Money & Business

Nonfiction TV Producers Get a Stronger Voice

By / Jun 8, 2017 (simpson33/Thinkstock)

The two largest trade associations representing the unscripted content production industry are merging to better advocate for their members.

Kicking off an alliance the likes of those seen on Survivor, the Nonfiction Producers Association  and PactUS have joined forces to become NPACT. Membership of the new group consists of 99 unscripted entertainment companies, including those behind such hits as The Real Housewives of Orange County and Toddlers & Tiaras.

Former NPA General Manager John Ford, who will take on the same role for NPACT, said in a statement that the merger serves the greater good of the entire industry: “We face a looming crisis in keeping unscripted production companies healthy, one we can only address by coming together with a unified voice.”

The New Realities of Television

With internet streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu continuing to shake things up in the broadcasting world, reality TV producers have seen some big changes.

“Our producers believe network executives have become more risk-averse and are hedging their bets,” Ford told Cynopsis Media in a 2016 interview. “There’s an intensified focus on alternative ways to engage viewers, though often without proven revenue models in those areas.”

According to the results of a 2017 survey from Variety and PactUS, three-quarters of top U.S. reality producers said it was harder to make a deal with buyers in 2016 than it was in 2015. A separate two-thirds of producers said their profit margins dropped during that time span.

Despite those findings, survey data indicates that producers are looking at the positives: A full 70 percent said 2016 was a more successful year than 2015. Their optimism is shared by David Lyle, former PactUS president and now president emeritus of NPACT. He expressed hope that the trade group’s efforts will go a long way in offsetting the challenges created by media disruption.

“Combining PactUS and the NPA into one powerhouse organization offers a tremendous combination of resources and talents, and serves as a turning point that is key to helping preserve, propel, and expand the nonfiction content business,” he said in a statement. “The new NPACT represents the maverick spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship—the core DNA of unscripted—and will allow us to achieve our mutual goals so much faster.”

Meg Conlan-Donnelly

Meg Conlan-Donnelly is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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