“We want to develop in all genres in Germany ourselves”

Mr. Schmid, what’s behind the independent production decision with BBC Studios Germany in the German market?

There is a strategic claim by BBC Studios to produce under our flag in markets important to us, such as the USA, France, Scandinavia and, of course, Germany as a global player. As the commercial arm of BBC, BBC Studios has always been confident in itself in the market and of course we also make an important contribution to supplement income from licensing fees for our parent company. At the same time, we are not new to the German market, and we have developed sales and joint production for more than twenty years, as well as active production in our former joint production enterprise. Added to this is the entry into local productions with our own team, which is driven by the growing appetite in the German market – of broadcasters and platforms – for local productions.

She announced the transformation of BBC Studios Germany into a production company two years ago. The first production has now begun with “Ruby”. The conversion seems to take longer than expected…

See you at our target schedule. Our goal was not to buy the market empty on day one and build huge structures. Our premise was an ambitious but organic development of BBC Studios Germany as a production house here in the market. The fact that you as a producer often work on projects for a long time before you can talk about them may have reinforced this impression, but we are very busy. Strictly speaking, the sitcom “Ruby” was a co-production with our awesome partners at Studio Zentral, but in July we produced a five-part premiere we developed for RTL called “Now bangs.” RTL’s confidence and patience in developing and realizing this idea with us over the course of an entire year is remarkable. So our first standalone offering on the market is an in-house development of our unwritten division headed by Marcus Templin.

So you don’t just want to adapt to the BBC Studios catalog for Germany?

No, we want to develop ourselves in all genres in Germany. But powerful layout templates are and will continue to be the business to some extent. Accordingly, we are of course very much looking forward to the recently announced production of the German adaptation of “The 1% Club” by Seven.One Entertainment, which has been very successful on ITV. This is another successful BBC Studios catalog format after a long time and a really great test.

But for now, BBC Studios Germany is focusing on unscripted entertainment?

Now for sure. With “Das Große Backen” and “Let’s Dance” we also have two long and very successful co-productions with Tower Productions and Seapoint Productions. For ‘Now Pop Up’ and ‘The 1% Club’, we have now been able to build a strong, organically sustainable team, which must now be put on the road with long-term horsepower. This, of course, does not mean that we do not have similar ambitions in the imagination. But this also needs to be built gradually and sustainably.

Speaking of “Das Große Backen” and “Let’s Dance”: do the ambitions of working under your own flag in the German market have an impact on these two products?

When we made the strategic decision to expand BBC Studios Germany, we set ourselves the homework of wanting to prove ourselves. That’s why the initiation phase is a bit longer, so you can say with the first production: This comes 100 percent of us. With the two formulas you mentioned, we have entered into long-term partnerships that we are completely satisfied with. In the case of “The Great Baking”, I have also been involved with Tower Productions for a long time and there is also a very trusting and close exchange with Nina Klink’s Seapoint team, which we greatly appreciate.

Will BBC Studios continue to rely on partnership models in the market?

Of course, we also pursue very ambitious goals and being able to handle production completely by ourselves is definitely Plan A. But consistency and close partnerships do not contradict this claim in many cases. By the way, this is not limited to the field of commissioned production. Take for example the co-productions of BBC Nature, which we would absolutely not be able to fund without partners like ZDF and Terra X slot. We are very proud of such partnerships and have expanded them in recent years, including in the field of fiction, with projects like ” The Mallorca Files” and the new series “Chelsea Detective” with our colleagues in Mainz.

How different are the German and British markets when talking to colleagues?

(laughs) Yes, of course one of my primary tasks is to classify the transmission of British ideas and forms to the German market, which, as a German, I have lived in the United Kingdom for 16 years, but I really enjoy. We are constantly learning from each other and about each other – and every now and then both sides still have a twinkle. One of the main differences between the two markets is the willingness of the British to engage in exotic experiences and ideas, both as heroes and as fans. In Germany, people are not in a rush to adopt new things, and instead question things a lot. However, what has changed here in the past five and six years: instead of only importing, Germany also exports, and in Great Britain people look at ideas from here with increasing interest.

What should a successful bid look like in 2022?

I think the right balance between innovation and tradition. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Habits and communication factors are important, and this also applies to the “1% club”, which is a test first and foremost. But then you need convincing formatting changes that have to be more than just an effect. “The 1% Club” is a special test because it presents its questions and riddles with percentages indicating how many Germans would have answered correctly. This creates a completely entertaining anchor and analog reference between my knowledge and that of the nation. In showcasing games like “Now it’s popping,” the exciting change comes from the strong visual elements of the format. Since game rounds are essentially mini-experiences, it’s important to estimate when the commotion happens as much as possible – and then we’ll explode or explode or blow up all sorts of things – we break down each game in slow motion and super slow motion recordings. This gives the game show character a special visual enjoyment.

After the shows, where do you see the biggest growth potential for BBC Studios Germany?

As BBC Studios, we’re also going to MIPCOM in Cannes this fall with two great dating and cooking formats, and I’m sure we’ll also be able to take on some of those formats in Germany. Factual is still a very popular genre. Just like the fictional adaptation, by the way, as in “Ruby”. Although I find the term adaptation misleading, because sometimes fewer have to be adapted, sometimes more. I will always consider adapting a text format as some kind of development benefit and research on this feature is still required. This is why this is also an area that we will focus on and in the future we want to further enhance our employees.

Mr. Schmid, thank you very much for the interview.

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