Broadcast – Outline plans fresh US assault in deal with DRG

Outline Productions is planning a fresh attack on the US market after arming itself with development funding to compete with British super-indies and Hollywood studios.

The Show Me Your Garden producer struck a deal with Doc Martin distributor DRG this week that will give it greater financial and creative firepower as it targets further growth.

Outline will use DRG’s investment to produce pilots, set up format run-throughs and bring in talent to ramp up the number of shows its produces for UK and international broadcasters.

Outline will work closely with DRG, particularly chief operating officer Richard Halliwell, to identify internationally friendly genres and partner with the firm’s sister production companies across Europe, including Swedish factual indie Strix.

Outline chief executive Laura Mansfield said: “It’s tough being a small- to medium-sized indie in the UK with in-house producers, international studios and large, well-funded companies. “Our ideas can easily compete with companies globally, but what we haven’t had access to is funding that can back up these ideas.”

The indie has started to make waves in the US – one of the major US broadcasters recently piloted its C4 medical format Health Freaks and it has a number of other shows in active consideration with terrestrial and cable networks.

“We’ve achieved a certain amount of traction in the US for being a company with big ideas, but we haven’t necessarily had the capacity to deliver,” the Pact chair said.

DRG will distribute Outline’s titles globally but hasn’t taken an equity stake in the producer. “We’re ambitious and think there’s growth to be had, but we’re not ready to sell yet,” Mansfield added.