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THE MAGAZINE OF INTERNATIONAL MEDIA | APRIL 2016
CHANGING CHANNELS RTL GROUP GUILLAUME DE POSCH & ANKE SCHÄFERKORDT FOX NETWORKS GROUP PETER RICE LIONSGATE JON FELTHEIMER A+E NETWORKS NANCY DUBUC TURNER GERHARD ZEILER VIACOM ROBERT BAKISH NETFLIX TED SARANDOS DISCOVERY CHANNEL RICH ROSS BELL MEDIA MARY ANN TURCKE NBCUNIVERSAL CESAR CONDE GLOBOSAT ALBERTO PECEGUEIRO STAR INDIA UDAY SHANKAR SKY GARYDAVEY MAKER STUDIOS RENÉ RECHTMAN
TIM WORNER TALKS SEVEN AT 60
HUBERT LACROIX ON CBC’S 80TH BIRTHDAY
EMPIRE’S ILENE CHAIKEN & MASTERPIECE ’S REBECCA EATON
PATRICK STEWART JAMES SPADER MORGAN FREEMAN
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APRIL 2016/MIPTV EDITION DEPARTMENTS WORLD VIEW
Publisher Ricardo Seguin Guise
By Anna Carugati.
Group Editorial Director Anna Carugati
Editor Mansha Daswani
By Bruce Paisner.
Executive Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
By Laurine Garaude.
Managing Editor Joanna Padovano
New content on the market.
Associate Editors Sara Alessi Joel Marino
Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari
Tim Worner and Angus Ross on 60 years of Seven.
Hubert Lacroix on CBC’s 80th anniversary.
In the stars.
Contributing Editor Elizabeth Guider
80 DAMIAN LEWIS
86 PATRICK STEWART
Production & Design Director Victor L. Cuevas
Online Director Simon Weaver
102 STAY TUNED!
Art Director Phyllis Q. Busell
This special report on the channels business in an on-demand era includes interviews with RTL Group’s Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, Fox’s Peter Rice, Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer, A+E’s Nancy Dubuc, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Turner’s Gerhard Zeiler, Viacom’s Bob Bakish, Bell Media’s Mary Ann Turcke, NBCUniversal’s Cesar Conde, Discovery’s Rich Ross, Sky’s Gary Davey, Globosat’s Alberto Pecegueiro, STAR India’s Uday Shankar and Maker Studios’s René Rechtman. —Elizabeth Guider, Anna Carugati & Mansha Daswani
163 RTL GROUP’S ANKE SCHÄFERKORDT & GUILLAUME DE POSCH
The co-CEOs of the European broadcasting giant discuss the success of their family-of-channels strategy and their digital roadmap. —Anna Carugati
ON THE RECORD
Senior Sales & Marketing Manager Dana Mattison Sales & Marketing Manager Elizabeth Walsh Business Affairs Manager Andrea Moreno Contributing Writers Steve Clarke Andy Fry Jane Marlow Joanna Stephens Jay Stuart David Wood Copy Editors Amy Canonico Maddy Kloss Luis Luna Susannah Rosenfield Stacey Wujcik
235 LIONSGATE’S JON FELTHEIMER
Ricardo Seguin Guise President
The CEO of the indie studio talks about adapting to shifting market dynamics and maintaining Lionsgate’s entrepreneurial spirit. —Anna Carugati
Anna Carugati Executive VP
IN CONVERSATION WORLD SCREEN is published ten times per year: January, February, March, April, May, June/July, September, October, November and December. Annual subscription price: Inside the U.S.: $90.00 Outside the U.S.: $160.00 Send checks, company information and address corrections to: WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. For a free subscription to our newsletters, please visit www.subscriptions.ws.
Special Projects Editor Bob Jenkins
295 A+E NETWORKS’S NANCY DUBUC Compelling factual series and high-end drama events remain priorities for A+E Networks’s president and CEO. —Anna Carugati
351 TURNER’S GERHARD ZEILER Turner International’s president is upbeat about the ongoing health of the channels business. —Anna Carugati 12 World Screen 4/16
Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development WORLD SCREEN is a registered trademark of WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.worldscreen.com ©2016 WSN INC. Printed by Fry Communications No part of this publication can be used, reprinted, copied or stored in any medium without the publisher’s authorization.
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APRIL 2016/MIPTV EDITION THESE TARGETED MAGAZINES APPEAR BOTH INSIDE WORLD SCREEN AND AS SEPARATE PUBLICATIONS:
TOP BUYERS SKY’S GARY DAVEY
LEADING PROGRAMMERS COMEDIES GENDER-NEUTRAL SHOWS SUPER RTL’S CLAUDE SCHMIT DHX’S STEVEN DENURE DISNEY’S SEAN COCCHIA THE JIM HENSON COMPANY’S LISA HENSON
192 204 212 220 224 228 230
SCRIPTED FORMATS DATING & MARRIAGE SHOWS BBC WORLDWIDE’S KATE PHILLIPS BANIJAY’S GRANT ROSS CASE STUDY: FOOTBALL NIGHTMARES
266 276 284 290 292
PROCEDURALS NOVEL ADAPTATIONS MASTERPIECE’S REBECCA EATON EMPIRE ’S ILENE CHAIKEN HAP AND LEONARD‘S JAMES PUREFOY
326 336 340 342 346
4K DOCS TRUE CRIME MORGAN FREEMAN DISCOVERY’S RICH ROSS FACTUAL TRENDSETTER AWARDS
370 376 382 384 388
PAY-TV BRANDS STAR INDIA’S UDAY SHANKAR NETFLIX’S TED SARANDOS CJ E&M’S D.J. LEE
402 408 410 412
LOCAL PRODUCTION EBONYLIFE TV’S MO ABUDU
NOVELAS & SERIES TRENDS FREMANTLEMEDIA’S ADRIÁN SANTUCHO SPT’S ANGÉLICA GUERRA TELEVISA INTERNACIONAL’S RICARDO EHRSAM
442 454 456 459
LISTINGS FOR 125 DISTRIBUTORS ATTENDING MIPTV
14 World Screen 4/16
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BY ANNA CARUGATI
No Place for Mediocre There are so many growing rifts in our world: in income equality, between the haves and have-nots; in religion, between mainstream faith and fanaticism; and in politics, between left and right. Even in the media industry there are increasing gaps. In programming, mediocre and run-of-the-mill won’t do; it must be high quality or high theatrics. There is so much competition, shows have to be either extremely good or brash, bold and noisy—and sometimes both—in order to get noticed and become lucrative. I’m not saying that everything on television is highbrow, but in order to succeed a show has to be a favorite of someone, and in the broadcast-network world it must be the favorite of many. For cable channels or subscription services, a show can be liked by fewer people, but they must be very, very passionate—they must be superfans. Growing rifts also appear in the channel business. As Turner’s Gerhard Zeiler explains in an interview in this issue, “nice-to-have” channels won’t cut it. In order to succeed a channel needs to be considered a must-have by consumers. In addition to the growing gap between channels that are not considered essential and those that are, the need for must-have channels or brands is becoming critical, as the business is in the process of changing significantly. Consumers, particularly younger ones, are abandoning costly cable subscriptions, often eschewing them entirely and opting for OTT services. Driven by economic conditions in some of the countries they service, cable operators in Europe and Latin America have started offering “skinny bundles,” smaller channel packages available at lower price points. Just this March, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) introduced the “pick-and-pay” model to the market, forcing cable operators to offer a basic package of channels at no more than C$25 per month, allowing subscribers to choose more channels—individually or as part of additional packages— at extra cost. The CRTC mandates the channels that the basic package must contain, which include local and regional stations; community, educational and publicservice channels; and in some cases non-local over-the-air stations and the American commercial networks. Subscribers who want to keep their large packages can do so, but the CRTC wants to offer consumers a lower-cost option. Consumers deserve more choice. Sources tell me cable and satellite operators south of Canada are pretty nervous about this development, fearing the FCC will be emboldened to establish a similar model, requiring them to offer smaller bundles. What will happen in the U.S. remains to be seen, but channel programmers are preparing for the possibility of a core-bundle offering and remain secure in their belief that the really popular brands—the must-have channels—
As we have seen over the past decade, what
consumers want matters.
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will not be imperiled and will be included in whatever core bundles are made available. If consumers can’t live without a channel, they will get it—or its programming—one way or another. The preferred way, obviously, is a legal way and one that remunerates producers, distributors and channels. In this issue, along with the conversation with Zeiler, we have in-depth interviews with RTL Group’s Guillaume de Posch and Anke Schäferkordt, Fox Networks Group’s Peter Rice, Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer, A+E Networks’s Nancy Dubuc, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Viacom’s Robert Bakish, Bell Media’s Mary Ann Turcke, NBCUniversal/Telemundo’s Cesar Conde, Discovery’s Rich Ross, Sky’s Gary Davey, Globosat’s Alberto Pecegueiro, STAR India’s Uday Shankar and Maker Studios’s René Rechtman. They discuss their businesses, the numerous ways they are offering programming, and their strategies for a profitable future. The constant theme throughout these interviews is the power of programming; of having must-watch series and specials that people want to view—often live—and discuss on social media. This creates a selfpropagating cycle that drives demand and expectation and fuels superfan communities. Another theme is that the programming has to be excellent in order to stand out, be noticed, get sampled and even binged—the writing, execution and acting must all be outstanding. Speaking of excellent acting, we have interviews with Damian Lewis, most recently the star of Billions, James Spader of The Blacklist and Patrick Stewart, who stars in Blunt Talk. And remaining on the topic of excellence in television, World Screen is partnering with MIPTV to present Factual Trendsetter Awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to the television industry in the area of nonfiction programming. Following the panel discussion “View From The Top: What Do Buyers Want?” on Saturday, April 2, at 10:45 a.m. in the Conference Room of the Martinez, awards will be presented to Corentin Glutron of RMC Découverte in France, Kristina Hollstein of ZDF and ZDF Enterprises in Germany, Nesta Owens of Discovery Networks CEEMEA and David Royle of Smithsonian Networks in the U.S. Of the many buzzwords in today’s world of instant communication, excellence and choice have become the most important. If it’s not good, compelling or topical, a show or even a channel won’t survive—viewers won’t choose it. And as we have seen over the past decade, what consumers want matters. They have created the rift between must-have and don’t-need, and the industry is following their lead.
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BY BRUCE L. PAISNER
Gossips in the Global Village An eon ago, in the early 1960s, a media commentator named Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “Global Village”. He imagined a world where everyone, through media, was interconnected with everyone else. Of course at that time there was no global village, only a comparatively few television stations and by the mid-1960s McLuhan had consciously stopped using the term. But we can use it today because a combination of broadcast and social media have evolved us into a global village, and perhaps a lot more like the villages of old than McLuhan or anyone else would have expected. The fact is that until the Industrial Revolution, almost everyone in the world lived in villages. Their lives were simple and uncomplicated in many different ways. But the most interesting thing to me is that everyone knew everyone else’s business. There were no secrets. You could not hide. The Industrial Revolution changed all that as many people left their villages for increasingly larger cities and, for those who desired it, anonymity became the norm. If you lived in New York or London or almost any other urban place, you could have all the anonymity and privacy you wanted. No longer. The internet has changed all that and once again, as for most of human history, it is very difficult to hide, and to recapture your reputation if it is smeared unjustly. One of the notable features of old-fashioned villages is that they had a news system—called the village gossip, or busybody. There was always more than one gossip and they competed to be first with the news, usually heedless of the accuracy of their reports. You couldn’t hide from them either, nor could you hide from their misrepresentations. Many a reputation was ruined, many a feud was started because the gossips got it wrong in the first place. Today we’ve come full circle, with the role of gossip being played by a plethora of news organizations (print, TV, internet) and websites that strive above all else to be first, and only very reluctantly back down no matter how different the actual facts turn out to be. Of course, competition among news organizations is nothing new. But in the balkanized, diffuse and hyper-competitive media climate that the internet has created, the pressure to be first—and with the most outrageous stories—is greater than ever. For a telling example, we need look no further than the now discredited Rolling Stone story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. In their apparent rush to get the story out, no one checked it sufficiently,
Wrong or exaggerated information can quickly escalate
into deadly force.
