Passion Distribution arrived at MIPTV with a new offer for its buyers: 500 hours of new programming of non-scripted genres (documentaries, lifestyle, reality shows and factual entertainment), including both formats and taped content. In addition to managing several networks' catalogs, such as HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel, the distributor also represents content by the Sundance Channel and the Oprah Winfrey Network. Most recently, it renewed its contract with Scripps Networks International for two additional years.
Sally Miles, CEO at Passion Distribution, stated the company is very pleased with this deal. "It's a very important brand for us. So much of their programming is about returning series and really successful, long-running brands," she said. She highlighted their hit series Crashers, which currently airs on the DIY Network and HGTV, of which Passion has 150 hours of programming and that's still building.
TRENDS IN HARD TIMES
Miles believes the complicated economic scenario, which has affected the world in the past two years, has caused several changes in the viewers' demand for programming.
"Across the globe we've seen an increase in demand for programming about the home: home makeover shows, cooking food at home, understanding tips from restaurants you can bring to your home dinning," she said. "Because people can't really afford to eat out as much, people can't afford to sell their property and buy bigger properties. So they're making due with what they've got, spending more money on finding clever ways of budgeting a home," she said.
AHEAD OF THE GAME
The executive believes another trend -in terms of the audiovisual industry in general- has to do with the new digital platforms and how they're changing the way companies do business.
This year, Passion created a department to solely manage their digital sales and licensing to those digital platforms. "We increased our revenue in digital by 198% in 2011. Obviously that was a wake up call to let us know 'we have to put some real focus on this'. We need to be ahead of the game, doing business with all of the parties, educating ourselves at the same time," she said.
Even if that revenue isn't that big -the majority of Passion's sales is still TV revenue- the executive believes that balance will change. "Over the next 12 to 18 months, we've got to make sure our business is at the forefront of doing business with all these new platforms: Netflix, Hulu, LOVEfilm; so our business grows as the demand grows," she concluded.