Bo Stehmeier talks about OTF'S key opportunities in 2022
Bo Stehmeier talks to C21's Clive Whittingham on what OTF's key opportunities are in 2022, and the challenges to taking advantage of them.
What content are you developing and producing that will define the next phase of your programme strategy?
Our Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow strategy sees us developing, acquiring and producing a range of factual shows with a focus on hybridisation and unique access. Unique access is an absolute must to get the attention of today’s factual buyers and we are proud to be working with some globally recognised icons at the centre of our productions this year.
Another defining element of this strategy is unique storytelling, something OTF has long pioneered with shows like Stan Lee’s Superhumans for History and AETN, with solid plans to continue specialising in merging and recreating genres through shows such as Ancient Engineering, where science meets history, or where natural history meets economics and science in Circular Economy and science/sci-fi fusion Future From Above.
There is a growing demand for factual content that is visually more playful as public broadcasters are under increasing pressure to entertain as well as educate and are becoming much more daring as a result. In addition, traditional factual outlets are now seeing unparalleled success with factual shows with a broader or emotional appeal such My Octopus Teacher on Netflix.
What are your company’s plans, priorities and developments for 2022?
‘Super-serving’ is the OTF north star for 2022. We are totally dedicated to seeking out pockets of non-scripted audiences no matter the size and helping to activate these audiences and business in conjunction with a range of platforms and technology. This means that within our content pillars of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow we are increasingly working with local crews from around the world alongside archive holders, IP financiers, producers of all shapes and sizes and, of course, platforms and hardware companies across the linear and non-linear spectrum.
Integral to this strategy is OTF’s ability to originate, act as a studio or can even help build, schedule and tailor new global FAST channels. Content consumption is broadly on the rise and as a genre specialist, it’s our responsibility to become better and more agile in super-serving this specific market segment from macro to micro.
What will be the biggest challenges and opportunities for the industry in 2022?
It’s a fast-evolving world with an untapped number of new faces and some very old ones still in place. We need to find these new faces and keep the organisation agile enough so we can adapt ourselves to new worlds that come with fresh business models and opportunities. This is hugely exciting but also one in which distributors are taking on more and more financial risk.
How do you predict the business will change in the next five years?
One thing is very clear, that brands and advertisers want to be much closer to talent and access content that helps underpin core values they stand for or want to re-position themselves with. Factual plays a vital role for brands, especially during these Covid years that still make non-studio production in other genres tricky, certainly for the next couple of years.
In this ever-increasing world of fake news and general distrust, factual will continue to enjoy a renaissance. Given the under-represented voices in mainstream media, authentic voices and a wealth of rich new strands of factual are appearing. This content is platform-agnostic and ambidextrous in its storytelling. It’s truly an exciting time for young filmmakers and talent and we would very much like to hear from you.