Monthly Archives: August 2013

Jacoby to head ITV Studios

ANITA Jacoby has been appointed managing director of ITV Studios Australia, which produces factual and reality programming including Come Dine With Me, Please Marry My Boy and Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell.

Ms Jacoby, who was also recently appointed a part-time member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, will take up the role on September 30 to continue building the company’s local and international production slate in a variety of genres.

Wonder wears off Ten drama

TEN’S new drama Wonderland turned in less-than-wonderful ratings for its second episode, attracting 769,000 viewers in the five capital cities, according to preliminary OzATM data.

The result was a big drop from its debut of just under a million viewers (948,000) last week on the back of a big marketing campaign.

The ABC’s advertising panel show Gruen Nation was the top entertainment program of Wednesday night, pulling in 1.045 million metropolitan viewers while The Hamster Decides also rated well with an audience of 815,000.

 by: Lara Sinclair

Closing Piracy Powerhouse Actually Hurt Movie Revenues

Only blockbusters benefitted from shutdown of Megaupload; grosses of mid-range
pics declined, according to David S. Cohen of Variety.

Closing the notorious piracy site Megaupload didn’t help theatrical film grosses , according to a new study. Megaupload, which claimed at one time to account for as much as 4% of all Internet traffic, was shut down suddenly by the FBI on Jan. 19, 2012, its domains seized and its management team arrested. That amounted to what the researchers call a “quasi-experiment” on anti-piracy policy.

“We find that box office revenues of a majority of movies did not increase,” said the paper. “While for a mid-range of movies the effect of the shutdown is even negative, only large blockbusters could benefit from the absence of Megaupload.” They add their findings suggest “that there were less average performing movies after the shutdown, while at the same time there were more poorly performing movies.”

The study, from researchers at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich and Copenhagen Business School, looked at weekly data from 10,272 movies in 50 countries, as reported on Its results contrast with findings of researchers at Carnegie Mellon, who found that the shutdown of Megaupload boosted legal digital sales of movies.

The European researchers attributed the “counterintuitive” drop in theatrical grosses following the shutdown of the site to ”social network effects, where online piracy acts as a mechanism to spread information about a good (film) from consumers with low willingness to pay to consumers with high willingness to pay.” This network information-spreading effect of illegal downloads, they argue, “seems to be especially important for movies with smaller audiences.”

“Piracy has positive externalities,” they wrote, “where information about the quality of a good experience spills over from pirates to purchasers. Once it becomes significantly less easy to consumer pirated content online, we would expect that at least some consumers convert to legal digital purchases or start going to the movies.”

But when that happens, they argue, the positive effects of piracy vanish, and some consumers end up less informed about specific titles.

Blockbusters’ huge advertising campaigns make that unimportant, but pictures without that advantage were hurt on average after Megaupload shut down. The authors argue that these findings imply that anti-piracy policy may have unintended consequences because different kinds of movies are affected differently as piracy declines.

Some entertainment pros and technologists have predicted this might be the case, as anecdotes have long circulated that young viewers, especially young men, like to check out a picture via the web before deciding if they like it enough to buy a ticket.

That has been one argument for ending theatrical windows on some pictures and moving to day-and-date release on streaming VOD.

David S. Cohen, Variety Senior Editor, Features – August 27, 2013

Shine International’s Nadine Nohr on Drama Series Strategy

Nohr originally accepted the role on a yearlong basis in September 2012 and has
been a consultant to Shine International since 2010, overseeing the relocation and
restructure of Shine Group’s global distribution company in 2011.

By Mansha Daswani – WorldScreen – August 27, 2013

Prior to joining Shine, Nohr had held a variety of roles within international distribution, including that of managing director of Granada International for 12 years. Nohr, the CEO of Shine International, recently spoke to TV Drama about the company’s drama series strategy.

TV DRAMA: Shine International has stepped up its drama offerings over the last year or so.

NOHR: Our scripted story is an incredibly positive one. Just a few years ago, [Shine International] was primarily focused on unscripted. We’re hugely diversified into scripted now and count The Bridge—on FX and sold to 122 countries worldwide—and Broadchurch, ITV’s biggest drama in the last ten years, as part of our portfolio.

The drama portfolio has grown significantly. We’re active at all points of the spectrum, from post-production selling right through to significant deficit funding.

