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MIA 2023

Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...

Eight pubcasters launch New8, the biggest drama collaboration in Europe


The group of Northern and Western European broadcasters will share their best drama shows with each other

Eight pubcasters launch New8, the biggest drama collaboration in Europe
The symbolic signing of the New8 contract at the MIA in Rome, involving Frederieke Leeflang, chairman of the board, NPO; Birgir Sigfùsson, head of Media and Production, RÚV; Anna Croneman, head of Drama, SVT; Henriette Marienlund, head of Drama, DR; Jarmo Lampela, head of Drama, YLE; Nadine Bilke, programme director, ZDF; Ase Marie Bendiksen, head of International Content Sales, NRK; and Lieven Vermaele, director of Partnership and Operation, VRT

On 10 October, Rome’s MIA – Mercato Internazionale dell’Audiovisivo hosted the launch of New8, an unprecedented drama collaboration between eight public broadcasters from Northern and Western Europe. The partners involved are ZDF (Germany), NPO (Netherlands), VRT (Belgium), SVT (Sweden), DR (Denmark), YLE (Finland), RÚV (Iceland) and NRK (Norway).

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The press conference saw the participation of Simone Emmelius, SVP of International Fiction at ZDF; Anna Croneman, head of Drama at SVT; Elly Vervloet, international drama expert at VRT; and Hans-Jørgen Osnes, head of International Financing Drama at NRK.

The new collaboration is set to foster high-quality drama and will be built on public-service values. “New8 is a unique achievement for European public service broadcasters and their audiences. With the strong drama partners attached, New8 will be the largest drama collaboration in Europe. It will be extremely exciting to see it come to life and evolve,” said Osnes.

“New8 will strengthen the public service broadcasters throughout Europe and give their audiences unique access to bold, modern and innovative high-end drama from all of the partners. With ZDF on board, New8 gains one of the most experienced international co-production partners for its network. Hopefully, New8 will also unite the audience and strengthen bonds between Europeans,” added Emmelius.

In detail, the partners are set to co-produce eight TV series annually from this year onwards. A key aspect of the collaboration is ensuring broad distribution of each other’s projects, and the initiative is considered an expansion of the already existing, trust-based collaboration between the Nordic partners, which have already been sharing and exchanging their best shows. Recent hits in the region include Exit and Thin Blue Line [+see also:
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series profile
. The former has not just been a commercial success, but it’s also sparking much debate owing to its tackling of Norway’s financial scene, based on true stories.

Each broadcaster decides which of their series is the best and hence which ones will be distributed by their neighbours.

In the case of New8, the series selected will be aired in the German-speaking territories (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) as well as in the Netherlands, the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

At the end of the press conference, a rep from each of the pubcasters involved symbolically signed the agreement on a blackboard. The participants also promised this was not going to be “another Europudding initiative.”

The partners have entered into an agreement that will initially last for three years. The first series will be greenlit this year and will be slated for release in all participating territories by the end of 2024. The first drama series will be announced at Content London on 28 November.

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