What is co-production?
Co-producing carries several advantages, all of which contribute to providing ambitious, diverse and impactful content to audiences. Co-production can involve jointly financing content which is often made by a third-party producer (the ‘co-financing’ model), or fully distributing the production work across different teams or networks, with each responsible for producing one element (eg an episode) according to a common production basis (the ‘exchange’ model). Most co-productions are a combination of the two, perhaps the most elaborate example being the Eurovision Song Contest, in which participating broadcasters make both a financial share to central production costs, and an ‘in-kind’ editorial contribution to the show through the selection and preparation of the acts. The EBU actively support a number of its Members’ co-productions.
Advantages of co-production include:
- Production efficiency: By distributing the production or financing of content across a number of countries or channels, broadcasters can realise efficiencies and direct cost-saving that allow them to realize more ambitious, impactful programming than would have otherwise been possible.
- Audience scaling: Broadcasts across multiple territories of participating channels creates a scaling effect, adding impact.
- Diversity: Distributing editorial aspects results in programmes of greater diversity than programmes commissioned and produced by a single editorial unit.
- Exchange of best practice: Working together, broadcasters can learn from each other and exchange best-practice.
- Rights control: In programme genres where broadcasting rights are commercially competitive (such as drama and factual programming), co-production among public-service channels allows retention of control over rights, which can be later commercialized.
What are EBU co-production networks?
We offer a range of consultancy services for Members wishing to co-produce. These cover co-productions in an early planning stage (‘Development’) as well as those in realization and delivery phases (‘Production’).
- For projects in an early ‘Development’ stage:
- Modelling: Advising on co-production models, timelines, delivery expectations, common standards, rights clearances (resulting in an agreed co-production ‘Term Sheet’)
- Communications: Offering participation of the project to relevant EBU commissioning contacts in other territories, convening exploratory, kick-off or ‘pitch’ meetings.
- Contracting: Preparation of agreements and budgets underlying the proposed co-production
- For ‘Production’-stage projects, EBU offers:
- Governance: Establishment and administration of editorial board / steering group to oversee production
- Contracting / Rights Management.
- Technical: File exchange platforms for contribution and delivery (also live transmission services for events).
- Distribution: Resulting programmes can be distributed and/or commercialized within the EBU network.
All new co-production proposals are subject to acceptance by one of the TV genre expert groups (Documentaries, Fiction, Formats, Music) or the TV Committee.
How does it work?
- If you have a project for which you would like to explore co-production potential, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We can only become active in projects which are green-lit for development by an EBU Active Member. These may include projects led by an external independent production company but the first approach must come from an EBU Member.
- After an initial evaluation of the stage of which your project is at, the EBU will submit it to the relevant genre expert groups.
- If approved, the EBU will discuss and develop a co-production model, timeline and specification (‘Term Sheet’)
- This will be distributed across the relevant EBU member communities, and subject to sufficient interest from other members the EBU will develop a Co-Production Agreement, signature of which confirms production.
- EBU can (as required) oversee the production and governance via a steering group, acting as editorial board during the production phase.
- If possible within the agreed rights framework EBU will offer the programme to other (non-participating) broadcasters.
What are some examples of EBU Co-productions?