Quick Takes: Judy Barlow, APT Worldwide


Judy Barlow

Quick Takes is a Q&A series designed to connect content companies with prospects while in-person events are postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lights, camera, action!

Judy Barlow
VP International Sales, APT Worldwide
Location: Boston

How has the pandemic affected your content slate or schedule?
Fortunately, we haven’t experienced any major delays with our content slate or schedule. Many of our travel series were already in post-production and so this year we’re able to offer new seasons of several popular series, including Outside Beyond the Lens, Curious Traveler and Rick Steves’ Europe. Food and in-studio series were a bit challenged and had to adjust their formats to observe protocols, but we’re pleased to be bringing out a new season of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television, which has both in-studio and travel segments. In our documentary collection, most of those were far enough along to be completed.

outside beyond the lens

What releases are you most looking forward to?
We’re really excited to be bringing out some new documentaries in addition to our series and lifestyle programs. They include a fascinating ob-doc about a chef hoping for another Michelin Star in The Inn at Little Washington: A Delicious Documentary, and a new take on sharks without all the gore in Great White Shark. We also have a music doc featuring Cuban musician Eliades Ochoa of the Buena Vista Social Club, and another engaging music program called Discover The Firebird. And finally, we have a charming documentary called The Book Makers about people who craft stunning, handmade books which are works of art in themselves.

What is your outlook on the state of the industry moving forward?
Now that the existing inventory has been brought to market, I think we may see a slight lag in production of new content until producers can secure new financing and start traveling again. With the vaccines being rolled out, and a better understanding of the coronavirus, we hope that funding will accelerate. We do know the time during the lockdown has been well-spent in inventing new concepts, ideas, planning, development and pre-production activities, so our producers are ready to go just as soon as there is a green light!

Do you find peoples’ viewing habits have shifted in terms of what they watch and how they watch it? How does your company’s content adapt to this new reality?
Definitely people have grown accustomed to watching things when they want, and as much as they want. So a greater volume of content is needed all at once, instead of a limited, slow rollout. But also people are looking for content that will give them a chance to enjoy things vicariously that they can’t currently do while in lockdown, like with our doc Rick Steves Egypt: Yesterday and Today. And they’re looking for content that will improve their lives. We’ve seen this with nostalgic content, like our series The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Viewers in these uncertain times have really gravitated to Bob’s soothing voice, and encouraging words, even if they never pick up a paint brush. It’s just relaxing to watch him paint! And we’re happy to have a doc about Bob a well, called Bob Ross: The Happy Painter.

Theatrical windows have been all but eliminated, do you think this is temporary?
I do think this is temporary, and people will be eager to do communal activities like going to the movie theatre as soon as it is safe to do so!

Read more about the impact of coronavirus on the air travel industry, including APEX’s position on the matter, and subscribe to the APEX Daily Experience newsletter to stay up to date.