Essential Media and Entertainment is one of Australia’s leading independent producers of high quality screen content for both local and international audiences.
Founded in 2006 by Chris Hilton, Sonja Armstrong and Ian Collie, Essential Media produces documentaries, TV drama, features films, factual series and lifestyle programming out of its Sydney head office. The business also produces scripted television and factual entertainment in Los Angeles and Toronto via its joint ventures Essential Media USA, EQTV and Essential Media Canada.
Platform partners outside Australia include BBC, National Geographic, PBS, Discovery Networks, Sundance, History Channel, Arte, Netflix and Fox Network.
Essential Media’s recent successes include the Kriv Stenders (Red Dog) directed music feature documentary The Go-Betweens: Right Here (Winner Best Feature documentary at 2017 SPA awards), the documentary series Afghanistan: Inside Australia's War, (winner of the 2016 NSW Premier's History Award Media Prize), the 2017 Logie-nominated adventure science series Todd Sampson's Body Hack and standout lifestyle hits Gourmet Farmer and Shane Delia’s Spice Journey. The company has been behind internationally acclaimed drama series such as Rake, Jack Irish, Doctor Doctor, The Principal and the Disney movie Saving Mr Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
In September 2017, Essential Media completed the sale of its Australian scripted division to FremantleMedia and is rebuilding its drama and feature film slate in 2018 with several projects in development for the international market.
Essential Media’s current Australian production slate includes a second season of Body Hack (for Network Ten), Uncharted with Sam Neill (for Foxtel & Prime NZ) and Living Universe (ABC, Arte France, Curiosity Stream & UKTV). A new season of Gourmet Farmer (Season 5) is in the pipeline and remains Australian broadcaster SBS’s number one food series franchise.
Factual Entertainment formats are a growing focus for the company along with partner companies in North America. The Los Angeles and Toronto unscripted companies currently produce series for a variety of platforms including HGTV, Food, Animal Planet and National Geographic and for the Corus and Blue Ant media groups in Canada.
In the USA, Essential is represented by Kaplan Stahler for unscripted and by UTA for scripted.