John Warrington, owner of Krafty Entertainment, spoke to TTV+ about the content he’s looking for in the international market.
TTVMedia, through its TTV+ platform and backed by Eccho Rights, launched the initiative Buyers: What Are Buyers Looking For? during Miptv, to find out more about international buyers’ programming needs.
The interviews were conducted through the base of over 5,000 buyers registered on TTV+, a 24/7 online marketplace where buyers can look through catalogs from thousands of companies, and in which distributors can contact them to close businesses.
This time, we present John Warrington, owner of Krafty Entertainment.
Could you please introduce yourself and your company?
My name is John Warrington from Krafty Entertainment, and I’m the owner. Up until a year ago we were purely a production company. Then like most businesses during the last year we ran into problems because of the pandemic. So I changed the focus of the business and now instead of being just a production company, we are now launching an SVOD sports documentary service, which is going to be distributed across a variety of platforms in many countries across the world. But as I said focused purely on the distribution of sports documentaries.
What type of content are you looking for?
Mainly sports documentaries, stories that bring back iconic sporting moments throughout the years down in history or tell stories of great achievements by great athletes and sports people. Stories that are iconic, triumph over adversity. So this is the type of content we’re looking for.
What kind of ideas or stories are you looking for in order to feed the catalog?
Essentially stories that tell the story behind the story. Or the passion, or the story behind the passion. We want to give viewers a 360 degree view of sports, which is why we called the platform 360 sports. We go behind the scenes to tell the story behind the story, whether that story is about an iconic moment or an iconic personality, what we want to be able to give the viewer is the ability to look at sports in a way that they often don’t get to look at sports.
What should a title have for you to show interest in them?
It has to be really made well. It has to have good technical production values. That’s aside from what I already talked about in terms of the actual content itself. It’s got to be well shot.
And it’s very difficult to find a unique story but it has to have a story that’s going to interest the viewer. Because we are hoping to attract subscribers that maybe are not necessarily sports fans, but they like to get understand more about human nature. What makes an athlete so driven that they can become the best in the world, or learn to run marathons and take on various sports.
I think essentially, as long as the production quality is really strong, there’s a uniqueness to the story and it does give that 360 degree view of a sport or a personality, and attracts more than just sports fans but people that like a really good, engaging story, that’ what we’re looking for.
Is there any particular content that caught your eye over the last 12 months?
There have been many fantastic sports documentaries that caught my attention. At the beginning of lockdown a year ago, if you remember live sports were canceled. So everybody was trying to get a way to get their sports fix. So sports documentaries always have a place in broadcast schedules. But the increase in popularity of sports documentaries over the last year has been incredible. And since live sports have resumed, there seems to be no let up in either the production or distribution of sports documentaries.
One that really caught my eye is not one that we have or a going to have on our platform unfortunately, but it was a program called Finding Jack Charlton, the footballer who played for Leeds United and went on to manage the Republic of Ireland National Football Team, and he took his country to their first ever World Cup finals in Italy in 1990. Jack Charlton sadly passed away a year ago from dementia, and so this documentary covered how he was dealing with dementia before he passed away.
It was actually a really moving 90 minutes. It opened my eyes to an illness or a desease that is absolutely dreadful, has such an impact not just on the person who suffers from it, but their family and the way that the program was made was absolutely wonderful. It brought a whole different range of emotions. In this country, both in Ireland and England certainly, he’s a bit of an icon. Because as a player he was part of the England team that won the World Cup for the only time in its history in 1966. So in many ways it was tragic to see such a big, powerful sporting figure reduced to what he became through dementia. It also had an inspiring quality to it because there are moments where memories came back to him and it was a beautifully made program.
Is there any specific content that you feel is working or will be working well for you?
It’s a difficult question because the platform hasn’t launched yet. We are going to stay relatively safe to start with and we’re producing our own documentaries, and buying sports documentaries around certain sports that we know will do well in certain territories.
But we’d like to go more niche. We’d like to find programs about sports that don’t get great coverage. Certainly across the major broadcast channels across the world. And so that’s an area that we need to look at. Football is always going to do well. In this country cricket, rugby union, these sports are always going to do well here.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s been such a tough year for the whole industry. For a whole host of reasons. But I think that in many ways good can come out of bad and certainly if it hadn’t been for lockdown, then 360 Sports wouldn’t exist. Because my production work would’ve continued, it wouldn’t have been canceled a year ago. It wouldn’t have given me the opportunity to change the focus of the business and develop what is becoming a really exciting prospect.
What I would say is, for anybody out there, don’t stand still. Regardless of pandemics or not, don’t stand still. Always look for new opportunities, because if you stand still you’ll end up going backwards. So always look for new opportunities and if you put enough work into it, then things are going to work out.