News | RTL Group | London/Cologne, 10/12/2021

Fremantle Sells ‘Arctic Drift’ In 170 Countries And Regions

TV channels and streaming services around the globe are snapping up “Arctic Drift,” the international version of the award-winning German UFA documentary “Expedition Arktis.”

Fremantle has sold “Arctic Drift: A Year Into The Ice,” the international version of the award-winning UFA documentary “Expedition Arktis,” into a total of 170 countries and regions, including Amazon Prime Video in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Channel 4 in the U.K., PBS in the U.S. for the acclaimed science series “Nova,” and France Televisions in France. “Arctic Drift” takes viewers on a spectacular expedition aboard the Alfred Wegener Institute’s German icebreaker “Polarstern” ( see BENET report ). For one year, as part of the Mosaic expedition, the “Polarstern” drifted through the Arctic Ocean, frozen into an ice floe. “Arctic Drift” will be broadcast in the U.K., U.S. and France in October and November, to coincide with this year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26), which begins Nov. 1 in Glasgow. The international version of the German documentary is a collaboration between the Fremantle production companies UFA Show & Factual and Wild Blue Media.

“For UFA, the sales success of ‘Arctic Drift’ points the way to the future. The documentary film genre will become more important nationally and worldwide – this trend, too, is expressed in the outstanding sales figures,” says UFA CEO Nico Hofmann. “Our newly founded UFA Documentary will strategically leverage the great interest in this genre: First projects are already emerging, in particular in association with Bertelsmann and the Content Alliance and our cooperation with Spiegel TV. I’m proud that we recognized the importance for the documentary genre so successfully and early on in our production activities: ‘Arctic Drift’ is a fine example for this within UFA, Bertelsmann and Fremantle, and a great launch pad for UFA Documentary’s long-term success.”

Jens Richter, CEO of Fremantle International, said: “This is a brilliant, timely documentary with exclusive access to a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a full spectrum of international scientists. The roster of broadcasters who have come on board highlights that there is the appetite for premium documentaries with an urgent message, and this is a film that is uniquely backed up with science, hope and the adventure of spending a year in the Arctic.”

The international sales include pan-regional deals with National Geographic for Latin America, BBC Earth channels in Africa and Asia, and OSN for Middle East and North Africa. In Eastern Europe, LTV (Latvia), LRT (Lithuania), Canal+ (Poland) and RTV Slovenija and Czech TV have acquired rights. Pubcasters, DR (Denmark) YLE (Finland) and NRK (Norway) picked up rights in Scandinavia. Earlier this year, “Arctic Drift” was already broadcast in Italy on Rai, and Sky Italia acquired the secondary rights. The documentary was also sold to KBS Korea, Gain in Turkey, and Cosmote in Greece.

Ute Biernat, CEO of UFA Show & Factual, said: “The great interest in this documentary proves that we hit a nerve with the topic. We accompanied and documented an unprecedented scientific, logistical, and human adventure. In collaboration with Fremantle and our colleagues at Wild Blue Media, our footage of the Mosaic expedition is now going around the world! It is fantastic that we were able to accompany this pioneering project and that the Alfred Wegener Institute gave us the opportunity to cover the expedition so comprehensively.” Philipp Grieß, Senior Producer and Director at UFA Show & Factual, added: “The team behind ‘Arctic Drift’ is thrilled about the enormous response this important research project is getting through its worldwide broadcast. The 385 days of filming in the once-eternal ice left a deep impression on everyone involved. We hope to share the magic that characterizes this threatened region of our planet with a large audience.”

When the documentary first aired on ARD in Germany on November 16, 2020, it attracted 4.2 million viewers, a 12.2 percent share of the market. In addition, “Expedition Arctic” won the “Best Science Documentary Award” of the Silbersalz International Science and Media Festival and won the Judges Award at the International Competition of the 2021 Nature Vision Film Festival. Besides being documented by UFA Show & Factual, the Mosaic expedition was also covered and accompanied by other Bertelsmann Content Alliance companies: Gruner + Jahr published reports on the expedition in its magazines “Stern,” “Geo,” “Geolino,” and “P.M.” Prestel Verlag published the illustrated book “Expedition Arktis,” C. Bertelsmann published the expedition report “Eingefroren am Nordpol,” and CBJ published the children’s book “Expedition Polarstern.” The Audio Alliance accompanied Mosaic with the audio logbook “Arctic Drift – Das Audiologbuch.”