BossaNova Media on distribution and acquisition strategy for factual content | Inside Content

BossaNova Media on distribution and acquisition strategy for factual content | Inside Content


Toby Russell


Chief Executive Officer

On this episode of Inside Content, I am joined by Paul Heaney, founder and CEO of content creation, funding and distribution company, BossaNova Media. On the episode, we delve into the unscripted content space, exploring BossaNova’s strategy for distribution of their factual content as well as their innovative approach to development and acquisitions.

Apart from distributing and acquiring content, BossaNova brings together producers and buyers of unscripted TV in an integrated hub, creating a community that enables all of the stake-holders in the content chain to meet, create and do business. As CEO, Paul has a strong track record in helping producers to establish successful factual franchises, and over the last 20 years, he has built up a huge network of producer and commissioner/buyer relationships. Prior to BossaNova Media, Heaney founded factual distribution company TCB Media Rights, which started trading in 2012. Having grown into one of the UK’s most successful independent distributors, TCB was acquired by the Kew Media Group in October 2017. Before this, Heaney served as president and managing director of Cineflix Rights, which he built from a boutique operation into a major distribution force.

Paul begins with giving us some insight into BossaNova’s content strategy. He highlights their focus on financial viability and ROI when assessing content to acquire and distribute, with a strong emphasis on truly understanding the type of content buyers want. For them, that’s creating a refined slate of long-running documentary series, unscripted crime and specialist factual which they have seen increase in demand  the recent years.

“We've got to try and stay on the straight and narrow content wise, not deviate too much from what our plan is, not get distracted by content that we think would be nice to have rather than content, that would actually makes us money” - Paul Heaney

In August 2021, Night Train Media became a partner, supplying BossaNova with a content fund to invest in projects from an early stage. With this, Paul and his team devised their Development Days initiative - hybrid events (part virtual, part in-person) which aim to bring together buyers and sellers, fast-tracking the creation of factual and true crime content. They now have over 80 buyers and 30-40 producers attending over 2 days.

“ The purpose of this is to try and accelerate projects into production. And now we've got over 80 buyers attending over two days, either virtually or in person.” - Paul Heaney

When it comes to distribution, BossaNova mainly focus on selling content market-by-market whilst still being open to global streamer deals. Despite normally selling fully produced content, they do sometimes engage in early sales, such as with Ancient Egypt by Train. However, with competitive, highly-saturated content markets, post-production sales becomes imperative.

“Generally we work market by market or region by region, but we're not married to that in any way.” - Paul Heaney

Topic Breakdown:

  • An overview of BossaNova, their content and strategy
  • A look at their Development Days initiative
  • How they assess what content to invest in and how they manage financing
  • Selling market by market vs selling to global streamers
  • The growth of True Crime shows
  • What activity BossaNova have in AVOD and FAST
  • Their pipeline of shows coming up
  • Their typical timing for taking a show to market - Waiting until full production vs. selling early

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