Our production companies are actively co-producing. The Bridge was a coproduction between Shine America and FX. Co-production is one of those terms that is often misused. In [the case of The Bridge] it was a true co-production in every sense—a financial co-production, an editorial co-production, and it just happened to focus on subject matter that genuinely lent itself to co-production between two important countries. The narrative naturally featured a coming together of cultures without this being artificially engineered for financing purposes.

We’re actively discussing a number of co-productions at the moment, and that’s across both our in-house production slate and our third-party activity—we have In the Flesh from the BBC and Real Humans from Matador. One thing we’ve been quite active in is scripted changed-format deals. The Bridge was originally Swedish-Danish [as Bron], then it was made in the States and Mexico and now it’s being made in the U.K. and France [as The Tunnel]. Real Humans is a very strong scripted format.

Broadchurch is being sold all over the world and there’s a lot of interest in that from a format point of view.

TV DRAMA: The Bridge has been very well received by critics in the U.S.

NOHR: I have to say Bron, the Swedish-Danish version, is one of the best dramas I have ever, ever seen. It’s absolutely fantastic. You think, how do you remake that, and have something that stands on its own merit? The Bridge is fantastic and The Tunnel is fantastic. In a world where content is ubiquitous and you have all these different versions of the same story, you think, are people going to only follow one?

And as a fan of the original myself, I would and have quite happily sat and watched all of them. They all bring their own sensibility and their own different resonance and the cultural and political context is different. Look at how many times great works of literature have been adapted and you realize that a great story bears retelling.

TV DRAMA: What are some of the elements needed to create successful coproduction partnerships?

NOHR: Ultimately it has to be story driven. Then it’s about bringing together a limited number of like-minded partners. Realistically, there’s only room for so many people around a table. As a distributor, we’re not here to have a creative seat at the table. That’s not what we do. We’ll invest in productions that we believe have the right qualities to enable them to sell around the world. We’re not here to dilute a producer’s editorial integrity or editorial vision. We have to buy into their vision in order to support the project in the first place.

TV DRAMA: What have been the major changes in the business of making drama co-pros?

NOHR: Some of the principles haven’t changed; there has to be resonance for the various partners and they are often driven by financial necessity, which is where a distributor can help. What has emerged more recently is this trend toward more scripted changed-format productions. It’s a very different model to an (unscripted) entertainment format being rolled out around the world, which is all about creating multiple versions. That isn’t the issue when it comes to scripted. The funding model is very different, and that’s something you have to be a little more careful with. There are some markets, like the U.S. and the U.K., that are still deficit models and they are reliant on investment and support from a distributor to be able to complete the funding. The level of budget required to make these dramas enhances the uniqueness of certain properties and therefore in success makes them highly exportable.

TV DRAMA: What opportunities are you seeing with digital platforms?

NOHR: They have become very significant players and so they add to the roster of buyers you can be selling to. And they’re not just post-production buyers now but coproducers, and in some cases commissioners, of original drama. They’re people we’re talking to at the early development stage of a production.

By Mansha Daswani – WorldScreen – August 27, 2013

The Menkoff Method set to roll in Melbourne

By Don Groves – INSIDEFILM – Wed 28/08/2013

Director David Parker will start shooting The Menkoff Method, billed as a quirky
“comedy of human resources,” in Melbourne on September 9. The screenplay is by
first-timer Zac Gillam. It’s the debut feature from White Hot Productions, the production arm of the White Hot Group. The producers are David Lee, Jan Bladier and John Kearney, with Ian Kirk as executive producer.

The plot follows David Cork, a young, introverted bank worker who’s more interested in drawing his comic book than his tedious job in the bank’s data processing centre.

All that changes when an enigmatic Russian HR consultant, Max Menkoff, introduces sweeping reforms with devastating effects.

Kirk, a director of White Hot Productions, met Gillam, a solicitor who took up screenwriting, through a mutual friend. Kirk, who owns ROAR Digital, mentored Gillam and introduced him to Bladier and Lee. White Hot Group was set up to develop a slate of films. The Menkoff Method is privately financed. Bladier and Lee produced Simon Wincer’s The Cup.

More Here:

Ian Robertson advocates 40% rebate for telemovies

Ian Robertson has been quoted in IF Magazine saying that telemovies should qualify for the 40% Producer Offset given to Australian feature films. He said that this would help to alleviate the problem producers are having getting Australian distributors from signing on to Australian films.

Robertson was described by IF’s Don Groves as speaking on behalf of Holding Redlich at SPAA, but he is also on the boards of Screen Australia and Film Victoria, and therefore his opinion, expressed publicly, is more powerful than most. He was talking at a SPAA masterclass in Sydney on Wednesday.

