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, 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 documentary series Afghanistan:Inside Australia's War, (winner of the 2016 NSW Premier's History Award Media Prize), 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 and The Principal. In September 2017, Essential Media completed the sale of its Australian scripted division to FremantleMedia.
Essential Media’s current Australian production slate includes a second season of Body Hack with Todd Sampson (for Network Ten), Uncharted with Sam Neill (for Foxtel & Prime NZ) and The Living Universe (ABC, Arte France, Curiosity Stream & UKTV). The latest season of Gourmet Farmer (Season 5) is currently being broadcast on SBS to stellar ratings cementing its position as SBS’s number one food series franchise, and the next instalment of Shane Delia’s culinary adventures Shane Delia’s Recipe for Life (SBS) will premiere in 2018.
Having just completed the Australian film festival circuit (SFF, Revelations, MIFF, BIFF), the Kriv Stenders directed feature documentary The Go-Betweens: Right Here will release in cinemas on September 28, 2017.
Executive Producer Carmel Travers launched Essential Kids & Family in 2015 with the success of animated series Sydney Sailboat, while the company’s first foray into the feature film world got off to an impressive start with the 2014 release of Disney’s Saving Mr Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
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.