Series production: how Israeli projects conquered the global market

18 July 2018, 11:15

Karni Ziv, Head of Drama and Comedy at the leading Israeli media company Keshet Broadcasting will speak at the ‘Series’ section of KYIV MEDIA WEEK 2018, organized with the support of KMW partner – Ukraine TV channel on September 18.

Karni Ziv is one of the most sought-after women in the TV industry of Israel. In 2013 she joined Keshet Media Group as Head of Drama and Comedy at Keshet Broadcasting. Mrs. Ziv is responsible for the development and management of the creative processes of all Keshet scripted projects. And also she is a supervisor of production aspects related to content and creativity for all international drama projects of a media group created in co-production with foreign content producers.

Mrs. Ziv has been working for almost 30 years in content production. Her career began in 1992 as a script writer of kids’ content for the Israeli cable company ICP, and in 2000 she became the CEO of the country's largest television kids’ channel. Later, Mrs. Ziv was Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Noga Communications media group and CEO of the major cable company HOT's Content Division. And in 2010 she became Deputy Executive Director for Content on the second-largest Israeli commercial channel Channel 10.

When she joined Keshet Broadcasting in 2013, she focused on issues of developing content with great international potential. Keshet is now one of the leaders in creating scripted formats, that are in demand even across the ocean. The greatest Keshet’s case is Israeli series Prisoners of War. It laid the foundation for the creation of the American project Homeland, one of the greatest hits of Showtime, which was awarded with Golden Globe for Best Dramatic TV series (in 2012 and 2013), as well as Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (2013).

And one of the most famous projects created for Keshet under the direct supervision of Mrs. Ziv is the drama series False Flag about a group of friends who for unknown reasons become the main suspects in a series of kidnappings around the world. In October 2015, MIPCOM announced that the project was commissioned by Fox International, and for the company it was the first purchase of the series not in English language.

Also, Karni Ziv oversaw the creation of the romantic comedy The Baker and the Beauty – love story of a simple guy and an international superstar. In 2017, the global rights to broadcast the first 2 seasons of the series was bought by Amazon. Also her portfolio includes the thriller Sleeping Bears about a woman receiving anonymous threats after the death of her psychoanalyst. In winter 2018, the project became one of the main events of the Drama Series Days at Berlinale. And in the spring of this year, another project of Mrs. Ziv – the dramatic series When Heroes Fly – about a group of friends trying to find their missing comrade in the Colombian jungle, won the International Cannes Series Festival (Canneseries).

At KMW Karni will deliver a report entitled ‘Series production. Local goes global. Story of Keshet’, which will be held in the form of a case study. Among other things she will tell how Keshet managed to become one of the leaders in creating series formats that are hits in Israel, in demand across the ocean and receive awards at international festivals.

  It's the strong scenario that Mrs. Ziv calls the main guarantee of the global success of the local series product. She is often asked why the representatives of global giants such as HBO, Showtime, AMC, Hulu, NBC and CBS come to Israel and address to Keshet in search of fresh ideas for their television projects. And she replies: ‘I think part of the answer is, we don't have big budgets to make very big shows. We don't have a system of pilots like the US, because we don't have the money for that. So we really invest most of our time and efforts in finding the right writers that have a story that he wants to tell and it's really all about that. We can't use a big budget to cover a not very good story.’

The emphasis on quality scenarios is just one of the important aspects of the creation of series content, which Mrs. Ziv will touch upon in her speech. After all, there are many interesting cases in the company's portfolio, which she represents.

The powerhouse of Keshet International is Keshet Broadcasting Channel 12 – the main Israeli commercial channel with free access. Keshet’s content is created by in-house production as well as independent prodcos, and cover all genres, including comedy, reality, drama, news. Also Keshet incorporates cable and satellite channel Music 24, a new media unit that includes Mako web portal with a million unique hits per day and about 180 million page views per month, and also a lot of popular e-commerce and lifestyle websites.

Karni Ziv’s report ‘Series production. Local goes global. Story of Keshet’ will take place on the second day of KYIV MEDIA WEEK (September 18) from 10:00 till 10:40.

A range of KMW events, dedicated to the series production, is organized with the support of Ukraine TV Channel, one of the leading Ukrainian creators of series content. In 2018, more than 900 premier hours of TV series are scheduled to be aired on the channel, 440 hours of which are in Ukrainian language. Generally, in 2018, the channel will host the premiere of more than 80 TV series. In the fall season, it is about 50 premiers.

The 8th edition of KYIV MEDIA WEEK will be held on September 17-21, 2018 at Hyatt Regency Kyiv (5 Alla Tarasova St., Kyiv, Ukraine). Registration at early bird prices is available until July 31.

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