RTÉ FACTUAL

COMMISSIONING BRIEF

Head of Documentary & Arts - Niamh O'Connor
Assistant Commissioning Editor Arts - Sarah Ryder

UPDATED: Wednesday 26th November 2014

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FACTUAL PROGRAMMING

Contemporary factual content seeks to explore the ever-changing experience, diversity and complexity of modern life in Ireland. We document the people and places that make Ireland what it is today, as well as interrogating the issues that affect and concern us all right now. We strive to commission intelligent, provocative content and a range of approaches including landmark, observational documentary and authored documentaries who take us on a journey of significance. Factual Programmes occupy key slots in the schedule and remain a core part of our Public Service output. We are committed to preserving the strong reputation for serious journalism, making the stories accessible and engaging and commissioning authoritative bold and innovative documentaries, produced to the highest standard. Our programmes need to spark debate, inform and entertain.

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RTÉ Factual is looking for ideas for one-off documentaries and short series for the autumn of 2015. We are commissioning into a number of slots from September to December 2015 to add to an already exciting slate for next year. All of our slots are Mondays at 9:30pm on RTÉ One, so we need ideas that are big enough to attract an audience at this most competitive time. We want ideas for documentaries with:

Budget: We have a maximum cost-per-hour of €120k, although we expect all ideas to be competitively priced.

1. Access: Stories that have captured the nation's imagine that would make for powerful documentaries with the right access and an intelligent, journalistic approach. This year, Michaella, Peru and the Drugs Run gave our audience a unique insight into Michaella McCollum-Connolly, her family and the reasons she ended up in Peru. This doc got over 40% share when it was first broadcast. Similarly Tony O'Reilly: The Real Deal performed extremely well. We are looking for other ideas that will bring our audience up close to the personalities who are in the headlines.

2. Timing: Stories that dominate public debate and where our audience wants more than to merely watch the story unfold in the news. This summer we green-lit a reactive half-hour documentary on the Garth Brooks concerts debacle as the story started to grow. Garth Brooks: Tomorrow Never Came was turned around in two weeks and given a Monday 9:30 slot. On the night, it attracted over 30% of the audience. We are going to reserve a number of slots for strong reactive docs on the stories that we must do. Think Irish Water earlier this year.

3. Strong Characters: Stories that have compelling subjects and a passion at their hearts, but touch on a wider issue. Rough Rider really connected with our audience when it was broadcast earlier this year. Are there other people like Paul Kimmage whose stories, when told in a crafted documentary, would have the same strong audience appeal?

4. Impact: Stories that shape the agenda, rather than follow it. Last year The Disappeared made headlines when it was broadcast. We're looking for ideas that would marry journalism and documentary-making to bring an audience to the stories that should be told.

5. Develop popular factual formats A factual format like Secret Millionaire can make an impact with strong story, depth and insight. What are your ideas for new returnable Irish factual formats that can bring a structured narrative to bear on important human stories? We would like develop a number of proposals in this area for potential TX in 2015.

Ideas should be submitted via e-commissioning. We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
https://e-commissioning.rte.ie/SWIFT.Web/skins/rte/login.aspx
under the programme category "Factual - Autumn 2015"

There is no cut-off date for applications, as we will continue to commission into Autumn 2015 until all slots are filled. However we would like to be in a position to commission slots that will require a longer production period this side of Christmas, so please do get your ideas in soon.

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What we're looking for:

Authored documentaries: new stories and new expertise; charismatic and knowledgeable personalities willing to journey through areas of Irish life, culture and contemporary experience that we might not otherwise have had access to.

