By Leah Hochbaum Rosner
With the L.A. Screenings just weeks away, TV executives across the world are preparing to travel to sunny California for a Screenings that, in the aftermath of the Writers Guild of America strike in the U.S., has the potential to be quite a different affair from what people remember. Saralo MacGregor, executive vice president, Worldwide Distribution, for U.K.-based Fireworks International, a division of ContentFilm plc, spoke with VideoAge about why indies might fare particularly well this year, what territories the company intends to focus on, and why, despite the fact that MIP-TV and MIPCOM are wonderful markets, there’s nothing quite like the Los Angeles Screenings.
VideoAge International: What product is Fireworks bringing to the L.A. Screenings?
Saralo MacGregor: [We’re] offering over 3,000 hours of programming. New releases at the L.A. Screenings include drama series The Border and heartwarming family drama series Heartland, both of which have been renewed for second seasons. In addition, we will be showcasing brand new U.S. comedy series The Assistants from the Tom Lynch Co.
VAI: Do you think this year’s Screenings will be particularly good for the indies?
SM: Given the reduced flow of product available due to the writers strike, the indies will have an increased presence at the L.A. Screenings. The after-effects of the strike afford us a great platform to showcase our new series.
VAI: What is Fireworks going to do in order to attract buyers?
SM: Fireworks has assumed a leading position in the international program distribution field on the strength of the worldwide success of its award-winning programming. It is on the back of this that we are able to offer our buyers the very best in quality programming — programming that can be trusted to perform well in their schedules. Our rapidly expanding catalogue offers programming suitable for every type of channel.
VAI: What are your expectations for the Screenings?
SM: With between 1,300 and 1,500 international buyers scheduled to visit the Screenings this year, the market provides a tremendously valuable opportunity to showcase our new programming. The market also offers us the opportunity to follow up on meetings held at MIP-TV and to meet with our buyers face to face.
VAI: Are you focusing on any particular territories?
SM: We appreciate the opportunity to meet with all of our international buyers. But traditionally, more Latin American buyers attend this market than MIP-TV or MIPCOM, so attendance is vital.