Leading independent production company, WTFN Group, turns 20 this week, celebrating with its busiest production year to date and three new network commissions.
Founded in 2003 by CEO Daryl Talbot and Chief Creative Officer Steve Oemcke, WTFN has grown to become one of Australia’s most respected and award-winning independents, with many of its successful national programs such as Bondi knows AND Emergency now seen around the world.
Starting solely as a production company (WTFN Entertainment), WTFN has expanded over time to now include distribution (Fred Media), branded content (WTFN BE), talent management (Empire Talent) and a management business. recently launched content and channel management (MCN radar).
Since 2003, WTFN has produced 1,461 hours of original programming, averaging 73 hours annually. The company is about to add three more shows to its long list of credits: a crime series and a factual series for Seven Network; and a new veterinary series which will be a co-production with an international broadcaster.
Counting series greenlit for 2023, which include returning seasons of some of its most popular titles, such as Paramedics, Emergency, Bondi VetAND Space invadersplus a recommission for one of his most recent series, First on the sceneWTFN will produce more than 80 episodes this year.
Over the past two decades, WTFN has developed and produced 76 original programming for networks in Australia and overseas. Of these 76 shows, 18 ran for three or more series.
Daryl Talbot, Steve Oemcke.
“This is something WTFN is very proud of,” says Daryl Talbot, chief executive officer of WTFN. “Returnable series are the lifeblood of independent production companies. Getting a show commissioned is always a challenge, but the biggest challenge is producing quality programming that connects with viewers, performs for the network, and returns year after year. Bondi knows it is in its 12th series and we have two more shows running for series 8 and 11 respectively. Returning series are an important KPI for this business.
WTFN recently extended an offer for British talent affected by the UK’s downturn in unscripted production to get in touch, agreeing to subsidize travel and accommodation costs and help secure the necessary work permits. WTFN has identified approximately 20 live roles thus far and is looking for experienced editors, producers, showrunners, post producers, field producers and production managers.
WTFN Chief Operating Officer Wes Crook is traveling to the UK next week to meet with potential candidates and a follow-up trip is planned for July. Anyone interested in applying should send a CV and a presentation email to: (email protected)
The company will also hire 20 interns in 2023.
WTFN has a long-standing relationship with Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne and typically employs 10 interns each year, many of whom transition into full-time roles with the company. To celebrate the 20th anniversary and to help manage the increase in production, 20 interns will be chosen to join the company this year.
Daryl Talbot added, “Steve and I couldn’t be more excited to reach this major 20-year milestone at such a brilliant time for the company. Knowing that this is probably our best year ever for manufacturing and active recruiting, as well as introducing more young people to the industry than ever before, makes us both very proud. WTFN has a talented and hardworking team, many of whom have been with us for many years, and a growing network of domestic and international broadcast clients whom we are grateful to call our partners – and would like to thank them all for their continued support.
“At a time when there are so many changes in the media landscape, we are delighted to be a strong independent company that has been nimble and smart enough to adapt and thrive over the past 20 years.
“With an outstanding pipeline of ideas that is constantly being expanded and an excellent understanding of what today’s audiences want, we look forward to creating many more years of content for audiences around the world.”