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and the resulting uproar, amplified by everyone from other news organizations to individual bloggers, unjustly upended many lives before the whole story was debunked. The problem is not just that reputations are ruined on a much larger scale, but that today’s global village contains many armed factions and wrong or exaggerated information can quickly escalate into deadly force. I was particularly struck by an incident several months ago when some United States sailors in the Persian Gulf mistakenly—and possibly because of mechanical failure—strayed briefly into Iranian territorial waters where they were seized by an Iranian ship. The whole incident was resolved within 24 hours, mainly by discussions between senior officials in each country. But the instinct when it happened for today’s village gossips was to turn it into a near approach to World War III. The world is full of fine news organizations and careful and responsible reporting. Democracies depend on that to survive. But what we have to worry about is those organizations, which, in the time-honored tradition of the village gossip, mainly want to cause trouble. We need to worry about that at the same time we worry about ISIS using Twitter and people stupidly posting compromising pictures on Facebook. We talk often about the adjustments in our personal habits that the internet has forced upon us. We are told to put little in emails or texts, and to be extraordinarily careful about what we send to whom. This is good advice, but it’s painfully easy to slip up as instant communication becomes central to our lives. What we have talked less about is the responsibility of those who, through television or the internet, disseminate what we broadly call news. Part of living successfully in our brave new global village is to encourage those who disseminate the news to be careful and deliberate about what they do, and always to weigh the consequences. Just as many villages in the past often shut down the local gossips, we today should have a similar attitude toward their global village counterparts. I think it is urgent that all of us in the media educate each other and the public about responsible journalism, and the ultimate difference between news and gossip in our global village. Bruce L. Paisner is the president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
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BY LAURINE GARAUDE
The Power of Fans at MIPTV With MIPDoc, MIPDrama Screenings, MIPFormats, MIP Digital Fronts, Brands at MIPTV, Kids @ MIPTV and a special focus on Germany, MIPTV 2016 brings together all the different genres and communities that make up the multifaceted and continually expanding global entertainment ecosystem. That ecosystem will be represented by over 11,000 international executives, including 4,000 buyers, of whom 1,000 are acquiring for the VOD market. In 2016 the theme is “The Power of Fans,” reflecting the increasingly important role that audiences, and particularly fans, are playing within the entertainment sector. MIPDoc on April 2 and 3 remains the largest event of its kind for factual programming, hosting some 1,600 programs and bringing together 850 participants, including 380 buyers. With the rapidly developing VR market and audience appetite for original online factual, the documentary sector is on a roll. In addition to workshops for producers co-organized by Germany’s Documentary Campus, 2016 sees the launch of a project library for documentary producers to discuss new programs looking for financing or coproduction partners. Doc trailblazer Morgan Spurlock will deliver a keynote and National Geographic’s The Story of God with Morgan Freeman will have its international premiere screening. MIPFormats, running parallel to MIPDoc, brings together almost 1,000 producers, commissioners, buyers and distributors of scripted and non-scripted formats—making it the largest gathering of the international format community in the world. One of the highlights of the event is the MIPFormats International Pitch competition, produced in partnership with all3media international. MIPFormats also offers a formidable lineup of keynote speakers, composed of Newen Group’s Bibiane Godfroid, ITV Studios’s Maria Kyriacou and creative agency KLOK’s Gary Carter. Attendees will be able to watch great entertainment formats during the inaugural La Nuit des Formats at the Palais des Festivals’s Grand Auditorium on the night of April 2. April 3 sees a new addition to the MIPTV portfolio with the launch of the MIPDrama Screenings. Selected by a jury of top showrunners and program creators, 12 series, primarily from Europe, will make their international debut in Cannes, screened as 20-minute trailers to an audience that includes some 350 buyers. The 12 selected series are Bodo (Poland), Bordertown (Finland), I Know Who You Are (Spain), Ku’damm 56: Rebel with a Cause (Germany), Mathilde (Russia), Medici: Masters of Florence (Italy), Public Enemy (Belgium), Ramona (Chile), Section
The conference program puts a multitude of industry leaders and forward-thinkers onstage.
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Zéro (France), The A Word (U.K.), The Secret (U.K.) and Victoria (U.K.). The day-long program of events will culminate in a “Coup de Coeur” award. Monday, April 4, sees one of MIPTV’s hot-ticket events, the World Premiere TV Screening. This year, A+E Studios’s Roots makes its international debut in the presence of cast members Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose and Malachi Kirby, together with executive producer Mark Wolper and co-executive producer LeVar Burton. As part of the Drama at MIPTV program, the International Drama Co-Production Summit will take place for the fifth year, bringing together top decisionmakers involved in international original drama production and spanning the key players in the world. The MIP Digital Fronts has established itself as the premier global digital content market devoted to the production, distribution and acquisition of original content designed exclusively for online audiences. Among the MCNs, digital studios and online publishers showcasing their content to MIPTV delegates, first-timers Endemol Shine Beyond, FremantleMedia and Webedia will join previous attendees Maker Studios, New Form Digital, Machinima, VICE and Studio71. MCNs will have a unique opportunity to meet with brands at Brands at MIPTV on April 5. The day-long program of presentations and networking events will discuss how brands need to master their own content strategy in order to become media owners in their own right. Mattel will celebrate its Brand of the Year Award with president and COO Richard Dickson delivering a keynote address. Over 1,000 youth and children’s programming buyers attend MIPTV and the Kids @ MIPTV strand showcases the latest programming from a host of market leaders. With summit talks on the future of kids’ TV, online platforms, public and private broadcasters discussing their content and programming strategies and the first Cannes edition of the International Emmy Kids Awards, Kids @ MIPTV is a unique gathering of this vibrant sector. While MIPTV’s core activity remains deal-making in all its forms, the gold-standard conference program puts a multitude of industry leaders and forwardthinkers onstage. This year’s stellar lineup of speakers includes RTL Group’s Guillaume de Posch, best-selling novelist Harlan Coben, Vivendi’s Dominique Delport, 21st Century Fox’s Ted Schilowitz and Wildness’s Margaret Czeisler. Laurine Garaude is the television division director at Reed MIDEM.
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A+E Networks Roots / SIX / Knightfall The life and legacy of Kunta Kinte gets a modern retelling in Roots, a remake of the original miniseries. “Roots is a historical portrait of American slavery, recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity,” says Joel Denton, the managing director of international content sales and partnerships at A+E Networks. The company is also presenting the miniseries SIX, inspired by the real missions of SEAL Team Six, best known for killing Osama bin Laden. Knightfall, meanwhile, is an epic drama series chronicling the actual events leading up to and following the persecution, downfall and burning at the stake of the Knights Templar, guardians of the Holy Grail, in 1307.
“MIPTV is a great opportunity to see and talk to clients about what’s working in their markets and what the new trends are.” —Joel Denton Roots
AFL Productions Drama / Gags Network hits / Co-production library The historical miniseries Curse of the Diamonds, one of AFL Productions’s drama highlights at MIPTV, is based on a true story involving Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. Yuri Volodarsky, the head of development and distribution at AFL Productions, says the title is “brimming with intrigue, action and mystery.” AFL’s drama slate also features short films directed by Ilya Rozhkov, including We Are Enemies and Sabre Dance. Other highlights are hits from the Gags Network such as the hiddencamera show with an erotic twist Naked & Funny. “We are currently actively seeking co-production partners and format [licensees] for Naked & Funny,” Volodarsky says. He adds that “AFL is looking for co-production partners to produce two fullfeature sequels about soccer and hockey.”
“Our main goal for 2016’s market isn’t too different from previous ones: Sell! Sell! Sell!” —Yuri Volodarsky Curse of the Diamonds
all3media international Employable Me / Close to the Enemy / Indian Summers Close to the Enemy and Indian Summers season two are both big-budget period dramas being officially launched at MIPTV as part of all3media international’s lineup. Both series contain “international stories and well-known casts,” according to Kelly Shek, a sales manager for finished programs at all3media international. Close to the Enemy is set after WWII and at the beginning of the Cold War, while the story in season two of Indian Summers takes place in India in the 1930s. The company also has a new factual series, Employable Me, following individuals with neurological conditions such as autism and Tourette syndrome as they find jobs that will tap into the skills and talents that are often masked by their conditions.
“Close to the Enemy has Stephen Poliakoff and Helen Flint at the helm and a stellar international cast.” —Kelly Shek Close to the Enemy 24 World Screen 4/16
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AMC Networks International AMC Global / Sundance Channel Global AMC Global can now be seen in more than 125 countries, including new markets such as the U.K. “AMC Global continues to showcase some of the most compelling original series exclusively for its audiences around the world,” says Harold Gronenthal, the executive VP of programming and operations at AMC/Sundance Channel Global. The new season of Fear the Walking Dead will premiere globally on AMC, first at various times simultaneous to the show’s April 10, 9 p.m., U.S. launch and then again in each region’s respective prime time. Sundance Channel has also grown quickly over the past few years and is now seen in more than 70 countries. “Sundance Channel continues to showcase a distinctive blend of original series alongside festival films and documentaries,” says Gronenthal.
“AMC Global and Sundance Channel Global are experiencing growth in terms of ratings and distribution while aggressively premiering a strong lineup of firstwindow original series.” —Harold Gronenthal Fear the Walking Dead on AMC Global
American Cinema International Love Finds You in Valentine / Marilyn Monroe Declassified / We Know Not What We Do American Cinema International (ACI) is offering the romantic movie Love Finds You in Valentine, the third film in the Love Finds You series. In addition, the company is showcasing two documentaries: Marilyn Monroe Declassified, which uncovers new revelations surrounding the iconic star’s death, and We Know Not What We Do, about environmental issues. Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, co-founder and president of ACI, says, “These titles are appealing for international buyers in the global market because they are inspirational stories that don’t have violence, sex or even bad language [and] can easily fit in any afternoon slot on any channel.” ACI is also prepping a slate of inspirational films, including A Father’s Gift, Strangers in Amish Country and The Girl from Felony Bay.
“We are excited about our new library vault ACI Inspires, which houses our inspirational titles that the whole family can enjoy together.” —Chevonne O’Shaughnessy Love Finds You in Valentine
Applicaster “Covering everything from live and on-demand video, news, messaging and second-screen activities, apps can be customized, branded and created with zero development effort thanks to our unique ZAPP platform.”
ZAPP platform Applicaster provides apps for various broadcasters and shows, helping them to deepen audience engagement. “Our new ZAPP platform, deployed in Q1 2016, aims to revolutionize how TV apps are built and maintained,” explains Peter Cassidy, Applicaster’s general manager for Europe. “ZAPP allows broadcasters to define the structure and functionality of their app, apply branding and design, customize analytics and other integrations and then publish a premium native app with just the click of a button. What’s more, many elements of the app can be changed remotely after release, avoiding the need for timeconsuming store submissions.” Cassidy says the platform offers “speedy delivery, rich functionality and increased flexibility— all at a fraction of the cost and hassle of building from scratch.”
BabyFirst app 26 World Screen 4/16
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Arab Telemedia Group Malek Bin Al Rayb / The Promise Arab Telemedia Group has a 30-year history in drama production and is looking to take these programs outside the Middle East into varied markets. “Our aim for this year is to expand the exposure of Arabic drama in the global market,” says Talal Awamleh, the company’s CEO and producer. At MIPTV, its top drama title is Malek Bin Al Rayb, which chronicles the life of a poet and knight from the Bani Tamim tribe who would steal from the rich to collect food for the poor. Arab Telemedia Group will screen the historical drama series at MIPTV for the first time. There’s also The Promise, which tells the story of a British Orientalist who visits the Arabian Desert to record Bedouins’ habits and traditions.
“Arab Telemedia’s content is evolving toward meeting the international standards of the industry.” —Talal Awamleh Malek Bin Al Rayb
Artist View Entertainment A Rising Tide / The Architect / The Horde Films centered on natural disasters, romance and actionpacked horror feature high on Artist View Entertainment’s MIPTV slate. A Rising Tide explores the journey of a young man who sets out to rebuild his community after the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. “The story will play well for broadcasters due to its unique disaster elements, coupled with lots of drama and romance,” says Scott Jones, the company’s president. In the film The Architect, the man a couple hires to build their dream home turns their lives upside down. Jones says the film is a “strong fit for both pay- and free-TV broadcasters.” Rounding out the company’s roster is the horror film The Horde, about an ex-Navy SEAL who is faced with the biggest challenge of his life.
