Storyteller Productions finds a firm ally in ITN

THE sale of locally-produced documentary series Animal Allies to Britain’s Independent Television Network is a major coup for Perth-based production company Storyteller Productions.

This is the first time the ITV network has signed a deal for a 13-part documentary series from Australia.

Storyteller Productions chief executive officer Mike Searle said that, although ITV previously had picked up one-off projects, this was the first time the network had bought an entire series.

“Our programs have been bought by both terrestrial (free to air) broadcasters like the BBC and for one offs, but this is the first time a complete series has been picked up by a terrestrial station,” Mr Searle said.

Animal Allies explores the relationship between humans and animals living in all different environments, from the African savanna to domestic situations.

Storyteller undertook research ahead of producing Animal Allies and discovered that, although children enjoy wildlife docu-mentaries, there’s also a lot of interest in programs about pets.

“There isn’t a show anywhere in the world which combines domestic animals and what’s happening in the wild,” Mr Searle said.

“We took it a stage further and came up with a how-to section.”

The series was shot entirely with local talent and local crew, and all the post-production was completed in Perth.

“Animal Allies is not just about entertaining viewers, it’s also about educating people about how precious our natural environment is,” Mr Searle said.

“When I was at Channel Seven I covered the Augusta whale rescue in 1988 and it had a profound effect on my life. I decided I wanted to make a documentary on the whale rescue.

“I was fed up with chasing fire engines and politicians so I formed Storyteller and got out of the news and decided we would make a series called Before It’s Too Late on what people are doing globally to save endangered species.”

While working with Discovery on its Animal X series, a co-production with Discovery’s Animal Planet that investigates the bizarre world of animal mysteries, Storyteller Pro-ductions developed software it hopes to market to businesses around Australia.

Called Corporate Capture, the software is built using a web program language that will allow businesses to create CD presentations for video-captured footage.

“We can get up to two or three hours on one CD rom. It could turn out to be very lucrative and no one else in Australia is doing it to this quality,” Mr Searle said.

Corporate Capture has the potential to provide Storyteller Productions with a more stable income stream than its project-based film and television productions.

Storyteller currently employs 16 people and last year generated revenue of $3 million.

“This will give us a cash flow basis so in between projects we won’t have to let people go,” Mr Searle said.

“It’s taken six months to develop and it will allow any corporation to have a corporate presentation and send that corporate presentation out on a CD rom. And it can be played on full screen with full stereo sound on any PC.”

Storyteller hopes Corporate Capture will become an invaluable tool for businesses working with global clients and partners.

This will be an added bonus for one of the most profitable privately owned production companies in Australia.

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