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Production 100, 2013 Back to Reports & survey Listing

As a mid-size factual producer, a major issue for October is how we continue to grow into the next tier of companies. In the UK, budgets for factual are squeezed ever more and it can be a struggle to pull in the co-production financing needed to get programmes made.

Diversification is the answer, but companies with a strong reputation for a particular genre can be pigeonholed by UK broadcasters which makes it difficult to branch out into more genres. We need to look for more profitable genres but through a process of growth rather than a wholesale jump out of one type of output into another, which might risk our established client base.

Thankfully, for us, increasing our international clients has been the answer. We’ve found US broadcasters in particular rely less on existing perceptions of what particular producers are “known for” and are also willing to commission from companies they haven’t worked with if they fundamentally believe in the idea and the creative talent responsible for it. We’ve recently won a ten-part drama-doc commission from Discovery ID and are producing a reality pilot for another big US broadcaster.

I feel we might have struggled to get these commissioned from UK broadcasters because of assumptions of what October is “good at”. 

If these shows are successful, we think we’ll be able to use them as a base for diversification in the UK market as well. Sometimes you have to cross the Atlantic and back before you can successfully get across London!

Denman Rooke is the managing director of October Films

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