“As Artist View continues in its 25th year of operations, we’d like to thank all the people who have supported us on our journey.” —Scott Jones A Rising Tide
ATRESMEDIA Televisión Finding True North / Plastic Sea / Locked Up From comedies to dramas, ATRESMEDIA Televisión is showcasing a range of scripted content in Cannes. The new comedy Finding True North follows a brother and sister who, tired of Spain’s unemployment situation, move to Berlin. However, their dreams quickly turn to nightmares there. Plastic Sea, meanwhile, is a crime thriller set in a town where greenhouses are the main source of income. Locked Up is the story of a fragile young girl who is confined in a women’s prison after her lover betrays her and she ends up convicted for fraud. “ATRESMEDIA’s series guarantee good stories, high-quality productions and strong characters [mixed] with a touching plot that will keep the audience engaged until the end,” says Diana Borbón, the sales manager for ATRESMEDIA.
“Our aim is to reinforce our position as a reference point in Spanish fiction and to increase the presence of ATRESMEDIA’s series in the international market.” —Diana Borbón Locked Up 28 World Screen 4/16
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ATV Orphan Flowers / Bandits / Wedlock The Turkish drama Wedlock, which ATV is presenting in Cannes, tells the story of Aylin, who married a famous and successful surgeon while she was still a university student. However, she soon finds herself in a psychological war with her husband and is left with two options: either give in to captivity or create a new life for herself and her children by showing courage. ATV is also offering Bandits, which follows a high-ranking member of the Mafia as he advances through the criminal underworld. According to Muhammed Ziyad Varol, the head of licensing and digital at ATV, the series is a mix of drama and action that appeals to both male and female viewers. ATV is also bringing to the market Orphan Flowers, about girls in an orphanage trying to find their families.
“We’re looking forward to sharing our strong soap operas at MIPTV and telling the international audience our success story.” —Muhammed Ziyad Varol
BBC Worldwide The Collection / Planet Earth II / Top Gear The period drama The Collection leads off BBC Worldwide’s slate, which also includes the landmark natural-history series Planet Earth II and the new season of Top Gear. “These three titles share absolutely premium production values, great storytelling and hugely accessible subject matter,” says Paul Dempsey, the president of global markets at BBC Worldwide. The Collection tells the story of a French fashion house just after WWII. Planet Earth II, a follow-up to Planet Earth, comes from the BBC’s Natural History Unit (NHU). “Planet Earth II is another game changer, hugely ambitious and uses the very latest filming technology you would expect from the renowned NHU,” says Dempsey. He is also touting season 23 of Top Gear, and the drama The Living and the Dead.
“Our priorities at MIPTV are to carry on the conversations we started with clients at BBC Worldwide Showcase.” —Paul Dempsey The Living and the Dead
Beyond Distribution Beach Cops / Too Many Cooks / Love It or List It: Vacation Homes The factual series Beach Cops puts viewers at the center of the action on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, following the men and women responsible for street policing and rescue operations. “Beach Cops is a series that will stand out in the market, as the characters are warmhearted, humorous but committed to their career,” says Munia Kanna-Konsek, the head of sales at Beyond Distribution. The series Too Many Cooks, which Beyond also has the format rights for, follows three amateur cooking couples competing against each other to feed demanding party hosts. The company is also offering the latest spin-off from the Love It or List It franchise with Love It or List It: Vacation Homes. “This property is exceptionally popular and goes from strength to strength,” says Kanna-Konsek.
“These programs are all very versatile. They lend themselves to assorted local versioning, as well as provide co-viewing opportunities.” —Munia Kanna-Konsek Love It or List It: Vacation Homes 30 World Screen 4/16
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Calinos Entertainment Relationship Status: It’s Complicated / Emergency Love / Love, Just a Coincidence The Calinos Entertainment series Relationship Status: It’s Complicated and Emergency Love are both light on drama but packed full of romantic comedy. This is a “new and popular trend in Turkey,” according to Besir Tatli, the general manager of Calinos. “Both series have received very high viewership locally since their inception. Relationship Status: It’s Complicated has been number one in the ratings since the first episode.” The film Love, Just a Coincidence is described by Tatli as a “powerful yet lighthearted drama, which has the potential to appeal to a large audience demographic, as it has a universal story with characters that any viewer would empathize with.” It has been one of the most successful films at the Turkish box office.
“We are in the process of establishing new strategies and partnerships, which we believe will open a universal window of activities for our company.” —Besir Tatli Love, Just a Coincidence
Canada Media Fund Financial support / Industry intelligence / Promotion The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has three main areas of focus, explains Valerie Creighton, the organization’s president and CEO. “We deliver financial support to the Canadian television and digital media industry through several programs designed for the creation of successful content for Canadian and world audiences to enjoy, and to reflect Canada’s unique cultural diversity.” The CMF also provides industry intelligence on the Canadian and international audiovisual landscape, “including blog posts from Canadian and international experts through the CMF Trends website and social media communities,” says Creighton. Additionally, the organization promotes Canadian expertise and talent at various industry events, including MIPTV.
“For the past five years at MIPTV, the CMF, along with several Canadian partners, has showcased television and digital productions and engaged in conversations about the future of digital content. This year’s focus will be on virtual reality.” —Valerie Creighton CBC’s X Company, a Canada/Hungary co-production
Cisneros Media Distribution Just Looking / Lil’ Genius / Hot Wire: End of Days Just Looking follows five couples who meet a charming man in their building, unaware that the helpful neighbor is actually a sociopath who has hidden cameras in all their apartments. The title, a MIPTV highlight for Cisneros Media Distribution, “will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, while touching on different modern topics such as bullying, the excesses of Botox, animal rights and gender-based violence,” says Marcello Coltro, the executive VP of content distribution at Cisneros Media. Also on the company’s slate is Lil’ Genius, a children’s variety magazine show, and Hot Wire: End of Days, a newscast special that brings a current perspective to the proliferation of ISIS and other terrorist groups. Both titles are from Mobius.Lab Productions.
“Cisneros Media Distribution has been able to [deliver] innovative content and formats in a multitude of genres.” —Marcello Coltro Lil’ Genius 32 World Screen 4/16
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CJ E&M We Kid /Look What Your Hubby Did /The Acting School Celebrities and composers mentor talented children in We Kid, a shiny-floor entertainment format from CJ E&M. Also on the company’s slate is Look What Your Hubby Did, a combination home-makeover/prank show that sees a husband remodel part of his home while his wife is away to reflect a hobby that he gave up after marriage. “From a storytelling perspective, the show has a structured beginning (problem: hubby’s lost passion), middle (intense remodeling of the house in a short time) and end (wife’s reaction)—which is often hilarious,” says Jangho Seo, CJ E&M’s head of international sales and acquisitions. Another reality format from the company’s catalogue is The Acting School, in which famous actors receive training to help them strengthen their acting abilities.
“CJ E&M’s mission for MIPTV and 2016 is to continue to create trendsetting content for local and global audiences, while diversifying our catalogue and fostering strategic international partnerships.” —Jangho Seo Look What Your Hubby Did
Comarex Tuscan Passion / Veinteañero a los 40 / Valió la Pena Comarex is showcasing a variety of titles produced by Chile’s Canal 13. The slate features Veinteañero a los 40, a comedy about a man who wakes up from a coma; Valió la Pena, which centers on a real-estate executive who becomes the guardian of her friend’s daughter; and Chipe Libre, about a couple seeking help from a relationship therapist. Additionally, the company is targeting buyers from Asia, Africa and Latin America with Mediaset productions such as A Matter of Respect, about two brothers entangled with the Italian Mafia; Tuscan Passion, the story of a woman who went to jail for the murder of her boyfriend’s father; and Into the Woods, centered on a young psychologist trying to figure out why her mother mysteriously abandoned her.
Veinteañero a los 40
Content Television The Secret Agent / Jack Taylor / Keeping Up with the Kruger Iain Glen stars in the Content Television crime drama Jack Taylor, based on novels by Ken Bruen. Toby Jones leads the cast of another Content Television drama, The Secret Agent, inspired by a Joseph Conrad novel. “Our fiction lineup is rich in prime-time drama and packed with award-winning talent, which will have broad appeal across the globe,” says Jonathan Ford, the company’s executive VP of sales and distribution. “We also have a formidable blend of sophisticated, nonfiction content, which showcases a fascinating array of subjects, from politics to wildlife, showbiz to real crime.” Among the factual titles being showcased is Keeping Up with the Kruger, set at South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
“Content Television is in the enviable position of being able to offer even more brand-new programming at MIPTV.” —Jonathan Ford The Secret Agent 34 World Screen 4/16
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dick clark productions international Now That’s Funny! / Virtuosos / Live U.S. network programming A top MIPTV highlight from dick clark productions international is Now That’s Funny!, its newest series with Jukin Media. “This is not just another clip show, it is a prime-time franchise,” says Bob Kennedy, dick clark’s senior VP of sales and acquisitions. Additionally, the company is offering format rights for Virtuosos, a music competition from Hungary. “We immediately saw its potential as a prime-time event series worldwide,” says Kennedy. The slate also has live-event programming, including the Golden Globe Awards, Billboard Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, American Music Awards and the musical event The Passion. “There are many new opportunities in this space for international broadcasters as we increase rights availabilities,” Kennedy adds.
“We want broadcasters and producers to realize we are creating a diverse, prime-time entertainment portfolio.” —Bob Kennedy American Music Awards
Dori Media Group The Marginal / My Lovely Hope / It Girls Dori Media Group’s My Lovely Hope (Esperanza Mía) is a romantic comedy about the forbidden love between a priest and a woman who is passing off as a convent apprentice in her quest to avenge her mother’s death. Dori is also presenting the drama The Marginal (El Marginal), which tracks an ex-cop who enters prison under a false identity in order to infiltrate a gang of prisoners and guards who have kidnapped the daughter of an important judge. It Girls, on the other hand, is a docureality show that follows four young women who share every detail of their lives on social networks. “Dori Media is aiming constantly to be innovative and offer our clients the best content available,” says Revital Basel, the company’s VP of sales.
“Our catalogue contains programs that can be easily adapted in territories around the world.” —Revital Basel It Girls
Escapade Media Status: Vacant / Steve Backshall and the Vertical Mile / Wimp 2 Warrior This MIPTV sees the launch of Escapade Media’s first series co-production with Showrunner Productions, Status: Vacant, shot in 4K. The series recounts the historical, political, cultural and personal stories behind the abandonment of various locations. “A solemn yet beautiful story unfolds within each episode,” says Natalie Lawley, Escapade’s managing director. Further highlights include Steve Backshall and the Vertical Mile, in which the titular adventurer embarks on the climb of his life, and the second season of Wimp 2 Warrior, which Lawley says “is designed to give ordinary people the opportunity to reach unfathomable goals, challenging both physical and mental capabilities through training to be a warrior.”
“Escapade’s development slate has made significant progress over the past six months.” —Natalie Lawley Wimp 2 Warrior 4/16 World Screen 35
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FOX The Story of God with Morgan Freeman / Breakthrough / He Named Me Malala On the Sunday of MIPDoc, FOX will host an exclusive screening of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. The six-parter explores how religion has shaped the history of the world, as Morgan Freeman visits iconic religious sites worldwide and talks to religious leaders. FOX is also hosting a sponsored lunch at MIPDoc that will feature a guest appearance by Kurt Sayenga, executive producer of Breakthrough. “Breakthrough reveals a groundbreaking, thought-provoking and imaginative perspective on scientific discoveries through the eyes of six Hollywood visionaries,” explains Connie Hodson, the company’s VP of content and marketing. Another factual highlight is He Named Me Malala, the central subject of which “brings awareness to the critical global issue of education for girls,” says Hodson.
“He Named Me Malala is a feature documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim, whose masterful eye captures the truly inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai.” —Connie Hodson He Named Me Malala
FremantleMedia International The Young Pope / Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour / The Traffickers British journalist Nelufar Hedayat explores the global black market in The Traffickers, part of FremantleMedia International’s MIPTV slate. “The series is compelling, informative and provides a gritty look at the processes, personalities and moral complexities that exist in this dark world,” says Jens Richter, the company’s CEO. Another highlight from FremantleMedia International is Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour, which sees the titular parenting expert assist families in need. “Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour is open and honest, and watching the transformation in the featured families and the journeys they go through makes [for] positive and very uplifting viewing,” says Richter. The company is also offering up The Young Pope, which focuses on the beginning of Pius XIII’s pontificate.
