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Realscreen Summit 2017 – Highlights & Opinions

Post Author Take1 / March 2nd 2017

realscreen 2017 highlights

Industry profesionals from all around the world disembarked on a journey to Washington DC this January to attend Realscreen 2017 – the 19th annual one to be exact.

Thousands travelled from over 27 different countries to the US capital in order to be part of what is always a highly anticipated event, with more than 300 network buyers in attendance and close to 2,000 representatives.

Our CEO, Louise Tapia, spoke with many different individuals at length regarding our services (along with the industry in general), and its safe to say she endured a very welcoming and unforgettable experience.

This is the right time to say thank you to everybody that reached out and spoke with Louise regarding what we at Take1 have to offer, and just a big shout of in general to all who attended and made this years summit one to remember.

When returning back, we we’re all left thinking, I wonder what other attendees loved about this years event?

Therefore we decided to reach out to others involved and ask for their top highlights of this years summit. Enjoy…

Manori Ravindran
Broadcast Now

The Realscreen Summit was quieter this year with a marked drop in delegate numbers, though there was plenty of drama to go around as US organizations PactUS and the Non-fiction Producers Association called out domestic broadcasters for shrinking profit margins and lengthy development periods.

Many producers complained that lower-level execs were attending who weren’t able to commission shows, while others wondered how the political landscape would figure into programming.

A&E boss Rob Sharenow perhaps said it best: “It’s a mistake to say, ‘Trump’s in office, let’s program this way’”.

In any case, entertainment is on the rise as broadcasters such as NBC and ITV, respectively, take bets on game shows 5 Gold Rings and Babushka.

John Ford
Nonfiction Producers Association


The Networks and Producers in the Age of Disruption panel on Monday kicked off the conference with a spirited exchange of perspectives from both the network and producer points of view.

We seem to be emerging from these and other discussions with one point of view — we need to collaborate to fix the broken pieces in our archaic production process, and do it fast.

Although the crowds seemed thinner, the parties fewer, producers and commissioners were active and Nonfiction overall continues to be healthy. To that end, business was brisk behind closed doors and I spoke to several producers who came away with plenty of new business.

And speaking of new business, the NPA came away with ten new members, bringing its total to 52, with several more due to come on board in the next few weeks. Our message resonates!

One final highlight: Brent Montgomery’s Meet a Mentor session; the ITV America chief still remembers what it was like producing his first show.

Jo Cantello
Wolfsong Media


It was hugely enjoyable catching up with old friends, current colleagues and exploring some potential future collaboration too.

I made a deliberate decision to keep the balance right between taking meetings and also enjoying some of the wide array of sessions available. It seems such a waste to come all the way to DC and not make the most of the full programme on offer.

This year Wolfsong was involved in the Danger Zone panel, which the British explorer Levison Wood contributed to. Lev and I have worked together for almost 5 years, since I first set up Wolfsong, back when Walking The Nile was just an idea in Lev’s head.

So it was really wonderful 3 series down the line to be participating in the leading factual TV conference in the US calendar.

Kate Cundall


The Realscreen Summit 2017 at Marriott Marquis DC was filled with excitement and great content from a variety of production companies around the globe. Diversity is top of mind when I look back on this market.

DRG is gearing up for a strong content year ahead after meeting with companies from Australia, Ireland, India, Canada, the UK and of course the US. In the factual space, science, engineering and pop science seem to be what is trending.

Companies around the globe seem eager to structure content deals where they have the ability to control more of their own IP. With these new trends, we feel the years ahead will create opportunity for DRG to do more business in the US with production companies, while on the reverse being able to create co-production opportunities for global partners looking to sell to US networks.

Tod Plotkin
Green Buzz Agency


I met so many amazing professionals in the industry from all parts of the globe in such a short period of time.

In particular, at Tuesday’s lunch I struck up a conversation that lasted well over an hour and covered many topics.

By the end of lunch, I had gained a new friend and had plans to visit my pal next time I was in NYC.

Friday Jones


From my first breakfast mixer to the last cocktail party, I was shocked about the amount of hard facts and clear, tactical insight I was able to gain at RealScreen Summit.

Entering as an industry outsider, sometimes the sheer amount of talent and success that surrounded me became daunting. However, frank discussions from seasoned network executives illuminated niche spaces where my fledgling production company could adapt and even thrive.

My biggest coup was befriending Summit Showdown ’16 champ Andrea Allen of Insomnia TV and chumming with 2017’s winner Peter Reiss. Now we’ve actually partnered with Insomnia and are absolutely thrilled!

Andy Donahue
Killer Tracks


We love that people kept coming back every day excited to see us and get their organic juice fix.  Seeing the pitch competition for the first time was our favourite.

It’s so fun to collaborate with so many unique people in one place.

Harriet Armston-Clarke
TVF Media


TVF International is the world’s leading independent distributor of non-scripted content, so Realscreen Summit is a key market for us, both in terms of getting co-productions and pre-sales off the ground with our North American partners and also meeting with producers to help develop productions in line with the programming needs of our vast array of buyers from across the globe.

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