Observational documentaries: compelling and innovative proposals for long-term observational and immersive documentary singles and series. We are particularly interested in hearing from companies who have already secured full access to institutions or organisations which are at the frontline of Irish life - anywhere where stories can be told that uncover or illustrate issues which are unfolding now in Ireland. We have a number of projects commissioned/developed for 2014: They are a series based in a Women's prison, a series in Ireland's head probation office and a series set in one of Ireland's busiest welfare office. We are willing to fund bold statement factual here from fixed rig to other innovations. Develop popular factual formats A factual format like Secret Millionaire can make an impact with strong story, depth and insight. What are your ideas for new returnable Irish factual formats that can bring a structured narrative to bear on important human stories? We would like develop a number of proposals in this area for potential TX in 2015. REACTIVE A key objective of the factual department in 2012/2013 was to build on the ability of the Factual Department to react to major events, both through the commissioning process and our in-house capabilities. We have achieved this and want to build on it. Successful reactive documentaries in 2012 were, Life and Debt, Pension Shock," Ireland outside the Euro" and Inside court no5, the Michaela McAreavey court case.

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Contestable slots RTE 1 - pre-watershed

Sunday 20.30 6x30 54k per ep

Sunday 20.30 6x30 58k per ep

Tuesday 19.00 6x30 48kper ep

Thursday 20.30 6x30 54kper ep

Tuesday 21.35 - 4x30 35k per ep

RTÉ Factual is looking for vibrant observational and innovative pre-watershed strands. Ideally series would consist of six episodes and contain strong storylines that can compete for audiences with the soaps. They could be a lighter but insightful slice of current Irish life here or abroad like our successful Truckers & Communion Day series.

They could take place behind the scenes of an everyday location brought to life. There is also the potential to carve oral or social histories that contextualise local stories using great casting and archive. Successful Factual examples have included: Disasters, Rescue, Hostages, The Way We Worked and On the Street Where You Live.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
https://e-commissioning.rte.ie/SWIFT.Web/skins/rte/login.aspx
under the programme category Factual "Contestable slots RTÉ 1 - Pre-Watershed"

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RTE Arts

The arts on television will move centre-stage in 2014 and beyond, so we are looking mainly for big-idea pre-watershed arts series that will play in pre-watershed evening slots and appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Our mission over the next year is to build audiences for the arts by supplementing our post-watershed arts output with more pre-watershed arts. We are currently looking for imaginative ideas for 6 X 30" arts series that engage the public with Irish culture or a particular artform. Series such as CraftMaster and Instrumental have done this very successfully over the past few years - and now we are looking for new, pre-watershed formats and ideas with the arts at their core. We welcome ideas that have the potential to use RTE resources cleverly (TV, radio, online, our performing groups) to amplify their message and engage as wide an audience as possible. We are also open to strong, populist formats that tie in to or build up to a national arts event in 2014. Please note, however, that observational series do not work in early-evening slots. We would encourage production companies to come to us instead with ideas that encourage participation in the arts, whether that is participation on screen, or by highlighting a particular artform through campaign, activity, outreach or by just being enjoyable to watch. The series should be fun, entertaining, but content rich, and will be broadcast early evening so must appeal to a broad, soap-avoider audience.

Post-watershed documentary slots for TV Arts are already fully allocated in 2014, but we are happy to develop ideas that will come to fruition in 2015 and beyond. Single documentary should, where possible, come with a co-pro partner or funding attached. We want to prioritise Big Idea, landmark arts series and events which could play in post-watershed slots in late 2014 and beyond. Again, ideas that can benefit from external funding or co-production will be particularly welcomed.

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RTE 2 - REALITY BITES 6x60 contestable

Post Watershed 2014

Fact Ent Popular documentary series providing a non judgemental slice of life.

Looking for interesting characters and grabby stories which will engage 15 - 34s. While one off Reality Bites docs will continue there will be an increased emphasis on mini-series such as Maia Dunphy's What Women Want.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
https://e-commissioning.rte.ie/SWIFT.Web/skins/rte/login.aspx
under the programme category Factual "Contestable slots RTÉ 2 - Reality Bites"

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Please note:
The discussion of, or initial interest in, a proposal does not represent a commitment to commission by RTÉ and should not be understood as such.

Commissioning decisions will reflect the quality of proposals received and the scheduling priorities operating at the time. RTÉ's financial position will also be a factor.

Any proposals previously submitted to RTÉ in categories listed here, and which were rejected on a first reading in a previous Round, should not be re-submitted and will not be reconsidered.

RTÉ 2014
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