“With the changing global TV landscape, the increase in both linear and OTT platforms and the general content explosion, the importance of cutthrough content is at an all-time high.” —Jens Richter The Traffickers
Gaumont Television The Frozen Dead / Spy City / Narcos An atmospheric thriller, The Frozen Dead is a six-part murdermystery series set in an exotic location. The show, one of Gaumont Television’s latest projects, is currently in production in the Pyrenees mountains. The company is highlighting that title, along with Spy City, which Erik Pack, president of international distribution, describes as “an epic spy tale from the mind of William Boyd, the world-renowned master of the spy story.” There is also Narcos, a Netflix series focused on the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. “Narcos has proven to be a global hit, really resonating with viewers all over the world,” says Pack, who adds that Gaumont Television is currently negotiating home-entertainment agreements for the show’s first and second seasons.
“We are continuing to develop big series ideas with big talent attached.” —Erik Pack Narcos 36 World Screen 4/16
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GMA Worldwide Because of You / Wish I May / My Superstar This year marks the 20th anniversary of GMA Worldwide, which is heading to MIPTV with the highlights Because of You, Wish I May and My Superstar. Roxanne J. Barcelona, the company’s VP, believes that these titles will be appealing to potential buyers because their stories focus on romance, love for family, the courage to strive for the best in the pursuit of happiness, and justice. “These are universal themes that bring out the best in the human spirit,” she says. GMA Worldwide is working to strengthen its partnerships with broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific region, in North and South America, and in Africa. “We are focused on entering into more deals in South America,” Barcelona emphasizes.
“We continue to look for new markets for our dramas and drama formats, and we are optimistic that this year more deals will be forged with new clients.” —Roxanne J. Barcelona Because of You
GRB Entertainment Secret Guide to Fabulous / Hayden Quinn / Nelson Serrano: I’m Innocent Nelson Serrano: I’m Innocent, a top MIPTV title for GRB Entertainment, chronicles the case of a man convicted of murder despite an alleged lack of evidence. “True crime is a genre that is at an ultimate high in popularity and everyone is fascinated by real-life cases of wrongful conviction or beating the system,” says Michael Lolato, the senior VP of international distribution at GRB. “Everyone wants to solve a crime—this allows them to do just that, and not ever leave the couch.” Hayden Quinn, meanwhile, follows the titular celebrity cook as he departs his Australian home for a culinary adventure in South Africa. Also on GRB’s slate are two seasons of Secret Guide to Fabulous, which Lolato says will “unlock the mysteries to making your life better.”
“This year, GRB Entertainment will continue its success in distributing factual programs and will be expanding into documentaries.” —Michael Lolato Hayden Quinn
Incendo Run to Me / Brace for Impact / Crossfire In the Incendo movie Run to Me, Alison, an amateur triathlete, convinces a controversial peak-performance trainer to take her on as a client, but the cost may be too high when Alison’s work and family life suffer. Incendo is also highlighting Brace for Impact, about a flight-crash inspector who covertly investigates what she suspects is a cover-up of a terrorist plane crash that killed her brother. In Crossfire, a female soldier suffering from PTSD is accused of a friendly-fire homicide and targeted by a vengeful soldier. Gavin Reardon, the head of international sales and co-productions at Incendo, says, “Broadcasters partner with us because they know what they’re going to get: consistently high production values, well-written, thrillingly innovative stories and excellent acting.”
“Incendo has made more than 63 television movies over the last 16 years. Our brand is synonymous with quality.” —Gavin Reardon Brace for Impact 38 World Screen 4/16
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ITV Studios Global Entertainment Victoria / Drive / Fierce ITV Studios Global Entertainment’s (ITVS GE) major new drama launch for MIPTV is Victoria, an eight-part series following the early life of Queen Victoria (played by Jenna Coleman) from her accession to the throne at the age of 18 through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. “Victoria has a fantastic pedigree; it’s made by Mammoth Screen, the producers of the hit drama Poldark (which airs in more than 150 territories worldwide) and is created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin,” says Dan Gopal, ITVS GE’s executive VP for EMEA distribution and global digital partners. The motoring-based entertainment series Drive leads the format slate, while factual highlights include Fierce, featuring naturalist Steve Backshall.
“We look forward to showcasing our fantastic portfolio of quality content from wherever it has originated in the world to the global marketplace.” —Dan Gopal Drive
ITV-Inter Medya Endless Love / In Between / Join Instant The Turkish drama Endless Love tells the romantic story of a girl from the glamorous side of the neighborhood and a boy from a middle-class family. It joins In Between at the top of the list of drama highlights from ITV-Inter Medya. “The production quality of our titles is world-class and the strength of their stories [makes them] quite well accepted worldwide,” says Can Okan, the company’s president and CEO. Alongside its dramas, ITV-Inter Medya has new format highlights to showcase, including Join Instant, an interactive quiz show. Join Instant engages with the audience using second-screen technology that enables at-home viewers to participate in the live show. Another format the company will be promoting is the game show Fifty Fifty.
“We believe that a strength of the Turkish dramas in our catalogue is that they are fastmoving and very exciting.” —Can Okan Endless Love
MarVista Entertainment Jessica Darling’s It List / Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket / Deadly Inferno The tween comedy Jessica Darling’s It List is an original film from MarVista Entertainment based on the popular book series from New York Times best-selling author Megan McCafferty. Another top title from the company is Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket, a 90-minute family adventure that follows as a group of friends investigates a 200year-old mystery. The disaster film Deadly Inferno rounds out the slate. “It’s a riveting action film with lots of drama and twists that keep you on the edge of your seat,” says Vanessa Shapiro, the company’s executive VP of distribution. She adds, “These films appeal to global buyers for a number of reasons, in addition to each telling a great story through interesting characters portrayed by talented actors.”
“MarVista’s library currently boasts more than 2,500 hours of content. It literally has something for everyone!” —Vanessa Shapiro Deadly Inferno 40 World Screen 4/16
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Miramax New film & TV content / Miramax library / Revolution Studios library Miramax is involved in several new high-profile projects, with a 2016 slate that includes Southside with You, which it recently acquired; Bad Santa 2, with Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates; Bridget Jones’s Baby, starring Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth; and The 9th Life of Louis Drax, featuring Jamie Dornan, Aaron Paul and Sarah Gadon. “Our new film and TV projects feature stars and stories with global appeal,” says Joe Patrick, Miramax’s executive VP of worldwide television. “Additionally, the Miramax and Revolution Studios libraries are full of iconic titles spanning every genre.” This includes XXX, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Scream, The Others and Anger Management.
“We’re excited to be growing our new pipeline with quality content to complement our library and the libraries we represent.” —Joe Patrick XXX
Multicom Entertainment Group Fairy Godmother / Bereave Me Not / The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films Empire’s Terrence Howard is among the international cast featured in the fantasy/reality hybrid series Fairy Godmother, which Multicom Entertainment Group is presenting. Bereave Me Not features the talents of Malcolm McDowell, Jane Seymour and Keith Carradine. Meanwhile, The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films is a documentary about two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, producing 300-plus movies and becoming one of the most powerful independent film companies in the world. “Multicom has cultivated strong relationships with partners worldwide, delivering content wherever, whenever and however consumed,” says Darrin Holender, the company’s president.
“Our expansive catalogue boasts a powerful portfolio of global superstars across every category and genre.” —Darrin Holender Bereave Me Not
New Films International Undercover / The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz / New York There are now more than 1,000 Turkish films under the New Films International sales umbrella. “With this catalogue, our plan is to help channels launch TV stations dedicated to Turkish films,” says Nesim Hason, the founder of New Films. The company’s catalogue also features the series Undercover, a fifth season of which is coming soon. The show has been sold into more than 180 countries so far, according to Hason, “and it keeps selling. There are only a few countries left” for it to be licensed to. There’s a second season on the way of the Israeli series New York. MIPTV will mark the launch of sales for the new feature film The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz for New Films as well.
“New York is a very rare combination of comedy, action and crime.” —Nesim Hason New York 42 World Screen 4/16
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Nippon TV Love Liar / Celebrity Style Battle / Battle of Homes Leading off Nippon TV’s slate is the outdoor dating game show Love Liar. The format follows as a romantically challenged female celebrity goes on a date with two handsome men, but only one of the guys really likes her. She must choose her match and find out which man’s passion is true and who is the “love liar.” Nippon is also presenting the formats Celebrity Style Battle and Battle of Homes. “As you can see from the fact that 90 percent of our content is produced in-house, we are proactively developing blockbuster content and the next generation of talented creators,” says Shigeko “Cindy” Chino, the company’s senior director of international business development.
“We are happy to see some of our innovative ideas traveling across borders and excited to see more of this by building new relationships.” —Shigeko “Cindy” Chino Love Liar
Novovision Totally Clips / Prank My Pet / Pop Circus The hidden-camera show Prank My Pet from Novovision features animals that are filmed reacting to various tricks. Also being presented by Novovision is Totally Clips, a familyfriendly series made up of home-movie clips centered on themed segments. According to François Xavier Poirier, Novovision’s CEO, the home videos have themes ranging from babies to animals, weddings to Christmas, and they come with an English voiceover. Additionally, Novovision is offering Pop Circus, a dialogue-free show that’s a compilation of some of the world’s best circus acts. “People like to see the most spectacular and amazing circus acts from all over the world, so we give them the opportunity to travel around the world discovering the circus in all its forms,” says Poirier.
“Most of our clients request general entertainment targeting the whole family.” —François Xavier Poirier Totally Clips
ORF-Enterprise Suburbia: Women on the Edge / The Canary Islands / The Secret Life of Snakes There’s a second season available of the Austrian series Suburbia: Women on the Edge, which ORF-Enterprise will be talking to buyers about. “We are sure that the ten new episodes will live up to the resounding success [of the first season] and will not fail to attract both male and female viewers,” says Marion Camus-Oberdorfer, the head of international content sales at ORF-Enterprise. From ORF’s renowned Universum strand comes The Canary Islands, which features 4K impressions of the isolated islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. “I am absolutely convinced that every single viewer will be enthralled,” says Camus-Oberdorfer. Another Universum highlight is The Secret Life of Snakes, shining a light on the feared creatures.
“The Secret Life of Snakes presents astonishing and enthralling insights into Europe’s most stunning snake species.” —Marion Camus-Oberdorfer The Secret Life of Snakes 44 World Screen 4/16
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Palatin Media Decompression / Phenomena / Dark Vineyard: Bruno, Chef de Police Palatin Media’s lead offerings for MIPTV feature stories that spring from existing book properties. A psychological thriller, Decompression is based on the best-selling novel by Juli Zeh. It is about two couples caught in a web of conflicting passions while diving off the picturesque Canary Islands. Phenomena is based on a set of Scandinavian books by Ruben Eliassen. Bernd Schloetterer, the CEO of Palatin, describes the fantasy book series as “The Hobbit meets The Hunger Games.” The Bruno, Chef de Police novels from Scottish author Martin Walker are being adapted as crime movies. Palatin is producing the first two installments, Dark Vineyard and Black Diamond, with “a big budget” attached, according to Schloetterer.
“All three of these titles have broad global appeal. They are produced in English, based on best sellers and are brand-driven.” —Bernd Schloetterer Phenomena
Passion Distribution Robot Wars / Lookalikes / Deadliest Pests Down Under The competition series Robot Wars had nine seasons air between 1998 and 2004, and the show has been rebooted now with an emphasis on updated robotic technologies. Passion Distribution is selling the 6x1-hour BBC Two version, as well as the format rights for the series. The company is also promoting Lookalikes, featuring a talent agency dedicated to celebrity doppelgängers. Elin Thomas, the director of global sales at Passion, calls it a “totally unique new comedy.” The reality series Deadliest Pests Down Under follows a group of British pest controllers as they take on a summer of bug busting in Australia, working alongside their Aussie counterparts. “The toughened Aussies have seen it all before and delight in putting the Brits through their paces with hilarious results,” says Thomas.
“Some of the lookalikes [featured in Lookalikes] get so ‘in character’ that they actually forget their own identity, which leaves the viewer wondering who’s really who and what’s really real.” —Elin Thomas Lookalikes
Peace Point Rights Inspired with Anna Olson / Bake with Anna Olson / In Space 2: Next in Space Peace Point Rights is offering two series featuring celebrity chef Anna Olson. Inspired with Anna Olson, shot in 4K, sees the titular pastry chef travel throughout Southeast Asia seeking inspiration for savory dishes. “We expect this series to become the next hit in the Olson franchise,” says Les Tomlin, Peace Point’s president and CEO. Additionally, the newest season of Bake with Anna Olson was filmed in 4K. “For MIPTV we are very excited to be bringing our first 4K UHD titles to the market,” Tomlin adds. “The appetite for food and travel content continues to grow worldwide and Peace Point continues to deliver top-quality programming in these genres.” The company is also featuring In Space 2: Next in Space, a sequel to the documentary In Space.
