Global Documentaries Trends – 2023

Global Documentaries Trends

Global Documentaries Trends in the Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and developments shaping the way we consume media. One area that has seen significant growth and interest in recent years is the world of documentaries. These non-fiction films provide a unique and compelling way to explore real-life stories, issues, and experiences. In this article, we will delve into the global documentaries trends from October 2020 to May 2023, examining the production, acquisition, and distribution of these captivating films.

Vitrina: The Global Sourcing Hub for the Entertainment Industry

To gather comprehensive data on documentaries, we turn to Vitrina, the leading global sourcing hub for the entertainment industry. Vitrina tracks over 120,000 companies in the supply chain, offering valuable insights and opportunities for its members. From this Intel, we can gain a deeper understanding of the global documentaries landscape.

Global Documentary Trends - Deal Volumes 2023
Global Documentary Trends - Deal Volumes 2023

Global Documentaries Deal Volume

Examining the deal volume of documentaries from October 2020 to May 2023, we observe some interesting patterns. The second half of 2022 remained relatively flat in terms of deal volume, which was contrary to the trends observed in earlier years. However, March 2023 witnessed a massive surge in documentaries, with a threefold increase compared to the average monthly levels during the specified period. This sudden spike indicates a significant shift in the demand and popularity of documentaries.

Global Deal Trends - Deal Volumes
source - Vitrina Deal Intelligence

Top Documentaries Markets by Deal Volume

Top Documentary Buyers
source - Vitrina Deal Intelligence

In the dynamic world of documentaries, several markets have emerged as driving forces in the industry. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada have solidified their positions as top countries with the highest number of buyers, contributing to the global documentaries market’s growth and vibrancy.

Leading the pack is the United States, with a remarkable 440 buyers actively engaging in documentary acquisitions and licensing. The country’s vast and diverse entertainment industry, coupled with a strong demand for factual content, has solidified its position as a powerhouse in the global documentaries market. The United Kingdom closely follows with 196 buyers, showcasing the nation’s rich tradition of producing and consuming high-quality non-fiction programming.

France, renowned for its cultural appreciation of the arts, boasts 129 buyers actively involved in the documentaries sector. The country’s strong emphasis on thought-provoking and socially relevant content has contributed to its prominent position in the global market. Germany, with 94 buyers, demonstrates its commitment to showcasing informative and engaging documentaries to its audiences.

Canada, with its thriving media landscape, completes the top five countries with 112 buyers actively participating in the documentaries market. The country’s commitment to fostering diverse voices and perspectives has resulted in a robust demand for non-fiction content, driving its presence in the global documentaries industry.

These top countries represent a global appetite for documentaries, showcasing a strong interest in compelling non-fiction narratives. With their significant buyer presence, they not only fuel the growth of the industry but also provide opportunities for filmmakers and production companies to showcase their work to a wide range of audiences.

The dominance of these markets signifies their cultural significance, economic influence, and commitment to promoting and consuming documentaries. As the demand for non-fiction content continues to grow worldwide, these countries will likely remain at the forefront of the global documentaries landscape, shaping industry trends and driving innovation in the pursuit of captivating and informative storytelling.

Global Documentary Deal Trends - Top Documentary Sellers
source - Vitrina Deal Intelligence

When it comes to sellers in the global documentaries industry, the United States stands out as the frontrunner with a significant lead. With an impressive count of 851 companies offering documentaries for acquisition, licensing, and distribution, the United States demonstrates its robust presence in the market. This vast number of sellers is a testament to the country’s thriving documentary production sector and its ability to cater to the diverse demands of the global audience.

Following closely behind is the United Kingdom, which boasts 427 sellers actively participating in the documentaries market. Known for its rich history of producing high-quality non-fiction content, the UK continues to be a major player in the industry. Its strong presence in both the buying and selling aspects of documentaries reflects the country’s commitment to nurturing talent and producing compelling factual programming.

France, renowned for its cultural contributions, boasts 154 sellers actively involved in the documentaries sector. The country’s commitment to storytelling and innovative documentary filmmaking has resulted in a significant presence in the global market. French sellers offer a diverse range of captivating documentaries that explore various subjects and perspectives.

Canada, with 112 sellers, completes the list of top countries actively engaging in selling documentaries. The country’s vibrant media landscape and support for the production and distribution of non-fiction content have contributed to its presence in the global market. Canadian sellers showcase a wide array of documentaries, highlighting local stories as well as international co-productions.

The substantial number of sellers from these countries emphasizes their significance in the global documentaries industry. Their active involvement in both buying and selling showcases their ability to contribute to the diverse ecosystem of documentary production and distribution. With their extensive networks and expertise, these countries facilitate the exchange of compelling non-fiction content, enabling documentaries from various regions to reach international audiences.

