Sunday, April 29, 2018

When TV and film go global. And digital. And then everything changes.

The TV and film industries: Little change for decades then a deluge of change. Which brings us to this update on some pieces I put together recently on how writers and producers are dealing with turbulence being the new industry norm.

Why such choppy waters? Because, as discussed here, in the TV industry very little changed for several decades.

But now everyone in the audiovisual industry knows major change is afoot—from falling licence fees to competition from OTT providers like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, to the growing role of data and analytics to personalized recommendations pushing programming to viewers. And that isn’t even a comprehensive list, but what is indisputable is that the monopoly on attention long held by broadcasters and networks is being challenged, and the challenge is coming from many different directions. For the full article on some of the ways broadcasters and producers are navigating their way through the digital and streaming transformation click here.

One of the biggest challenges for traditional broadcasters is the massive amount of investment going into content licensing and production on the part of the streaming only services. The biggest investor by far is Netflix, which is said to be spending $8 billion on content acquisition in 2018, a number that includes the underwriting of about 700 original shows globally.

Here in Canada the big topic is the $500 million over 5 years the company has pledged to production north of the 49th parallel. Some Canadian productions on Netflix have become among the most popular on the service worldwide. Yes I'm looking at you Anne with an E.

And of course producers want to know how to make the approach to the platform that has over 120 million subscribers and is seen in close to 200 countries. See the article on pitching to Netflix here.

And what about TV, once thought of as the small screen in our living room, in contrast to the big screen at cinemas. It isn't going away, of course, but it too is going global in its scope. There's a whole TV-as-a-franchise world out there, in the form of things like those bake-off, celebrity dancing, chef tantrum-throwing, and millionaire-making quiz shows. 

Create once, sell many times. So goes the saying from the playbooks of entrepreneurs everywhere, and now the saying is in bold face type for TV creators.

They're called 'TV formats', and whether they involve singing, selling, cooking, shopping, renovating or any number of potentially competitive activities, they have galvanized an industry once centred around drama, comedy, and news and information programming.

What began as a small slice of the TV landscape has, since the early 2000s, has become a multibillion dollar annual market, with a reach that extends to hundreds of countries worldwide. The full article on the higher risk but high reward world of TV format creation and production can be seen here.

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