“As both a production and distribution company, we are very skilled at bringing multiple international partners together to produce commercially successful content.” —Les Tomlin Bake with Anna Olson 46 World Screen 4/16
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Rive Gauche Television Droned / The Natural / Ice Cold Killers A family-owned drone-customization and aerial-filming company is at the center of Droned, which Rive Gauche Television is featuring in Cannes. It has a “very unique concept and [addresses] a very hot topic, built around a dynamic cast that designs and creates custom drones,” says Jon Kramer, Rive Gauche’s CEO. The company is also highlighting The Natural, a competition format that sees 25 men and 25 women battle it out in a series of challenges combining skills from different sports to be named the country’s greatest athlete. The lineup also includes the true-crime series Ice Cold Killers. Kramer adds, “We are also bringing some exciting high-concept formats to the market and expect them to be very well received by producers and broadcasters alike.”
“Our clients and broadcasting partners know Rive Gauche for the big brands and innovative shows we are built upon.” —Jon Kramer Droned
SOMOS Distribution Hasta Que te Conocí / Strange Love / The Poor Boy and the Rich Girl Hasta Que te Conocí, presented by SOMOS Distribution, tells the rags-to-riches story of Mexican singer Juan Gabriel. The project was developed by SOMOS Productions, Disney Media Distribution Latin America and the singer. “His life is so attractive that sometimes it seems as if it were a fictional story,” says Francisco Villanueva, the VP and COO of SOMOS Distribution. The company also arrives at the market with Turkish dramas it hopes to sell across Latin America, including Kanal D’s Mercy and TRT’s The Poor Boy and the Rich Girl. Further highlights include Strange Love, an Indian drama, and Televisió de Catalunya’s telenovela Merlin. “These titles represent some of the genres that are being received very well by audiences worldwide in this era of global television,” says Villanueva.
“We focus on bringing and identifying innovative and high-quality content at a time when there is an overabundance of programming options.” —Francisco Villanueva Strange Love
Starz The Girlfriend Experience / Ash vs Evil Dead / 12 Gifts of Christmas From executive producer Steven Soderbergh comes The Girlfriend Experience, which stars Riley Keough. “The series will premiere in the U.S. (and in close to 100 countries) right after MIPTV on April 10, and the excitement leading up to the launch has been incredible,” says Gene George, the executive VP of worldwide distribution at Starz. The company will be at MIPTV looking for additional licensees for its new series Ash vs Evil Dead, in addition to talking to buyers about its slate of five new TV movies. This includes three Hallmark originals, among them 12 Gifts of Christmas. “Starz is continuing to create highquality premium television that has proven successful on our network and on the platforms of our international partners,” says Mara Winokur, the senior VP of digital at Starz.
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STUDIOCANAL Section Zéro / The Five / Baron Noir Harlan Coben, a New York Times best-selling author, brings his talents to television in The Five, which STUDIOCANAL believes will drum up strong interest among the international broadcast community. “The story line and characters are riveting, with twists and unexpected turns that will keep audiences at the edge of their seats,” says Katrina Neylon, the executive VP of sales and marketing at STUDIOCANAL. Meanwhile, César-nominated writer and director Olivier Marchal (Braquo) is behind the drama Section Zéro, a political, sci-fi thriller. Revenge, betrayal and political intrigue are at the center of Baron Noir, which Neylon calls a “wonderfully and wickedly woven tale.” The series follows a French politician who seeks revenge against his political enemies.
“We want our clients to become accustomed to finding exceptional content in STUDIOCANAL’s ever-expanding catalogue and to know that we are the home of the very best in international drama.” —Katrina Neylon Section Zéro
Sullivan Entertainment Road to Avonlea / Wind at My Back / Out of the Shadows Sullivan Entertainment is promoting more than 200 hours of classic programming restored from the original negatives to high definition. The slate includes 93 episodes of the Emmywinning show Road to Avonlea, as well as 67 episodes of Wind at My Back. The latter title is set in a prosperous mining town and chronicles the Bailey clan and their struggle to overcome the challenges of poverty and family rivalry during the 1930s. Sullivan Entertainment is also offering a lineup of period and family movies, plus documentaries such as Out of the Shadows. “There is something in our inventory for any broadcaster looking to program high-quality co-viewing drama, period movies or series, and family and children’s series,” says Olga Shutina, the manager of sales and acquisitions at Sullivan Entertainment.
“Sullivan has an extensive library of truly evergreen titles that now look more spectacular than ever in HD.” —Olga Shutina Road to Avonlea
Talpa Global Battle on the Dance Floor / This Is NOT a Hotel / Back 2 School Talpa Global’s Battle on the Dance Floor sees talented dance crews not only compete against each other, but also against the dance floor. During the final dance battle, the floor is directly connected to the opinion of the jury. If a crew does well, the floor stays the same, but it shrinks during a bad performance. “With incredible visuals supported by revolutionary technology, we offer mind-blowing performances, raising the bar for dance competitions all over the world,” says Maarten Meijs, the managing director of Talpa Global. At MIPTV, the company is also showcasing This Is NOT a Hotel, in which spoiled young adults who still live at home are forced to stand on their own two feet for the first time, and the game show Back 2 School.
“Our goal is to offer an immersive content experience across multiple screens.” —Maarten Meijs Back 2 School 50 World Screen 4/16
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Televisa Internacional Lying Heart / Dream of Love Telenovelas comprise a major part of Televisa Internacional’s MIPTV slate, among them the new production Lying Heart. The title follows Mariela Salvatierra, a woman who will fight to reclaim what was taken away from her. At the same time, she must choose between the stability offered by Leonardo and the passion she feels for Alonso, whom she has always regarded as the love of her life. Dream of Love is another recent addition to the Televisa novela catalogue. The plot centers on Esperanza and Ricardo, who are in love despite not having seen each other for 20 years. However, destiny has now crossed their paths, and they will fight against everything not only to be together, but also to build a modern family.
TM International Neanderthals / Emerald Green / It’s My Party Following the success of Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue, the first films in the Precious Stone trilogy, TM International (TMI) is presenting the last installment, Emerald Green, at MIPTV. The movie brings closure to the series based on Kerstin Gier’s books, as the time-traveling heroes Gwendolyn and Gideon face a final showdown with their archenemy. Additionally, TM International is offering the new miniseries Neanderthals, which tackles the issue of illegal cloning from the point of view of two live Neanderthals who have escaped from a secret genetic laboratory. Carlos Hertel, the company’s head of international sales, highlights that TM International is also showcasing a raft of new formats in Cannes, among them the partycompetition series It’s My Party.
“TMI continues to expand its offer for all platforms with a highly competitive and curated portfolio.” —Carlos Hertel Emerald Green
Vision Films Nessie & Me / Aldabra: Once Upon an Island / Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Vision Films is attending MIPTV with a focus on acquiring new content, in addition to scoring sales. “We are seeking acquisitions for our domestic division, which releases between two to four films each month across DVD, VOD and TV,” says Lise Romanoff, Vision’s managing director and CEO of worldwide distribution. “We have a very healthy appetite for both feature films and documentaries.” In terms of sales, Vision is presenting to buyers Nessie & Me, about a lake creature who saves a town, along with the nature film Aldabra: Once Upon an Island, which tells the story of an exotic but disappearing isle. On the music front, Vision is showcasing a new David Bowie profile and the David Hasselhoff stage show Last Night a DJ Saved My Life.
“We choose films with diverse and universal appeal.” —Lise Romanoff Aldabra: Once Upon an Island 52 World Screen 4/16
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Voxx Studios Language dubbing / Subtitling / Sound design Voxx Studios is an audio post-production facility, specialized in language dubbing, automated dialogue replacement, voice-over, closed-captioning and subtitling, sound design, editing and mixing. “We operate ten recording studios and four mixing bays, equipped at the highest industry standards,” says Silviu Epure, general producer at the company. “We work with professional staff from all over the world and we offer competitive rates, at excellent quality standards.” Voxx Studios provides services in a multitude of languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Mandarin and Farsi. “Voxx Studios has the right voice for every language,” says Epure. “We work with our clients to fit their budgetary needs, and we do more than offer quality—we deliver it!”
“Give Voxx Studios a try and see for yourself why we have already been commissioned for 1,000-plus hours of content to dub in less than a year of existence.” —Silviu Epure Voxx Studios facilities
ZDF Enterprises Ku’damm ’56: Rebel with a Cause / Scream Street / First Flight: Conquest of the Skies The three-part family drama Ku’damm ’56: Rebel with a Cause is set in the 1950s and focuses on women rallying against the small-minded views about females in a post-war society. This is a key drama that ZDF Enterprises will be talking to buyers about. Meanwhile, the animated series Scream Street marks the highlight of its children’s slate. “The stories are packed full of humor and horror delivered with warmth and heart,” says Alexander Coridass, the CEO of ZDF Enterprises. In the way of nonfiction, First Flight: Conquest of the Skies is about the world’s first motorized flight. The format You Can’t Fool Me! is also a top sales priority at the market. “The star of our believe-it-or-not game-show format You Can’t Fool Me! is nature itself and the tricks it loves to play on us,” says Coridass.
“MIPTV 2016 will be a particularly important market for us since we are lead partner of the special Focus on Germany, which will shine the spotlight on German TV programming and production.” —Alexander Coridass First Flight: Conquest of the Skies
Zee Entertainment Enterprises Wedding Bells / Spirit of India / The Incurables Zee Entertainment Enterprises is showcasing the family drama Wedding Bells (KumKum Bhagya). The modern series looks on as a mother who runs a marriage hall attempts to get her two daughters hitched. Zee’s slate also includes the docuseries Spirit of India. The nation of 1.2 billion people “has more festivals than any other country in the world, because in India, history lives in these celebrations of lights, colors, music, dance and sheer spirit,” says Sunita Uchil, the global head of syndication and CRO of international. There’s also the documentary series The Incurables. Hosted by singer/songwriter Jewel and documentarian Don Wildman, it follows the inspiring real-life stories of people who turned to alternative methods to heal from their chronic, often life-threatening diseases and beat the odds.
“We have done well in all parts of the world with our programs and are confident these shows will bring much success for our partners.” —Sunita Uchil Wedding Bells 54 World Screen 4/16
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At the beginning of the 2013-2014 TV season, the few hits on broadcast networks were talent competition shows and procedurals. In the scripted realm, all the buzz and novelty were coming from character-driven serialized dramas and comedies airing on basic and premium cable channels. Then came The Blacklist. Centered on Raymond “Red” Reddington, a criminal mastermind who turns himself in to the FBI, claiming he will help the Bureau apprehend the most nefarious and hard-to-catch criminals, the series represented a unique blend of a procedural and a serialized show—a new hybrid for broadcast television. James Spader, who gives a one-of-a-kind performance as Red and is also an executive producer on The Blacklist, talks to World Screen By Anna Carugati about his involvement in the show and the appeal of his character. WS: What initially appealed to you about The Blacklist and the character of Red? SPADER: I had a lot of criteria for what I was looking for, especially because this was not going to be a cable series with shorter seasons, it was going to be a network series. I really wanted a premise that could be sustained over a [long] period of time, with flexibility in tone: funny at times and very dramatic and intense at times, with action as well as emotion. I was looking for something that I felt would be commercial as well and that, over the long haul, would have a lot of flexibility in its story lines and in the development of character and relationships, so that if it was a commercial success and lasted for a few years, it could continue to surprise me—and therefore surprise an audience. In terms of character, I wanted to find somebody who was complicated and enigmatic enough that it would take me a long time to figure him out, [laughs] but also somebody who’d give me the chance to play with humor and intensity, drama and emotion. So it was a tall order. I also wanted to find a show that shot in New York. It had come time for me to move back to New York City. At first I wasn’t really interested in doing a network series that was going to be 22 episodes a year because I had an active film career and I’d just finished doing a year on Broadway. I was originally looking for something that would accommodate those other things as well during the course of the year, but The Blacklist came along. When I read it it seemed to have limitless possibilities in terms of what it could be and how it could develop and where it could go, and the tone of the show could vacillate, even over the course of an episode. As it turns out, I’ve been able to continue to do film work. I have not been able to continue doing theater—that requires a little more time. But the show seemed to be just the right thing in terms of timing.
