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Now entering its 19th year, the global market and conference for the unscripted and non-fiction entertainment business kicks off on Monday, January 23rd. We chatted with NPA Executive Committee member Jenny Daly of T Group Productions to hear about this year’s summit from her perspective. 


It’s no secret by now that the industry is going through rapid changes. New technologies, social media, and evolving viewing habits are putting the current model under increasing pressure. Falling ratings are causing many nets to re-evaluate their unscripted strategies. In turn, Daly says that many producers are coming into Realscreen “curious to hear how the networks are looking at content and how they are purchasing.”


It’s a topic that’s bound to dominate a good part of the summit. “Under Pressure: The State of the Unscripted Nation,” a featured panel on Monday at 5:00 PM, and including the NPA’s John Ford, will examine the current state of the producer/network relationship, what works well and what could be improved from both perspectives, and discussing possible solutions. Other panelists include Tom Forman (Critical Content), David Lyle (PactUS), Gena McCarthy (A+E), Allison Page (Scripps), and Lisa Williams-Fauntroy (Discovery) and features Cynthia Littleton as moderator. See full details below.


Overall, the summit most likely won’t be too different from years past. One downside, according to Daly, is that many higher-level network execs aren’t attending this year, which Daly says “is disappointing.” However, she stresses that the summit is still beneficial. Not only is it good for those new to the business “to go to the seminars to learn… how best to get your content sold,” it’s also one of the few venues that brings people from all aspects of the unscripted industry together. “The biggest benefit is getting all of us who are in this business under one roof at the same time to connect and uniformly express how our business is working or not working, and as a group look for solutions to make a successful future.” 


Under Pressure:
The State Of The Unscripted Nation

Monday, January 23, 2017    5:00 PM - 6:00 PM


Cynthia Littleton - Managing Editor, Television, Variety


John Ford - General Manager, Nonfiction Producers Association

Tom Forman - CEO, Critical Content

David Lyle - President, PactUS

Gena McCarthy - EVP, Programming & Development, FYI A+E Networks

Allison Page - GM, U.S. Programming & Development Scripps Networks Interactive

Lisa Williams-Fauntroy - SVP, Business & Legal Affairs Discovery Communications


Recent developments and controversies within the unscripted industry over the past few years have magnified the producer/network relationship, and put various business practices - and strains - under the microscope. Falling ratings, squeezed margins and tensions over show ownership produce pressures on both sides, with all parties looking for ways to stay profitable in a precarious, uncertain climate driven by major shifts in media. This important session will bring together stakeholders from various sectors of the industry, with an aim towards articulating and understanding the challenges as they exist now, and for the immediate future, as well as potential ways to find "win/win" scenarios for all concerned.