The focus at the L.A. Screenings may have traditionally been on the studios, but these days several mini-majors are trying to give the studios a run for their money, screening buzzed-about network and cable shows during the 10-day-or-so period known as the Screenings. We caught up with three of these mini-majors: Starz, eOne and Lionsgate to find out what’s in store this May in L.A.
According to Gene George, EVP, Worldwide Distribution for Starz, his company’s main focus continues to be in the one-hour drama space. “We do not distribute all of our originals internationally, but our international slate is growing as we increase our total original hours. We also have a steady and consistent TV movie slate, and we have several broadcast partners overseas that are ongoing partners for that content,” he said.
Prentiss Fraser, SVP, Worldwide Sales & Acquisitions at eOne Television said “On the series front we are really focused on high quality titles based on brands, true events, or original ideas that can be built out into a franchise. We are looking for strong storytelling, intriguing characters and new worlds. We are open to all run times and genres,” she said (See eOne’s listings here.)
Peter Iacono, managing director, International TV for Lionsgate pointed to nine series they’re screening at the L.A. Screenings, across all genres — drama, comedy, scripted, unscripted, one-hour, miniseries and half-hours. (See Lionsgate’s listings here.)
Asked how they position themselves between the studios and independents eOne’s Fraser said: “eOne is a vertically integrated super indie with all the bells and whistles of a studio however we approach all transactions and interactions from a boutique perspective. We bring the best of both worlds — global reach, deep pockets and attention to detail,” she said.
Lionsgate’s Iacono summed his company’s role like so: “We have the volume of a studio and the drive and entrepreneurial spirit of an independent coupled with Lionsgate’s uncompromising standard of quality.”
All three company representatives said they feel the L.A. Screenings is a growing marketplace for their companies, though it can be a struggle to stand out among the studios.
“The L.A. Screenings are on the rise,” said eOne’s Fraser. “There is so much content right now in the market that studios and mini majors alike need to utilize this market as a place to highlight and showcase the best of the best for the year to come.”
Added Starz’s George: “The L.A. Screenings continue to be a venue that is dominated by the studios, however we do feel the event it is an important stop on the calendar,” added Starz’s George. “Since Starz Worldwide Distribution generally has a huge presence at MIP-TV, this is a great opportunity to follow through on dealings initiated there. As a major independent — or any other non-studio for that matter — I believe that it is hard to get the focus of the broadcasters during the screenings since they are inundated with so much new product from the studios. With that said, we work it well and take advantage of their presence here in L.A. We still have many meetings and the ability to further build relationships with our clients.”