WS: Beyond the description of Red in the pilot, what more did you bring to the character? SPADER: When I read the pilot, I saw the possibility of bringing a sort of quirkiness and a sense of humor and an irreverence to the character and therefore to the proceedings. I loved the fact that even though you’d spent a certain amount of time with him and he had revealed this and that, you actually knew less about him at the end of the pilot than you knew at the beginning. I like the idea of a character about whom the more you learn, the less you know. The things you learn just pose questions and make you curious about something else that has arisen. That has developed during the course of the series. It’s a tricky thing, but I think it has been a success on the show. I like the idea that this is someone who will be very revealing about very personal tidbits about his past and so on, but ultimately they tell you nothing. They only give you a sense of character; all the facts and figures are left out. So we’ve been able to play with that a lot and continue to and I like that. He’s still very enigmatic to me, and I like that. WS: Is that part of the tension that a long-running TV series has to balance—how much to reveal about characters or the plot, and how much to hold back to keep viewers coming back for more? SPADER: Well, in a serialized show, like ours is to a certain degree, that is a very important part of it. A procedural gives the audience everything right up front: every week, it’s going to be these characters in this setting, but with a different set of circumstances. Procedurals can last for years and years and years using the same basic equation for every episode. It isn’t a matter of character development, it’s a matter of being relevant in terms of story from week to week. But for our show, [since it is partly] serialized and since the relationships are at the forefront, [for the part of the show that is a procedural] we do
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One of NBC’s biggest scripted hits, The Blacklist has also sold widely across the globe.
have to be very, very thoughtful about what is revealed when and to what degree. Sometimes we’ll adjust a sentence just to make sure that the tone of a line doesn’t tell you too much about something that may come later. WS: You have an executive-producer title in the show as well. What’s your involvement beyond being the star of the show? SPADER: It’s been a collaborative partnership with [executive producers] Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath from the very beginning. The credit is just a retroactive acknowledgement of my participation and contribution to the show. We talk every day about all different aspects of the show. Sometimes it’s the nuts and bolts of an upcoming episode and other times it’s three episodes away. Sometimes it’s an arc for the year or an arc for a specific character, and sometimes it’s for the back half of the season. But I’m not conceiving of story lines on a week-toweek basis with the writers. I talk to them in general terms. Then during the actual conception of the story lines, I start getting involved in the outline process. There have been plenty of times when they’ve called up and said, We’re thinking about doing something along these lines, what are your thoughts about this? And we’ll talk about it. If there’s a specific story line that they want to discuss before they break it, we’ll discuss that, and I’ll put in my two cents and then we continue on to outlines. My involvement is much more concentrated once we get to script form, from draft to draft, from revision to revision. So it’s fairly comprehensive, but I’m certainly not in the writers’ room. The writers’ room is in Los Angeles; I’m not on speakerphone breaking stories and such. WS: How would you describe Red’s moral compass? Is he a good guy who has to do bad things? Or is he a bad guy who sometimes does good things? SPADER: I think that depends on the day and the circumstances, and I think that should continue. That is a question that is compelling to watch unfold in front of you. I don’t think one should be so sure about [Red’s
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moral compass] and I’m not sure I am. It doesn’t really matter which he is—a good guy who’s capable of terrible things, or a terrible guy who’s capable of very good things. I’m not sure whether that is important. What is important is that the question about his character is compelling to watch. WS: Earlier in your career, was it harder to cross over from film to television than it is today? What has changed in the industry? SPADER: I think the economy of the business has changed quite dramatically. With the explosion of cable and internet [outlets], the programming has grown so exponentially; there’s just so much more of it, and competition is high. If you’re a great writer working in film and going through a years-long process to get a film up and going, only to have it be rewritten and have little control over the outcome, you would be hard-pressed not to look at television and say, Well, if there’s a place for me in television, that’s a place where I am in control. In film, the directors and the producers are the bosses—the creative bosses—and in television, the writers are the bosses. With the explosion of programming, there’s a place for everybody in television. So there has been a huge migration of writers to television. But it’s a seasonal migration, and therefore everyone else will follow suit. In the way that films or television shows or plays all start with the written material, it’s the same with the job descriptions. The writers are the first to make the migration and cross over between film and television and theater, and everyone else follows suit. Because ultimately, directors, actors, producers, production designers and everyone else are all following material. Ultimately, that is the currency that everybody is trading. Everybody is going to show up wherever the material is. And the material on television has become much more vast and varied in terms of content and quality. People are moving around a lot. A lot of directors and writers and actors are working in film and television and theater and going back and forth.
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SEVEN AT 60
By Anna Carugati Since its launch in 1956 in the major Australian metropolitan areas of Melbourne and Sydney, and through the following six decades, Seven Network has focused on offering television audiences the best homegrown programming, the most important sports events, the top-rated imported shows and trusted news. Viewers have rewarded Seven’s efforts. It has been Australia’s most-watched free-to-air network for the past nine years—not a small accomplishment in the country’s increasingly competitive television market, which boasts two public broadcasters, three commercial free-to-air networks, a successful pay-TV platform and recently a mushrooming of over-the-top services, all competing to reach a population of only 24 million. Seven’s bond with the Australian audience has been forged through long-running local dramas such as Home and Away; unscripted shows like My Kitchen Rules, The X Factor and Dancing with the Stars; and imported series like Criminal Minds and Downton Abbey. It has also been the home to major sports events, including the Australian Open tennis championships, the Australian Football League matches and the Olympic Games. Seven diversified its offering in recent years with the digital channels 7TWO and 7mate. It has reached out to those who prefer viewing online and on portable devices with the advertiser-supported PLUS7 and with Presto, a subscription VOD service that is a fifty-fifty joint venture with the Australian pay-TV company Foxtel. Seven is part of Seven West Media, a group whose holdings, in addition to television, include stakes in newspapers, magazines and the website Yahoo!7. Today Tim Worner is the managing director and CEO of Seven West Media, but he spent more than 20 years at Seven in various roles. He joined in 1995 and held positions as head of program development, head of sports, head of infotainment and director of programming and production. In 2011, he was appointed CEO of Seven Network, and in 2013 he took his current position at parent company Seven West Media. Worner has focused on expanding Seven’s content production and the reach of its programming on screens beyond the traditional TV set. Worner talks to World Screen about Seven’s role in the Australian media landscape and his vision for the network.
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Local lifestyle content is a key pillar of the Seven schedule, with offerings like Better Homes and Gardens.
WS: Over the years, what has Seven come to signify to Australian viewers? What does the Seven brand represent, and how is it different from other TV brands in the market? WORNER: I think increasingly Seven is seen as the most Australian of the networks. Any television network’s brand is defined by its sub-brands, its programs, and in Seven’s case the programs have become more and more Australian. We are coming up on ten years as the leading network, so at the very least we feel there is an element of trust there from viewers. They see that big red seven and they know there is a very good chance they are going to enjoy a quality program. At most, we’d like to think viewers have grown to love Seven and keep coming back for more. We see our brand as warm, fresh—we don’t take ourselves too seriously, I don’t think—and, as I said, Australian.
and we have more people watching the show this year than we did in 2015. That is a fairly outstanding feat for a program in its seventh season. That sort of performance just isn’t possible if you haven’t got a production team on the show who is committed to making each new season fresh and exciting. There is never any thought of phoning it in with those guys. They challenge themselves and then work super closely with the promo team, the marketing and publicity teams and the schedulers to make sure that the audience is absolutely hanging out for the show by the time it arrives. It’s those qualities that seep through the entire organization, that notion of challenging yourself to do it better next time. Overlaid with that is a lack of fear. We have to take risks. There is no fear of failure. It’s OK to fail—in fact, we learn from it. What is not OK, obviously, is to fail repeatedly. But if we are not failing every now and then, we are not pushing the boundaries or discovering where they are.
“Tim Worner leads a network that is smart, aggressive and very successful. Over
WS: One of Seven West Media’s priorities is expanding its presence in content creation. How has Seven been achieving that goal? WORNER: On the home front we are producing more and more content, and it’s not just for Seven. We are immensely proud of the period drama A Place to Call Home, which has been very successful for Foxtel. Internationally we have established 7 Beyond in Los Angeles and 7 Wonder in London. These joint ventures are growing rapidly; in fact, 7 Wonder has just opened a second office in Birmingham. We continue to look for likely partners in other markets, and we are also forging ahead with plans to establish more production ventures that might be 100-percent owned by Seven. We’ve made huge strides in a very short span of time in terms of non-scripted, and we have recently turned our attention to scripted.
the years we have watched the way they have developed, scheduled and launched their programs against many of our shows on other networks. With our new relationship with Seven, we look forward to them making our new series, features and local programming such as First Dates into big hits in Australia.
—Jeffrey Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution WS: What has kept Seven as the leading free-to-air channel in Australia for so many consecutive years? What are the challenges in maintaining that position? WORNER: We have a really strong group of creatives and they have become, I think, more and more effective at working together. Our biggest show is My Kitchen Rules
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My Kitchen Rules has emerged as Seven’s biggest show.
WS: Why will the ability to attract a mass audience become increasingly important as the audience continues to fragment? WORNER: The more the audience fragments, the more valuable and precious the mass audience will become. It is that simple. So much of the focus has been on these smaller SVOD players who have comparatively tiny audiences. If you want to reach 3 million people with a powerful simultaneous message in Australia, there is only one way to do that and that is on Seven. Now that message may very well, if it is executed properly, ignite a social media storm, but it is exceptionally difficult to get that sort of exposure without television in some form or another being involved, and that usually happens right at the beginning, right at the genesis.
“Seven Network has not only positioned itself as a leading multichannel and platform broadcaster; it has evolved into a leading creator and producer of original IP that is winning ratings domestically and finding new audiences globally. ESI is fortunate to enjoy a longstanding successful relationship with Seven Network distributing programs such as Home and Away, My Kitchen Rules and A Place to Call Home.
—Cathy Payne, CEO, Endemol Shine International (ESI) WS: What role do acquired programs and movies play across Seven’s various linear and nonlinear offerings? WORNER: They still play a key role, and in some cases they can be a highly cost-effective way of hitting certain niche demographics. The thing is, acquired content—still mostly from the U.S.—is now more available than it has
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ever been before, and the owners of that content are now more intent than they have ever been on making it even more available. It stands to reason that the less exclusive content is, the less valuable it is. WS: Seven has increased its investment in nonlinear services. Tell us about the AVOD offering, PLUS7. What does it offer, and how are viewers using it? WORNER: PLUS7 is powered by Seven-produced content. It is the number one catch-up and now live-streamed mobile destination in Australia. PLUS7’s long-form streams have grown by 34 percent year-on-year and to record highs recently, with more than 6.5 million minutes streamed daily. Its phenomenal growth rate is in line with the way audiences are changing how they consume content across all screens. Home and Away, our 7 p.m. weeknight strip, is the most caught-up show on Australian television. With some episodes on PLUS7, TSV [time shift viewing] increases by more than 20 percent from broadcast. We are seeing hard-core fans stack it and view it on the weekends, or catch up on it later at night or the next day on mobile on their commute. WS: The SVOD service Presto is a joint venture between Seven and Foxtel. Why was that partnership important, and how has Presto been received? WORNER: We are always looking at the way the market is changing and how we will respond to it. We need to keep the pace of change inside our business in line with what is happening out there in the market. It was clear that SVOD was coming, and we felt it was important to be in the space. In Foxtel we found the perfect partner with experience, the necessary technology platform, the billing
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“I’m pleased to congratulate Seven on achieving an incredible 60 years of broadcasting. I’m also proud of the special relationship forged between Seven and Beyond—one of the longest-running in the TV industry—which is still strong today.
—Mikael Borglund, Managing Director and CEO, Beyond
system and, most importantly, fantastic content. It has been a joint venture with strong commitment from both partners. For us it is yet another window for our produced content, and the most successful subscriber driver to date has been “An Eye for an Eye,” the special [standalone] episode of Home and Away.
Acquired drama on Seven includes the Warner Bros. series Blindspot.
WS: What growth potential do you see in new forms of content delivery such as mobile? WORNER: Mobile is the growth opportunity. For the first time, in 2016, we can now measure it far more accurately than ever before, and we can therefore monetize it far more effectively. The first results are in and, as expected, the viewing of our content on screens other than the home television is exploding. Some shows like My Kitchen Rules are being viewed on mobile devices three times more than they were last year, meaning that the
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on-demand audience is three times bigger. This is a huge opportunity for our company. WS: What is the state of the ad market in Australia, and what is Seven’s share? How willing have advertisers been to move to digital platforms? WORNER: The state of the Australian ad market is that it is a short-term market, currently driven by consumer confidence and macro global economics. The market is currently expected to grow overall in the low single digits across 2016, driven by a federal election and the Olympic Games in the second half of the calendar year. Television dominates advertising expenditure, with digital, outdoor and radio experiencing strong growth. Seven enjoys the dominant share of the television market, with 39 to 40 percent of metropolitan TV advertising. WS: How willing have advertisers been to move to digital platforms? WORNER: Advertisers are moving into digital willingly but are slower to take up the connectivity of content across screens in relation to TV content on all platforms. Instead they are adopting a silo approach to digital and traditional media. This, though, is rapidly changing, as measurement, education and return on investment become more prevalent.
