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“We don’t make money out of Bluey… who knew it was a unicorn?”

ABC Managing Director David Anderson reflects on hindsight and the commission deal for a show that would become a phenomenon.

ABC managing director David Anderson was on ABC Radio this morning, during which he was asked about revenue from global hit series, Bluey.

“We don’t make money out of Bluey,” he confirmed. “What Bluey does is provide joy to children and families all over the country and now all over the world. And that would be priceless.”

Anderson was not MD when Bluey was commissioned, jointly by ABC / BBC in 2017, or premiered in 2018, but Director, Entertainment & Specialist.

The show’s phenomenal success has seen BBC Studios license products in territories across the globe.

Anderson continued, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I remember sitting there with the Head of Children’s. And it almost starts like a joke… a little known producer walks through the door and says ‘Have I got something for you!’ and it’s a 2D animation about a puppy.

“I was advised that we thought it would work. We thought it would bring joy to people. Who knew it was a unicorn from that moment? It all goes down to Joe Brumm, who’s the creator of Bluey from Queensland.”

He added, “But we have returning series of Bluey, there’s a 28 minute episode coming for everybody. BBC Studios were a co-investor in this. They took a position. They get the revenue for merchandise.”

7 Responses

  1. With Bluey Lingo owns the show, the ABC put in a bit of money to commission it and secure the first run Australian rights, and get it off the ground because it was worthwhile TV to make, they were right about that. The BBC put up most of the money and had final say on commissioning new seasons. In exchange they have 100% of global distribution of broadcast streaming rights, and the DVD and merchandising, this has been widely reported since 2018. The ABC commissions most of their shows this way, and most of the time it saves them a lot of money and leaves all the risks to be carried by others. But in this case their conservative approach cost them hundreds of millions. Most of the industry works this way, and government even hand over tax payer money to US company so they will lets us make their shows and films for them.

    1. I liken it more to 20th Century Fox telling George Lucas “sure you can have 100% of the merch rights to Star Wars” because they didn’t think there was money to be made there

  2. To quote Hollywood writer William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything.” People who think they have a hit, probably do not. Those who think they’ve rejected a guaranteed failure will often get a surprise when it resonates. Nobody knows anything.

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