BBC Worldwide Showcase is a unique event held each year in Liverpool.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure to visit it for the time and speak with BBC executives about how it impacts on the content market in CEE.
Grant Welland, executive VP CEMA, BBC Worldwide, said the Showcase is the largest international TV market hosted by a single distributor. It is attended by around 700-750 buyers from around the world who visit informative sessions and watch content in 600 booths.
Commenting specifically on CEMA, Welland added that he would like to see a situation in which the BBC is licensing its formats and then buying back from the region.
Suzanne Kendrick, head of global format sales, BBC Worldwide, identified Strictly and Bake off as among the most popular programmes in the region, with the latter now on its second series in Poland with TVP.
Strictly has been taken up by many commercial broadcasters including TVN and now Polsat in Poland, while in Russia, where content is predominantly scripted, Life on Mars and Luther have been popular.
Kendrick also said that the BBC’s focus is on big entertainment formats such as Let it Shine, Let’s Sing and Dance and Pitch Battle. There is also a demand for long strippable series and primetime factual entertainment.
Salim Mukaddam, general manager and VP Central and Eastern Europe, meanwhile said that the BBC’s channels are ripe for expansion in the CEE region. Indeed, excluding Poland – he is responsible for all other markets – at present only one (BBC Earth) is distributed there.
Mukaddam listed a number of CEE broadcasters and OTT providers the BBC has recently signed agreements with. They include Sony AXN (Hungary), HRT (Croatia), RTVS (Slovenia) and Okko, Ivi, Megogo and Rostelecom (Russia).
He also identified programmes such as Sherlock, Maigret, Planet Earth 2 and Top Gear as being among the most popular in the region.
Providing a buyers’ perspective, Peter Fox, director of programming for Liberty Global, said that there is currently a debate going on in the company about its SVOD service. It sees greater opportunities for it in CEE, where it could be bundled for its higher value customers.