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the ratings at the start of 2016. The success of this franchise has helped to successfully launch First Dates (the Australian version of the U.K. format), Wanted (a new drama series) and Molly (an event drama miniseries), and it has also driven the final season of Downton Abbey to new highs. The second quarter of 2016 is underpinned by another local format, House Rules. We will also be launching Australian versions of Kiss Bang Love, Seven Year Switch and Cannonball. A number of new local formats will be launched out of the Rio Olympic Games in August.
WS: Australia has a long tradition of quality drama. Tell us about Seven’s drama; what series have been particularly successful? And are you premiering new ones this year? ROSS: Seven’s most successful drama series is Home and Away. It is a worldwide success story and has been running for 28 years. It anchors the 7 p.m. slot on Seven Monday to Thursday, and its numbers are up year-on-year—bucking worldwide trends for multinight drama series. Seven launched the new drama series 800 Words in 2015, which became the highest-rated drama on Australian television (averaging 1.32 million metro viewers). Another drama series, Winter, also averaged more than 1 million metro viewers. Seven also has a rich tradition of creating event miniseries, with Catching Milat and Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door topping the list of events in 2015. Seven has kicked off 2016 with the hugely successful miniseries Molly and the event series Wanted, which is currently the number one new drama on television. A second series of 800 Words is coming, and the new drama The Secret Daughter will launch out of the Rio Olympics.
Seven Network has been the top-rated free-to-air network in Australia for the past nine years. As director of programming, Angus Ross is responsible for Seven and its bouquet of digital channels—7TWO, 7mate and the recently launched 7flix. He explains how Seven has maintained its leadership position and discusses some of the highlights of Seven’s 2016 schedule, including coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.
WS: How do 7TWO and 7mate complement Seven’s offering? ROSS: Seven’s main channel targets adults 25 to 54, with a female skew. Seven’s three digital channels are designed to complement, not cannibalize, the main channel. 7mate targets men 16 to 39, 7TWO targets the 40-plus audience and the newly launched 7flix targets women 16 to 39.
WS: What types of shows and programming genres is Seven focusing on in 2016? ROSS: Investing in local content is Seven’s mantra, and in 2016 Seven will launch more new local shows than ever before. Seven has also just launched a new digital channel called 7flix. It is driven by movies and U.S. series content. The key programs for the first quarter of 2016 were launched out of Australia’s best program launch platform—the Australian Open tennis championships. The tentpole program for Seven in the first quarter is My Kitchen Rules. This multi-night reality program has been the number one program on television for several years and has again dominated
WS: How do you use acquired programs in the schedules of Seven, 7TWO, 7mate and 7flix? ROSS: Seven’s digital channels are all driven by acquired content only. Examples of 7TWO’s acquired programming include Escape to the Country, A Touch of Frost, Lewis, Inspector Morse, The Last Detective, Bargain Hunt and The House That 100K Built. 7mate’s acquired shows include Family Guy, American Dad, Tattoo Nightmares, Pawn Stars, Ice Road Truckers, American Pickers, Baggage Battles, The Big Bang Theory and Hardcore Pawn, while 7flix’s imported content includes Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, The Muppets, The Mindy Project, The Amazing Race and movies.
ANGUS ROSS By Anna Carugati
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Disney Media Distribution’s long-running procedural Criminal Minds airs on Seven.
On the main Seven channel, acquired programming includes The Blacklist, Criminal Minds, Blindspot, Hotel Hell, Bones, Downton Abbey and Kitchen Nightmares. WS: What coverage are you providing of the Rio Summer Olympics? ROSS: The Olympic Games in Rio are the first Games for Seven as part of a historic, long-term agreement
for all-encompassing coverage of the Olympic Games over the coming decade. Seven will create and deliver the most comprehensive, technologically advanced, multiplatform coverage of the Olympic Games to all Australians on any communications device. Seven will broadcast every single moment of the Olympic Games in Rio live across three broadcast channels on Seven, which can also be streamed live to any connected device. Beyond this, Seven will also be streaming to any connected device live coverage of every moment in the Olympic Games across an expanded portfolio of new channels focusing on online and streaming delivery to Australian audiences. Seven’s agreement with the Inter national Olympic Committee delivers free broadcast-television and subscriptiontelevision rights, and it expands beyond television to Seven’s online, mobile and social platforms. Seven has also secured radio broadcasting rights. Under the unprecedented new agreement, Seven will broadcast the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018 and the Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020. Underlining this new partnership is an option, which, if exercised, extends the rights to include the Winter Games in 2022 and the Summer Games in 2024.
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A HISTORY OF
1956 Channel Seven launches in Melbourne 1981 Seven commissions A Town Like Alice, 2007 Seven launches Australia’s first commerand Sydney. Seven undertakes, as its first broadcast, live coverage of the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Seven launches the first breakfast program, tonight show and nightly public-affairs program on Australian television.
Seven signs a deal with CNN to deliver live CNN coverage in the Australian market.
1985 Seven commissions Neighbours.
Seven commences three key long-term partnerships, with the first broadcasts of Australian Rules Football, the Australian Open tennis and Walt Disney’s Disneyland. These three key partnerships, with the Australian Open, Australian Football League and an agreement with The Walt Disney Company, are today in their sixth decade.
Seven delivers the first live Sydney— Melbourne broadcast link for coverage of cricket. Seven launches stations in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.
1963 Seven Network is officially formed. 1964
Seven’s commission of Homicide is recognized as the catalyst for energizing local television production, in particular for drama series.
Seven commissions The Mavis Bramston Show, Australia’s first satirical current-events comedy series.
Seven broadcasts the first daily live satellite coverage of the Olympic Games.
which sets new ratings records in Australia and is awarded an International Emmy.
cial digital broadcast channel, 7HD. Seven moves into leadership in prime time.
1988 Seven launches Home and Away.
Seven launches 7mate as its latest channel complementing Seven and 7TWO. Seven launches PLUS7, an AVOD catch-up viewing platform on Yahoo!7.
2011 Seven and The West Australian merge to
Qintex acquires Seven Network from John Fairfax and Sons and Herald & Weekly Times groups following changes in media ownership laws.
IPO sees Seven list on the Australian Securities Exchange.
1995 Kerry Stokes acquires a major shareholding in Seven and is appointed chairman. Seven, Nine Network and BSkyB become shareholders in Australian News Channel, which creates Sky News for pay television in Australia. Seven acquires Sunshine Broadcasting to create Seven Queensland, a regional television network complementing Seven’s owned-and-operated channels in the five major metropolitan markets in Australia.
Seven acquires an interest in MetroGoldwyn-Mayer.
Seven is the exclusive Australian television network of the Olympic Games in Sydney.
2001 Digital television launches in Australia.
1975 Color television launches in Australia.
David Leckie is appointed CEO and managing director. Seven acquires Pacific Magazines and Murdoch Magazines to create one of the largest magazine-publishing businesses in Australia.
an Australian Football League Grand Final.
Seven commissions Australia’s first miniseries, Against the Wind.
1979 Seven unveils “Racecam,” a new robotic in-car camera technology recognized with an Emmy Award for leadership in innovation and technology.
Seven launches 7TWO as a complementary channel to Seven on its broadcast platform.
Bruce Gyngell joins Seven as managing director and launches “The Seven Revolution,” propelling Seven to market leadership.
1977 Seven broadcasts the first live coverage of
Seven acquires a major shareholding in West Australian Newspapers.
Seven moves into leadership in breakfast television.
2006 Seven forms a joint venture with Yahoo Inc. to create Yahoo!7. Seven creates the Seven Media Group, which encompasses the Seven Network, Yahoo!7 and Pacific Magazines, in a joint venture with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
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create Seven West Media, Australia’s largest integrated media and content business.
Tim Worner is appointed managing director and CEO.
Seven signs a long-term partnership with the International Olympic Committee. Seven signs an agreement to become the television network of the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Seven launches racing.com, a live horse-racing channel on television and online, in a joint venture with Racing Victoria. Seven signs a long-term partnership with the Australian Football League. Seven launches 24/7 live streaming of its broadcast channels. Seven creates two new production company ventures, 7 Wonder and 7 Beyond, to focus on the creation of content specifically for the U.K. and U.S. television markets and secures major commissions in both markets. Seven forms a partnership with Foxtel to form Presto, a subscription-video-ondemand service.
Seven launches 7flix, a new channel on the network’s broadcast platform, which joins Seven, 7TWO, 7mate and racing.com in the company’s suite of broadcast channels available on television and across any connected device.
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By Anna Carugati fter attending London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Damian Lewis took to the stage in numerous productions, from Shakespeare to Ibsen. Lewis also worked on both the big screen and the small. He was cast as World War II hero Richard Winters in Band of Brothers, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe, then went on to perform in the miniseries The Forsyte Saga and in several TV projects and feature films, including An Unfinished Life with Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford. Lewis’s nuanced portrayal of damaged, conflicted, former Al Qaeda prisoner Sergeant Nicholas Brody in Homeland on Showtime earned him a Golden Globe and an Emmy. He received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his performance as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall. Lewis has returned to Showtime in Billions as hedge-fund king Bobby Axelrod, who is being pursued on insider-trading charges by U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, played by fellow Golden Globe and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti. Lewis talks to World Screen about immersing himself in the world of high-stakes finance and the expanding opportunities in the evolving TV landscape. WS: What appealed to you about Billions? LEWIS: I was drawn to it because I feel there is a place on TV—and Showtime is very interested in this—for finding subject matter that can become bigger than the TV show itself, so that the conversation can extend into the news pages. A show like Billions [is like that because] it explores contemporary financial culture, which is something that we’ve all become more familiar with. Since the crisis of 2007-2008, people have a bit more of an understanding of what happened. Some people are angry, others are just fascinated by that world and what drives those people. We haven’t really had that story told, and it seemed a good opportunity to tell it. People have preconceptions about hedgefund billionaires, so I think we had an opportunity to explore the world those people live in and to explore the individual as well, and to just get people to think about it in a less black-and-white way. That’s why I decided to do the show and hopefully we will achieve that. WS: Do you have a process for preparing for a role? How did you prepare for Bobby? LEWIS: I do have a process; it’s pretty straightforward. I like to get reading material, so I find literature on the subject and I find documentary footage. I also like to meet people who are in [the character’s] world. If I’m telling a true story I want to represent it in a credible way. So preparing for this meant that I sat down with many powerful hedge-fund guys, all of whom are billionaires, some of whom were directly involved in the crash of 2007-2008 [and others] who have become successful more recently. And I investigated the intellectual process. I was interested in whether there was a
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So I’ve learned a lot by talking to them and reading about them. That’s my process, getting in the room with people. Bobby Axelrod is a fictional character. He isn’t any one guy, and I discovered pretty quickly that modeling him on one particular person wasn’t going to be any use to me. It became obvious very early on that David [Levien] and Brian [Koppelman], the writers on the show, had wanted [to create a fictional character]. So I was able to borrow things, but behaviorally I haven’t been able to borrow that much—it’s been more intellectual. WS: You have been widely praised for your ability to portray ambiguity; we certainly saw that with Sergeant Brody on Homeland, who could communicate so much with a glance, without speaking. Is Bobby less subtle than Brody, or is there ambiguity in Bobby as well? LEWIS: This is a noisier show than Homeland. It’s a little bit more front foot, a little bit more alpha—alpha male and alpha female. Sometimes the language is slightly heightened in a Tarantino-, Sorkin-esque kind of way. It gives great rhythm and music to the language, but it means that things are more expressed than they are implied. It’s more explicit, I would say. I think the writers are extremely interested in ambiguity and in playing with the notion of [questioning] who is good and who is bad, who’s likeable and who’s unlikeable. But in terms of performance, it’s been much more front foot. It’s been much more aggressive, more confrontational, and I hope not without its subtlety and nuance; but the style of the show is much more New York-y.
