Fredrik Af Malmborg, managing director of Eccho Rights, shares details about the Swedish distributor’s new slate, featuring titles from Korea, Turkey and the Nordic region. He also offered insight into his company’s business model for working with producers.
Despite the cancellation of Miptv, Swedish distributor Eccho Rights continues to add titles to its vast catalog, with a slate that’s increasingly more diversified through titles from Turkey, the Nordic region and now, South Korea.
To find out more about this growing slate, as well as the company’s unique approach towards the production business, ttvnews spoke to Fredrik Af Malmborg, managing director of Eccho Rights.
What are the newest additions to the company’s catalog?
We are in an intensive phase of development right now, with new series from Turkey, Korea, and the Nordic countries. We have a big new big Turkish series launching soon on Kanal 7 called Legacy.
We are also doing interesting things with our new mother company CJ ENM from Korea, working to get Korean series to launch more successfully in Latin America after the incredible success of Parasite, also from CJ ENM. We put together a package of 8 different Korean series, which we are programming as a full slate for broadcasters in Latin America. And we have a number of Nordic series, including Love Me and Honour.
What else can you share about Legacy?
It’s a daily series by Karamel Yapim, which will air on Kanal 7. The idea is to have 100 episodes before the summer and then continue. It’s a strong story of an emotionally disabled family father, which will air on the same time slot as The Promise, which was already renewed for a third season and will now air one hour later in Turkey. It joins our slate of daily series, ideal to replace Elif, such as The Promise and Wounded Birds, which recently premiered in Colombia.
And in regard to the Korean series package, have you received any feedback from broadcasters in Latin America?
We have already closed three different deals with broadcasters in LatAm and the reaction has been good. The idea is to program a slate of Korean series because they are normally a bit shorter, from 10 to 20 episodes, so it’s shorter than what’s usually programmed in Latin America.
Obviously Korean storytelling works well in the region. The demand for non-English content is rising, as proven by the success of Parasite and Turkish series. We believe Korean series are a good complement.
What type of titles are included in that package?
At the moment we are focusing on lighter titles, such as romantic comedies, easy, accessible.
Another part of the Korean trend is to adapt Korean scripts into dramas. Of course, The Good Doctor has been a big success in Turkey and the US. We have adapted a number of Korean scripts throughout the years. In Turkey alone, it’s been 35 adaptations in the last five or six years.
Right now we are working on several projects based on Korean scripts, with active options in France and a project in pre-production in Turkey.
There are tons of similarities between Korean and Turkish culture, something that should play well in Latin America as well.
Is Eccho Rights looking to enter the world of production?
Eccho Rights’ business is to represent producers and manage their rights around the world. In that sense, we enter projects more and more in their early stages, even at development, sometimes investing alongside the producer while we look for the financial package.
Because the classic US model, the so-called “cost-plus deal”, in which the platform monitors your budget, they have an accountant on each set, and you get a 10% margin on your cost. That’s of course a safe model for a producer because you take very limited risk, but the upside is also limited.
What I see us adding to producers is to represent their rights and to negotiate with different windows. Obviously to make a series for Netflix is fantastic, but it could also be the alternative. We are seeing more and more regional SVODs coming up like Viaplay in Scandinavia. Regional SVODs are becoming an alternative to the global platforms.
I still think that the producer should retain as much IP as possible, because hey are the ones who really know their series and how to bring it forward to the next season, the next spinoff or sequel. So, our job is to help the producer to retain rights, and if you do the windowing properly, you sell the windows to the best partners, you can make a lot of money and retain rights. A good drama franchise can be sold and developed for decades. And also adapted. At Eccho we help producers do between 20 and 30 remakes a year and they profit from it as well.
So it’s becoming a complex game of managing a drama franchise. We are dividing that work with the producers. We have that expertise and the producer has the expertise in producing and developing fantastic series. Together we can be very successful.
Which countries are you applying this model in?
We are working with producers in Scandinavia and more and more in Turkey, because they’re starting to understand that it’s a new world out there. And we also have the first two big projects in Spain. We are presenting them alongside the producers. It’s a bit early to announce them but they are in development.