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Old July 11th, 2007, 09:36 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Question about networks

Hopefully someone who has dealt with networks such as Discovery/Travel/Nat Geo will be able to help me out.

Typically, when you are pitching ideas to networks, it comes down to a co production, a commissioning, or incase of a finished product, an acquisition.

Commissioning is when the network pays you to go out and produce a series.

Co-production can mean a variety of things but generally means the network has a stake in the project and could perhaps fund part of the project with the prod. company.

So my question is ; how does acquisition work? Lets say I finish a 60' min program that a network has interest in and want to acquire. Do they pay a flat rate for acquiring it? Does it depend on ad revenue? Anyone with any experience with network acquisitions, would love if you can give some feedback.

Thanks
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Old July 12th, 2007, 01:25 AM   #2
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Some second-hand info... (and unfortunately not all of it applies to the US)

Co-production usually refers to a production made in two different territories. You might do this to take advantage of the financing opportunities in the two different locales.

One thing you could do is to shoot the show in Canada (Canada has various subsidies) with a Canadian broadcaster on-board and syndicate the show in the US. So you get some help with the Canadian subsidies... but it's tricky to put together since you have to clear a first-run syndication in the US, AND you need to get a Canadian broadcaster interested. Few people do this, and it doesn't apply to you. But it's just an example of a co-production. And a co-production likely makes little sense for you.

Quote:
So my question is ; how does acquisition work? Lets say I finish a 60' min program that a network has interest in and want to acquire. Do they pay a flat rate for acquiring it? Does it depend on ad revenue? Anyone with any experience with network acquisitions, would love if you can give some feedback.
The rate is negotiated. You do not get a cut of ad revenue.

*If you are dealing with network affiliates, you can sell your show at a low/cheap price in exchange for ad slots on the affiliate. You then try to make this deal with a lot of affiliates. And now that you have airtime on a bunch of affiliates, you can sell advertising with a national reach. (Affiliates sell ads to local companies, whereas big companies want their ad to reach a lot of people.) You sell the airtime to an ad agency... what you actually do is make a deal with them beforehand that they promise $ if you clear enough affiliates. (This is all from memory.) In any case, you likely won't be dealing with that.

Back to "acquisition"... what normally happens is that the broadcaster licenses your show. They buy the right to air your show in their market.

Distribution companies specialize in selling shows to broadcasters. It's its own field, and things vary from market to market. Some production companies do some distribution themselves.

2- Anyways, if you want to get your show produced, don't make it and then try to sell it. That's a bad plan if you want to make money. Sell it before you make it (this guarantees you make money; though if you're an inexperienced producer you may not make much).

Pitch your idea to the broadcaster in question. (Ignoring development and pilots...) they may greenlight your show and draw up a legal contract where they promise to pay you to make the show. If your show is fully financed (e.g. various parties promise to pay you ___, and that covers your production costs and the producer's fee), then you go and produce your show. So this way you don't lose money (unless you don't deliver the show and you don't have insurance that covers that).
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