EXCLUSIVE: Bertelsmann podcast studio Storyglass has opened in Australia and is behind a range of podcasts including one on UFOs, two seasons of Red Bull’s Why I Run and a Family Feud format.
The division has been up-and-running for around two years and Managing Director Steve Carsey unveiled a wealth of projects to Deadline in his first interview, some of which have already launched.
That UFO Podcast is one of Storyglass’ early partnerships and covers all things unidentified in the air and ocean, speaking to experts and getting a feel for a topic that is growing in interest.
Carsey stressed the partnership nature of the upcoming podcast, along with the likes of Accidentally MILF with Hollywood-based Glistening Productions, and said the team is looking to “support the independent creator network in podcasting – and not just in audio.”
Meanwhile, coming from the recently-opened Australian office, which Carsey has overseen, is Family Feud, a gameshow that is co-produced with iHeart Australia and based on the cult U.S. format from decades ago.
The show, which launched over the summer, is testament to what Carsey is trying to do with gameshow IP and podcasts, he said. Helmed by Pete Helliar, it sees families compete for a cash prize by providing the answers to everyday questions that were surveyed by 100 members of the public.
“This isn’t just about creating new properties and content, it is about breathing fresh life into heritage IP,” added Carsey.
The Australian hub is working closely with Bertelsmann-owned Fremantle Australia and Carsey said the team is looking at how it can turn five-or-six other established TV formats into podcasts, while, as with most major podcast companies, they are also thinking in the reverse about TV and film spin-offs.
Being part of the wider Bertelsmann Group, which owns the likes of Penguin Random House, gives Storyglass access to IP across a huge range of interest areas, said Carsey. Carsey, an experienced TV exec and former Audible Senior Director, said he was first attracted to the Storyglass role by Fremantle’s “bold strategy and ability to look at content with a cross-platform view.”
“We can find synergies not just in TV but in book publishing, music and education,” he added. “The ability to tap into editorial expertise, partnerships and other areas is a key differentiator for us.”
Other shows to emerge from Storyglass recently include Spotify youth history format Flex’s Semi-Factual History Lessons, Audible scripted spin-off Wentworth: The Fall Girl and true crime offering Chasing Charlie.
In scripted, Carsey said Storyglass is “aligning with Fremantle’s drama interests, working exclusively in audio to identify new writing, writers, worlds and scripts that could transition, over time, into film, television, gaming and publishing.”
The company is also working up a mega-order of two seasons of Red Bull’s Why I Run, which tells the extraordinary stories of why different athletes turned to running.