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FNE at Finale Plzen: Czech TV Builds Outside Partnerships Featured

2013-04-26

PLZEN: Jan Maxa, Head of Programme Development at Czech Television (CTV), told audiences at the Industry Section of the Finale film festival in Plzen that CTV established co-development, pre-sales and minority coproduction strategies in a station-wide overhaul.

“We’re trying to offer a whole range of possibilities with outside producers,” Maxa told FNE. “Minority coproductions were very rare in the past, and usually only with Slovakia. And Czech TV never did presales or co-development with outside producers.”

Speaking at a Czech/German panel on 24 April, Maxa said that children’s programmes, fairy tales, animation and historical dramas are some of the areas that are especially attractive to the public broadcaster for coproductions. He pointed out the cross-European shared historical past, noting that today’s borders are a relatively recent development. 

A subsequent Czech TV presentation showed that Czech production has more than doubled since 2011, following the installation of a new management team in September 2011. Czech TV is seeing the first results of a grand strategy that has opened the station to outside cooperation. 

After the creation of CTV’s Film Center in June 2012, the station began working with outside producers in fall 2012, co-developing projects. Ten are in various stages of development and production, with the first projects expected to air in 2014.

CTV puts 4-5 m EUR in cinema coproductions of all types, spending between 2 – 2.7 m EUR on 15 feature films annually and 750,000 - 800,000 EUR on 10 documentary film. CTV estimates that 200,000 – 400,000 EUR could go toward minority coproductions. 

“We have to be careful not to overspend on minority coproductions,” Maxa told FNE, noting that majority foreign productions were hard to place in prime time slots. He added that the funding for presales will come from the station’s acquisitions budget. And although web TV content is one area that public broadcasters in both Germany and the Czech Republic cannot fund, CTV’s new strategy has the potential to benefit both the public broadcaster and the country’s independent producers in the cash-strapped modern economy.

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