Bruce Tuchman is the president of AMC/Sundance Channel Global, AMC Networks’ international division, a role he took over just a few months ago.
The New York-based Tuchman – who came to AMC/Sundance from MGM Worldwide Networks – is tasked with the expansion of the company’s global business, including the distribution, programming and marketing of Sundance Channel (distributed in Europe, Canada and Asia) and WE tv (distributed in Asia). Both channels launched internationally in 2009.
We spoke to Tuchman ahead of MIP-TV to learn a bit more about his company and their international strategy.
VideoAge International: How would you describe the Sundance brand?
Bruce Tuchman: Sundance Channel Global is synonymous with independent film. We deliver quality, high-definition independent-minded content. In many territories we feature AMC original series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. It’s really the best of independent film and TV.
VAI: Is Sundance an internationally recognized brand?
BT: Yes, it is. And it’s a brand that’s untarnished. The fact that we’re associated with the Sundance Film Festival and with Robert Redford, that all helps.
VAI: Is there a growing demand for independent-minded content around the world?
BT: It’s really growing. In lot of international markets we’re seeing that demand come from the fact that there are limited venues to watch a limited supply of mainstream product.
But with broadband connectivity, interactivity and on-demand services, audiences are demanding more options. They want more than just mainstream programming.
VAI: You’ve launched Sundance Channel in many territories, including Belgium, Spain, Taiwan, France, Poland and Portugal. Is there a territory you’re still looking to break into?
BT: Part of my role is looking at the entire world. I think the entire world remains a big opportunity to all high quality broadcasters, it’s just a matter of how to appropriately shape propositions.
We’re looking at them, understanding them. The issue for us is to assess, identify and co-co-ordinate.
VAI: Will you feature localized content?
BT: We’ll be looking at those opportunities. We are looking at our audiences market by market.
In some markets you’ll find local or non-U.S. film product and TV series, like The Slap, an Australian miniseries which we’ve acquired and are airing around the world.
VAI: Tell us a little about the WE tv brand.
BT: WE taps into a real programming need. Women’s TV genre is underserved internationally, in Asia in particular. We produce a lot of programming, and can cater to an audience that isn’t being catered to.
VAI: Is it as well-known internationally as Sundance?
BT: It might not have as much exposure. On the cable-satellite operator level, they’re certainly well-versed in what’s going on in the U.S. and are familiar with the brand. But for consumers, what we don’t have in exposure we make up for by having a simple and true brand that appeals to the demographic.
VAI: Where is WE tv being distributed now?
BT: South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan. The focus is on Asia at the moment. The area was underserved, and we’ve found good business opportunities and deal points that look good. But we’re going to continue to build, and look at other territories too. [Note: WE tv is best known for celeb-focused series like Braxton Family Values and wedding-themed programming such as Bridezillas].
VAI: What are your plans for MIP-TV?
BT: Well, first of all our CEO Josh Sapan will be delivering a keynote speech, so we’re really excited about that. He’s a great guy and a great salesman. People want to touch the alchemy that’s led to the giant series that we’re producing. People will understand the culture of the company the leads to this bounty.
MIP is also just a great opportunity to sit down with clients and potential business partners. We get to see people in three to four days, when it would otherwise take months.
It’s a market in the truest sense of the word — things start, stop, and get their middles at MIP-TV.