The robust presence of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada as sellers underscores their influential roles in shaping the global documentaries landscape. As these countries continue to produce and distribute thought-provoking and engaging documentaries, they contribute to the growth and evolution of the industry, providing audiences worldwide with a wealth of captivating non-fiction content to explore.

Global Documentaries Leaderboard by Deal Volume

Looking at the global documentaries leaderboard based on deal volume, we can identify the top buyers and sellers during the period of October 2020 to May 2023. The data showcases the industry leaders who have been actively involved in acquiring and distributing documentaries.

Global Documentary Trends
source - Vitrina Deal Intelligence

Netflix: Netflix is a global streaming giant that has revolutionized the way we consume entertainment. With a vast library of films, TV shows, and documentaries, Netflix has been actively involved in acquiring and distributing documentaries during the specified period. Known for its diverse and high-quality content, Netflix has positioned itself as a major player in the documentaries industry, offering a wide range of non-fiction films to its subscribers worldwide.

BBC: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is renowned for its exceptional documentary programming. With a long-standing reputation for producing insightful and thought-provoking content, the BBC has been a prominent buyer and seller of documentaries during the analyzed period. Known for its commitment to quality journalism and storytelling, the BBC offers a diverse array of documentaries that cover a wide range of topics and themes.

Prime Video: Prime Video, owned by Amazon, has emerged as a significant player in the streaming industry. With a growing collection of documentaries, Prime Video has actively engaged in acquiring and distributing non-fiction content. Prime Video’s global reach and strong financial backing have allowed them to secure compelling documentaries from around the world, providing subscribers with a diverse range of factual programming.

SBS: Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is an Australian public broadcaster known for its multicultural and diverse content. SBS has been actively involved in the acquisition and distribution of documentaries, focusing on stories that highlight different cultures, perspectives, and social issues. With a commitment to promoting inclusivity and diversity, SBS has contributed significantly to the global documentaries market during the analyzed period.

Max: Max, part of the WarnerMedia conglomerate, is a leading entertainment brand with a focus on documentaries and non-fiction content. Max has been a key buyer and seller of documentaries, offering a platform for filmmakers to showcase their thought-provoking works to a global audience. With a commitment to curating engaging and informative documentaries, Max has played a pivotal role in promoting and distributing non-fiction content.

Discovery +: Discovery + is a dedicated streaming platform that offers a wide range of documentaries and factual programming. As a top buyer and seller of documentaries, Discovery + has curated an extensive library of non-fiction content, covering diverse topics such as nature, science, history, and true crime. Known for its high-quality productions and captivating storytelling, Discovery + has attracted a substantial audience seeking immersive and educational documentary experiences.

Channel 4: Channel 4, a public-service broadcaster in the United Kingdom, has been actively involved in the acquisition and distribution of documentaries. Known for its innovative and thought-provoking programming, Channel 4 offers a platform for documentary filmmakers to showcase their work to a wide audience. Channel 4’s commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring unconventional narratives has made it a prominent player in the global documentaries market.

Channel 5: Channel 5, also a UK-based broadcaster, has been actively engaged in the documentaries industry. With a focus on diverse storytelling and engaging factual content, Channel 5 has acquired and distributed a range of documentaries during the specified period. By offering a platform for both established and emerging documentary filmmakers, Channel 5 has contributed to the growth and diversity of the global documentaries landscape.

Global Documentary Trends - Top Sellers by Volume
source - Vitrina Deal Intelligence

Companies, including ITV, Fremantle, BBC Studios, PBS International, Abacus Media Rights, TVF International, Screen Australia, and Dogwoof, have been industry leaders in selling documentaries during the analyzed period. Through their expertise, extensive catalogues, and distribution capabilities, they have played a vital role in connecting filmmakers with global audiences, contributing to the growth and diversity of the global documentaries landscape.

ITV: ITV is a leading British broadcaster and production company that has been actively involved in selling documentaries. With a strong presence in the global market, ITV has showcased a diverse range of documentaries, covering various subjects and genres. Their extensive network and distribution capabilities have allowed them to reach a wide audience with their compelling non-fiction content.

Fremantle: Fremantle is a global entertainment company known for its extensive catalogue of documentaries. With a focus on producing and distributing high-quality content, Fremantle has been a key player in the documentaries market. Their vast network of production companies and partnerships has enabled them to offer a wide range of engaging and informative documentaries to audiences worldwide.

BBC Studios: As the commercial subsidiary of the BBC, BBC Studios has a significant presence in the documentaries industry. They have been actively involved in selling documentaries, leveraging their reputation for producing top-notch non-fiction content. BBC Studios’ wide range of factual programming, including nature documentaries, historical series, and social issue documentaries, has made them a sought-after seller in the global market.

PBS International: PBS International is the distribution arm of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States. With a focus on educational and informative content, PBS International has been a key player in the sale of documentaries. Their library includes a vast array of thought-provoking documentaries that explore various topics, from science and history to current affairs and culture.

