America sales

Global distributor Blue Ant International has announced several sales with linear and streaming platforms across Latin America, including DIRECTV, DIRECTV GO, Sky Brazil, Globosat and AMC Networks International.

Pay TV service DIRECTV and the streaming platform DIRECTV GO in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Mexico have picked up Bathsheba (2 × 60 min.) from Cream Productions. The two-part documentary tells the story behind the hit 2013 horror film The Conjuring using the archives of world-famous paranormal investigators and members of a family who were allegedly terrorized by a 19th-century ghost.

DIRECTV and DIRECTV GO have also licensed The Royal Documentaries from ITN Productions, a package of 20 one-off docs about the British royal family, ranging from the recent activities of Prince Harry to retrospectives on the late Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II. Sky Brazil has also picked up The Royal Documentaries to air in Brazil as part of the deal.

AMC Networks International – Latin America has acquired a programming package from Love Nature’s 4K originals library in Mexico, South America and Central America that includes Baby Animals (13 x 30 min.) and Strange Creatures (13 x 30 min.), both from Blue Ant Studios.

Brazil’s Globosat has landed exclusive pay-TV and SVOD rights for Into the Blue (8 x 60 min.) from Zona Mixta, an exploration of marine ecosystems and underwater creatures in the Pacific Ocean’s Coral Triangle.

Autentic Distribution racks up sales in Europe and beyond

Autentic Distribution, the sales division of factual content house Autentic, has inked several sales for programs from its fall and winter slate, which was launched at MIPCOM 2021.

National Geographic has pre-bought Colossal Machines (6 x 45 min.), produced by Go Button Media and Autentic’s production unit. The science series will be available on National Geographic worldwide, except in German-speaking territories and the U.S. In German-speaking territories, the series will be available on SPIEGEL Geschichte and ServusTV.

France’s RMC Découverte has picked up both seasons of the factual entertainment series Stone Men (12 x 45 min.), about the managers of three marble quarries in Italy’s Apuan Alps. The series is produced by Italian prodco GiUMa Produzioni for Discovery Italy. The channel also picked up season two of What Went Wrong (6 x 52 min.), a co-production of Millstream Films and Autentic’s production unit, which revisits catastrophes that changed lives.

The nature doc Survival of the Fittest in the Alps (52 min.) as well as History of Speed (4 x 52 min.) and in-house production Life from Space (2 x 52 min.) were sold to SRF Switzerland, while library titles Druids: The Mystery of Celtic Priests (52 min.) and China’s New Silk Road: From Yiwu to Madrid (52 min.) went to SBS Australia.

Beyond Rights shores up sales for Costa Concordia doc

Beyond Rights has licensed the two-hour investigative documentary The Costa Concordia: Why She Sank to several international broadcasters the week of the 10th anniversary of the maritime disaster.

Produced by ITN Productions for Channel 5 in the UK, The Costa Concordia: Why She Sank is billed as the definitive story of the cruise ship’s sinking, which happened off the coast of Tuscany in January of 2012 and resulted in 32 deaths. The two-part doc combines first-person testimony from survivors and rescuers with previously unseen footage, graphic reconstruction and expert insight.

In Europe, deals have been struck with TF1 in France, Discovery in Italy, TV2 in Norway, SVT in Sweden, RTL in the Netherlands, VTM in Belgium, Ceska TV in the Czech Republic and WP1 in Poland. In Australia, the title has been acquired by SBS.

“Ten years on, The Costa Concordia: Why She Sank provides a compelling and insightful look at this shocking event,” said Holly Cowdery, Beyond Rights’ VP of sales for France and CEEMEA in a release. “ITN Productions has an enviable reputation for creating top-quality factual programming. With this new series, it continues to demonstrate its investigative prowess by revealing new information, and cleverly weaves together details on a story that we thought we knew into something fresh and totally gripping. We are delighted that so many broadcasters share our view of this fascinating series and are confident that these early deals will be the first of many.”

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.