A+E Networks EMEA has announced plans to commission a raft of shorter-form, true crime content from UK production companies.
The Digital Originals will comprise short-form, mid-form, and podcast true crime content to be aired on the Crime+Investigation digital platforms and the streaming service Crime+Investigation Play.
With additional support from A+E Networks EMEA’s creative team, the Digital Originals “will offer an exciting opportunity to test innovative true crime formats and showcase compelling new storytelling techniques and talent in front of and behind the camera.”
Produced by Phoenix Television is Cut to the Crime. This 10-part mid–form series transforms the hairdresser’s chair into a true crime confessional, from which true crime survivors, victims, and reformed perpetrators confide their deepest, darkest secrets to the master hairdresser, James Busby .
Other recent test-bed commissions include Model Murders from Content Kings. The series follows YouTube sensation, Meggie Foster, as she collaborates with an expert model maker to pursue her fascination for true crime through scale models of notorious crime scenes – including the Oscar Pistorius shooting – “enabling her and her audience to explore the cases from an entirely new and unique perspective.”
Another recent commission is Crime Swipe, from ITN Productions, in which true crime aficionados, Satema Tarawally and Jonny Nelson, explore the real stories behind the bizarre, stranger-than-fiction crimes from the UK.
Dan Korn, VP of Programming at A+E Networks EMEA, commented: “Commissioning shorter form content affords us an exciting new opportunity to “test-and-learn” in the true crime genre using fresh, exciting talent and formats for Crime+Investigation and Crime+Investigation Play. It also allows us to work with some of the most talented, risk-taking, and dynamic creative teams currently working in media”.
A+E Networks EMEA has also been commissioning series-based podcasts like Murdertown, which after its third run has achieved a total of two million listens, and Making a Monster: The Tapes, which hit the top spot on the Apple Podcasts’ true crime charts. This is alongside internally produced pilots, including Unwanted Attention featuring author and Morbidology podcaster Emily G Thompson and Inside Status with leading criminologist and star of Crime+Investigation’s Murder Detective, Graham Hill.
Sam Pearson, Head of Digital Media at A+E Networks EMEA, said: “Leveraging the power of mid-form content will help us to tap into an audience influenced by social media while enabling us to look at fresh, new talent like TikTok and podcast creators who tell true crime stories in new and innovative ways’’.
Digital Originals is the latest complement to Crime+Investigation’s long-form commissioning strategy, which has recently seen the introduction of single true crime narratives over two or three episodes, told by those most closely associated with the case, such as The Bubble and Squeak Murder: The Killing of David Jackson from Transistor Films, as well as new multi-ep, talent-led thematic series, on subjects of contemporary relevance, such as Cops Who Kill with Will Mellor, from ITN Productions.
Korn also added: ‘’Both Bubble and Squeak Murder and Cops Who Kill have shown us the importance of covering cases and crimes which have permeated the public consciousness in a very visceral, fundamental way and which need to be covered at length and in-depth. Shorter form content allows us to try to address a broader, more diverse range of crimes, in different tones and styles”.
Miles Jarvis and Jaimi West, Founding Partners of Phoenix Television, said: “Creating innovative, distinctive, and returnable series is at the heart of what we do. Collaborating with A+E Networks EMEA and James Busby to collide our passion for crime storytelling with hairdressing has been a hugely rewarding experience.”
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