SPAA has been advocating for the entire television drama slate to be able to qualify for the 40% rebate instead of 20% at present. This would of course be a game-changer. But since Australian movies are already accused of looking like telemovies, I wonder if lifting the producer offset would actually work?

Mark Poole

Perth comic book artists turn heroes in documentary

Comic Book Heroes airs in two parts, on Tuesday August 13 and 20, on ABC1 – go
to ABC iview to catch episode one:

Jillian McHugh – Watoday – August 13, 2013 – 4:09PM

Skye Walker Ogden and Wolfgang Bylsma forged the foundation of their company at
a pub in Applecross.

Until comic book artists break into the American market, they’re not going to make
enough money to make it a ‘day job’, says one of the Australian comic book creators
featured in Comic Book Heroes. The documentary, which aired last Tuesday
[available on ABC iview] and next Tuesday on ABC1, follows two Perth comic book
artists who created their own publishing company and are struggling to make ‘real’
money. Continue reading Perth comic book artists turn heroes in documentary

Director Colin Cairnes speaks out on piracy

By Colin Cairnes – Wednesday 14 August 2013

There’s a school of thought that widespread piracy can be to the filmmaker’s benefit
but that seems driven by a defeatist attitude that says the pirates/downloaders are
always going to be one step ahead with the technology and their ability to skirt the
law, so why bother fighting it?

I’ll admit [brother] Cameron and I were both shocked and flattered to learn that tens
of thousands of people illegally downloaded our film 100 Bloody Acres.

But if we’re serious about the sustainability of independent filmmaking in a very
tough environment, we need to deal with the issue that a large portion of a film’s
potential audience believe it’s fine not to pay for your film. The “try before you buy”
claim of some who download seems disingenuous… while no doubt some people
might go off and “do the right thing” when the opportunity arises (and questions of
timing and accessibility are key considerations in looking at solutions), why would
they when there is so much more product waiting to be consumed? Continue reading Director Colin Cairnes speaks out on piracy

Is Hollywood backing a blessing for local-language films – or a curse?

Big studios have poured money into foreign-language films – but is this just a backdoor way to dominate overseas markets?

When the horror film The Orphanage opened big in its home country of Spain in October 2007, distributor Warner Brothers wanted director JA Bayona to know he was loved. “We call him Jota,” says Richard Fox, executive VP of international at Warner. “He’s an amazing Superman fan, and I had a piece of kryptonite from the Bryan Singer version sent to my hotel in Barcelona. After this huge opening weekend, we went to a fish restaurant on Monday night to celebrate. I got there early, so I was sat there with my box of kryptonite, looking at the portraits on the wall: Bill Clinton, Tom Cruise, Zinedine Zidane. When Jota arrived, I gave him the kryptonite, and a guy took a photo. We sat and had a three-hour dinner. When we left, whose photo was now above Clinton’s, but Jota’s?”Bayona – the Catalan fanboy making it global – had found himself a prime spot in one of cinema’s newest growth areas. The Orphanage went on to take $78m worldwide, one of the largest non-English-language crossovers of the decade. Partproduced by Warner, it was a trophy example of Hollywood’s entry in the noughties into what, in studio parlance, was called “local-language production”: developing, or picking up for distribution, foreign-language films in their native countries. Since Warner, Sony and Disney first set up such operations in the late 90s, there have been dozens of these works: A Very Long Engagement (Warner, 2004), Night Watch (Fox, 2004), My Name Is Khan (Fox, 2010), Heartbreaker (Universal, 2010), to name a few your DVD player may have gobbled. Last year, there were apparently as many as 100 associated with the major studios. Continue reading Is Hollywood backing a blessing for local-language films – or a curse?

Breaking Bad Sparks Global Piracy

CrazeData gathered by TorrentFreak throughout the day reveals that most early downloaders, a massive 16.1%, come from Australia. Down Under the show aired on the pay TV network Foxtel, but it appears that many Aussies prefer to download a copy instead.

Yesterday evening the second part of Breaking Bad’s fifth and final season premiered in the U.S. Within hours of airing the show became available in the UK, Australia and several other countries, but despite these legal options hundreds of thousands of people decide to pirate it via BitTorrent instead. Are these people simply too cheap to pay, or are there other factors that can explain this piracy craze?TV studios should get rid of release delays, and air their shows “instantly” in every country imaginable. Continue reading Breaking Bad Sparks Global Piracy