Abacus Media Rights: Abacus Media Rights is a global distribution company that specializes in factual programming, including documentaries. With a diverse portfolio of documentaries from around the world, Abacus Media Rights has been actively involved in selling compelling non-fiction content to international buyers. Their expertise in curating and marketing documentaries has made them a significant player in the global documentaries market.

TVF International: TVF International is a leading independent distributor of factual programming, including documentaries. They have been instrumental in selling a wide range of non-fiction content to broadcasters and platforms worldwide. TVF International’s extensive catalogue includes documentaries covering a variety of subjects, including science, history, true crime, and social issues.

Screen Australia: Screen Australia is the Australian government’s funding body for the screen industry. They have played a crucial role in supporting and selling Australian documentaries to the global market. Screen Australia has facilitated the distribution of a diverse range of documentaries that highlight Australian stories, culture, and perspectives.

Dogwoof: Dogwoof is a renowned documentary sales and distribution company based in the United Kingdom. With a focus on documentaries that challenge and inspire, Dogwoof has been actively involved in selling critically acclaimed non-fiction content. Their portfolio includes award-winning documentaries that cover a wide range of topics, from environmental issues to human rights and social justice.

Featured Titles in Documentaries Sales

Global Documentary Trends - Featured Titles
source - Vitrina Deal Intelligence

Vitrina’s Deal Intel report on “High Demand Documentaries (Global)” provides valuable insights into the specific titles that captured significant interest and engagement within the industry from October 2020 to May 2023. These documentaries encompassed a range of themes and subjects, captivating audiences and industry professionals alike. Let’s take a closer look at some of the notable titles that garnered high demand during this period:

  1. “Sur l’Adamant”: This documentary delves into the exploration of the world’s oceans, uncovering the mysteries and wonders that lie beneath the surface. With breathtaking underwater footage and compelling narratives, “Sur l’Adamant” captured the imagination of viewers, offering a glimpse into the mesmerizing realm of marine life.
  2. “Sirens”: “Sirens” is a gripping documentary that sheds light on the lives of female first responders. Through personal stories and interviews, the film explores the challenges and triumphs faced by these courageous women in professions traditionally dominated by men. The empowering narratives presented in “Sirens” resonated with audiences, highlighting the importance of gender equality and representation in emergency services.
  3. “Controlling Britney Spears”: This highly anticipated documentary provided an in-depth examination of the controversial conservatorship that has dominated headlines surrounding pop star Britney Spears. “Controlling Britney Spears” sparked widespread conversation and debate, shedding light on issues of mental health, celebrity culture, and the rights of public figures. The documentary raised important questions about autonomy and control, resonating with viewers around the world.
  4. “Harry: The Interview”: Featuring an exclusive interview with Prince Harry, “Harry: The Interview” offered a candid and revealing look into the life and experiences of the British royal. The documentary provided unique insights into the challenges faced by Prince Harry and his perspectives on monarchy, mental health, and the media. The interview generated immense interest and discussion, making it a highly sought-after title in the global documentaries market.
  5. “Killing Escobar”: This gripping documentary delves into the extraordinary story of the hunt for notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. “Killing Escobar” follows a group of vigilantes, known as Los Pepes, who were determined to bring Escobar to justice and end his reign of terror in Colombia. Through interviews, archival footage, and firsthand accounts, the documentary offers a thrilling and suspenseful narrative that sheds light on the cat-and-mouse chase between the authorities and Escobar’s enemies. “Killing Escobar” intrigued audiences with its real-life thriller elements and provided insights into one of the most infamous figures in the history of the drug trade.
  6. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”: This thought-provoking documentary explores the intersection of art, war, and humanity. Through the lens of war photographers and artists, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” examines the power of visual storytelling and its impact on our understanding of conflicts around the world. The documentary delves into the ethical dilemmas faced by these artists and the profound emotional toll that documenting war can have on their lives. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” resonated with audiences, emphasizing the importance of empathy, compassion, and the role of art in shedding light on the human experience.

These titles exemplify the diverse range of subjects and themes that captivated audiences and industry professionals during the specified period. From exploring the depths of the ocean to shedding light on pressing social issues and providing exclusive insights into the lives of public figures, these documentaries sparked conversations, ignited curiosity, and showcased the power of non-fiction storytelling.

By analyzing the high-demand titles identified in Vitrina’s Deal Intel report, industry players can gain a deeper understanding of the global content supply-chain.

Curious about global documentary trends in Entertainment?

Vitrina’s platform tracks major global, pan-regional, and local companies across the documentary entertainment ecosystem. Our intel helps top business leaders in the industry spot trends, find partners, discover new content IP as well as profile specialist services, and tech companies across the entertainment supply chain. 

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