At MIPTV in April, the Croisette was abuzz with talk about MTV Networks International’s apparent new acquisitions model. Amid tales of SVP of global acquisitions Jules Borkent leading a pack of programmers around the Palais to meet with content partners en masse, were rumblings that MTVNI had established a sort of grand council that would determine which pitches best met Nick’s global needs and would then move the chosen ones forward. Some producers feared that the move meant the end of purely local acquisitions, prebuys or commissions. MTVNI’s EVP of Nickelodeon Steve Greider, who oversees the international channels, assures this is not the case.
‘As part of our one brand strategy, every region is represented by one member of a core team, and that’s the way we’re approaching markets like MIPTV and MIPCOM these days,’ says Greider. ‘As opposed to having 30 different conversations,’ he explains, ‘we said let’s have one conversation with each key partner about prospective shows and then if programmers need to super-serve the audience in their particular region, they book subsequent, separate meetings.’ Basically, he contends, the new setup helps the Nick brand align around big bets while cutting down on the number of pitches individual content suppliers have to make.
In terms of organization, Borkent and SVP of production and development Nina Hahn remain the key contacts for global/US acquisitions and international development, respectively. VP of programming Debbie MacDonald is handling the UK, with VP of Nick Germany OIiver Shablitzki responsible for Northern Europe, Nick France director of programming Pierre Hergaut repping Southern Europe, SVP of programming Tatiana Rodriguez looking after Latin America, and Alex Chien taking a seat at the table for emerging markets, which she heads up day-to-day. For Australia, GM & VP of Nick Oz Katrina Southon is repping the region in the interim as the channel searches for former director of programming Deirdre Brennan’s replacement – she joined BBC Worldwide Australia as director of television in August.
And the sooner you make the approach, the better. ‘We want to be involved as early as possible,’ says Grieder. ‘That’s the way to get the quickest buy-in.’