Damian Lewis stars alongside Paul Giamatti in Showtime’s Billions, which has been given a second-season order for 2017.
moral position that any of them took. I was interested in what they saw as the positive effects of a hedge fund, and whether they were prepared to concede that there were any negative effects. I was much more interested in really finding out the mechanisms of a hedge fund—where it fits and what role it can play within the market—because that’s what most people don’t understand. It was interesting to learn in my talks with them that the hedge funds sit apart from mainstream Wall Street and consider themselves to be apart from it. And I think they are feared by mainstream Wall Street! But also I find myself sympathizing with them. I think the first thing to say is that, individually, they behave differently from one another, so it’s impossible to broadly say they are all [similar]. But I think the ones that are liked and have integrity have been maligned, and I think hedge funds do have a role to play. I have sympathy with the idea that they are market regulators; they can go in and hold firms that might not be performing to account. Certainly in 2007-2008, with the subprime mortgages, there were a bunch of guys who just couldn’t believe what was happening, who couldn’t believe that no one else had seen how dysfunctional the market really was at that point. They tried to point it out, but they went on to make lots of money as a result of shorting the market. They played by the rules of the game. They actually weren’t the ones, it seems to me, who were corrupt. It seems like there was corruption and coercion everywhere else. That would be my view.
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WS: Homeland was about spies and terrorism, and Brody came home and was hiding who he really was. Here Bobby and Chuck aren’t hiding who they are—at least it doesn’t seem that way, I’ve only seen the first episodes! LEWIS: Certainly one of the intentions of the show is that people will be revealed to be not what they seem. We have a man from privilege and wealth who is working in public office for not much money. And we have a man from a blue-collar, working-class background who has made a lot of money. There is the theme of regulation versus libertarianism. There is a bit of a class theme in there and, obviously, money. You will see likeable things about Bobby, who you suppose, in the beginning of the show, is being pursued by the U.S. attorney. And there is no reason to believe the U.S. attorney is wrong: he thinks he’s got a whiff of insider trading and unlawful business, and there is no reason not to believe him. The attorney, in turn, will reveal himself to be an equally ambitious, grasping and aggressive alpha male, in the same way that Bobby can be. The whole thing has become sort of gladiatorial; it’s like two kings in their own kingdoms, and we observe what they have done to attain power and what they will do to preserve it. That’s really where the show is. WS: What has playing opposite Paul Giamatti been like? LEWIS: When we’ve done [scenes together], it’s been absolutely wonderful. We don’t get to do it very often because we have these parallel stories. I love working with Paul. There is always a confrontation [between our characters] when we come together.
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Damian Lewis earned rave reviews for his performance as Henry VIII in the BBC’s Wolf Hall, which picked up a Golden Globe for best miniseries or TV movie.
Paul is one of the smartest actors I’ve worked with. He is totally present. Emotionally, intellectually and physically he inhabits his space entirely. He’s a force to be opposite of, and I love it. I’d love to get on stage with him actually! He’s a complete gentleman and a lovely guy. It’s been wonderful. He has an ability to inhabit his lines in a credible way. He is totally present, that’s what I would say about Paul, that’s what’s so engaging about watching him as an actor and being in the space with him; he creates a force because of how present he is, intellectually, emotionally and physically. It’s thrilling to be working with him. WS: Years ago many actors thought that film would offer them the most challenging and rewarding work, and a lot of them looked down on television. Over the course of your career, how have you seen that change? Certainly film still offers many opportunities, but television has so many character-driven series now.
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LEWIS: I don’t think film is offering fewer opportunities than it used to, it’s that TV is offering so many more. And the TV landscape has shifted entirely. It’s unrecognizable now as an art form. Once the way in which we got our content changed, and we started having library viewing and binge-viewing and people being able to watch episodes back to back, it wasn’t so important to come to the TV once a week. As a result, the way the stories could be told changed. It was a happy coincidence that lots of things shifted at the same time. I think people were finding it harder to make intelligent independent films and to get them financed and seen. They found that there were storytelling opportunities in TV. At the same time—I’m not a scholar of it—but it seems that the studios saw a chance to monetize TV in a way they hadn’t before. It truly became this global industry and as a result, Band of Brothers was one of the first successful limited series, a major piece of television shot abroad with foreign crews and foreign actors. That didn’t happen in TV. It always seemed to happen in a backlot in L.A. And it seemed to be a very Hollywood-American community. But suddenly TV was being made like feature films, and TV shows were going abroad. Foreign markets were so important to the sales of TV shows, and as a result, people like me got really lucky; I came of age as an actor just at the time the TV world was shifting. You can probably trace this current trend with this type of TV show being made back to about 2001, 2002, when we made Band of Brothers and when The Sopranos was being made. It became clear that there was an appetite for a 12-hour movie, which effectively is what we are talking about. Subsequently, we’ve had The Wire and Mad Men and Breaking Bad and Homeland—all these seminal shows of the last several years, which have been committed to telling a 12-hour story like a 12-hour film. Viewers have loved having the opportunity to watch something over 12 hours, and so we have binge-watching, which is kind of a new thing. I just feel incredibly fortunate. There is still the opportunity to make film, but there is also the opportunity to make things like Billions and Homeland, in which you get to really tease out a story, in a more novelistic way, over 12 hours. It’s a sign of the times—80 percent of the directors I just worked with on Billions have all made major films, but are also interested in making TV now. WS: With the opportunities available in this new landscape, what kind of roles do you look for? What kind of work do you enjoy? LEWIS: I enjoy it all. I’ve never had a good answer to that question. I take each role as it comes. It has to be something that hooks me in, but I would say I respond more to the material than to the role. I don’t want to be playing a fabulous character in a piece that I don’t think stands up or isn’t of interest to me. It’s the subject matter and the story that appeals to me, and I then hope to make the character interesting and credible within that.
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WS: Tell us how Blunt Talk came about. I understand Jonathan Ames wrote it for you? STEWART: I was approached about three years ago by Seth MacFarlane, with whom I have worked for almost 12 years on his animated series American Dad, and occasionally on Family Guy. He asked me how I would feel about doing a half-hour comedy show. I said that if he had anything to do with it, I would love to, since I had never done a half-hour comedy show before, except for making guest appearances. Very soon after that he introduced me to Jonathan Ames, and we took off from there. Jonathan and I both live in Brooklyn, so we would meet every two or three weeks in a coffee shop, and we would talk about ourselves and tell anecdotes and discuss our interests and so forth. Out of that the show grew. WS: How did those conversations define the traits of your character, Walter Blunt? STEWART: We started talking about an idea that came from Jonathan—it was not Seth’s idea that the show should be about a media person. Jonathan has said that he was watching television and came across Piers Morgan, the English journalist who had his own nightly show on CNN, and the thought struck him: Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Patrick Stewart as a rather provocative and unruly host of a cable news show? That’s how the idea began. I filled in some of Walter’s backstory—his upbringing in the U.K., his education, and the time that he spent in the British
By Mansha Daswani
Chances are you know Patrick Stewart from his iconic role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Or as Professor Charles Xavier in the blockbuster superheromovie franchise X-Men. You may have recognized his voice on FOX’s animated comedy American Dad. Or seen him in a number of stage plays, many with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In his long, varied career, which dates back to the 1960s, the one thing Stewart hasn’t been known for (outside of several memorable guest-starring spots) is live-action comedy— until now. In Starz’s Blunt Talk, Stewart plays Walter Blunt, a British journalist hosting a news show on American cable TV whose wild antics get him into trouble both on and off screen. Renewed for a second season, Blunt Talk was created by Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death) and is exec-produced by Seth MacFarlane. Stewart tells World Screen about embracing comedy and working with the show’s ensemble cast. 86 World Screen 4/16
army in the Royal Marines, most notably during the Falklands War in the ’80s. Jonathan came up with the idea that the Falklands War so dismayed [Walter] about life in the military; he found it to be corrupt and not at all about the kind of justice for the world that he was interested in seeking. So when he came out [of the Royal Marines] he decided he could probably better serve the world as a journalist. That’s how that aspect of the story began. And then we talked about relationships. I think Walter’s had three wives and is presently single. He is passionate about creating a better world, particularly in the United States. He cares a great deal about the U.S. but feels that the country can do much better for itself and for its people. Issues like race, prejudice, gun control, politics, campaign financing— all these things are of interest to him. We must have spent about six months talking, and then Jonathan put things
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He is so truthful and real. He’s so witty in how he plays [a scene] and has a truly eccentric nature. I have a feeling that when this series comes to an end, we shall find that Harry might have proven to be the most popular character.
Patrick Stewart plays newsman Walter Blunt in Blunt Talk, produced by Media Rights Capital for Starz.
down on paper and very gradually the passionate but unruly character of Walter Blunt grew. WS: Does comedy require a different set of acting “muscles” than drama does? STEWART: I think it does, yes. I’ve been lucky to have a very diverse career, with years and years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and then television series like Star Trek and a film franchise with X-Men. But there is one major difference about shooting a comedy show. Nothing changes from the point of view of how truthful you want it to be, how realistic, how honest and open. But, then, there’s always, Where is this funny? Where is the humor in this? How do we find it and how do we [convey it]? I found that to be very refreshing. I have been somewhat identified by two characters I am the most well known for: JeanLuc Picard in Star Trek and Charles Xavier from X-Men. I’m nothing like either of them! I like to think I have a touch of a comic attitude toward life and I’ve always enjoyed comedy—particularly the sort of somewhat scandalous comedy that Seth MacFarlane specializes in. I am thrilled to be working in comedy, to be talking about laughter and humor, and it has proven to be one of the happiest experiences of my life. WS: Talk about your relationship with Adrian Scarborough, who plays Harry, Walter’s valet. Your scenes together are brilliant! STEWART: I have watched Adrian over the years on TV, in film, and on the stage and have always admired him very much. Three years ago he and I were cast in a radio play for BBC Radio 4. It was about the thriller writer Raymond Chandler and his relationship with Billy Wilder, who directed a movie based on one of Chandler’s novels. And we had a marvelous time. It was only two days’ work, but we got on very well and loved working together. When Jonathan Ames told me about the ideas he had for the character of Harry, he said, What we need is a younger Bob Hoskins to play this role. So I began to think about who there might be to fill that category, a Bob Hoskins-like English character actor. And almost immediately my memory of this radio play came to mind, and I suggested Adrian. They put him on tape in London and loved it at first sight. I saw his taped audition and it was marvelous.
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WS: How did the rest of the ensemble cast come together? STEWART: I knew the work of Jacki Weaver—a marvelous actress with two Academy Award nominations—and I was thrilled when she agreed to play the role of Rosalie, Walter’s producer and, like so many other women, one of his ex-lovers. I knew of Dolly Wells, whose series Doll & Em I had been watching and whom I admired very much. I also knew of Timm Sharp, who plays Jim. We were assembling, I thought, a very distinguished cast right from the very beginning. And our two younger cast members, Karan Soni and Mary Holland, are also wonderful. We’ve got a very tight ensemble and we all get on terrifically well and have a lot of fun. People have described Walter as being dysfunctional, but the fact is that his whole team is pretty dysfunctional, and that is a source for a lot of humor. WS: In a behind-the-scenes interview I watched with Jonathan Ames, he mentioned that you improvised a great line in the first episode. Was that something that was encouraged throughout the show? STEWART: Jonathan is very comfortable with [improvisation] and so are our directors. I recently dipped my toe very soundly into the world of improvisation. There is a brilliant group out of Chicago called The Improvised Shakespeare Company, and that’s what they do—improvise Shakespeare’s plays. I’ve worked with them whenever I can, whenever I’m free, for the last three years, and I enjoy it immensely. So improvisation no longer holds the terror for me that it once did. And Dolly, Mary, Timm, they are all comedians, they all have their own stand-up routines, so it fits in very well with our group that we have a showrunner who is enthusiastic about improvising. We always speak Jonathan’s lines first, and then when we think we’ve got the scene we’ll do it a couple more times and maybe add some other [lines]. WS: How have you seen the television landscape evolve over the course of your career? How has it broadened the types of roles available to you? STEWART: I tell people that I’ve always been typecast, but in my case the types keep changing. In a sense, Charles Xavier was a natural follow-on from Jean-Luc Picard, but comedy has entered more and more into my life, largely through what I do on social media. I have a lot of fun on social media, with my Twitter account and Instagram and Facebook, and that has brought me significantly different work. I’m so happy about that. I’ve not given up my love for Shakespeare and other drama. In fact, this year is a perfect example of the kind of work that I’m pursuing: the first four months of the year are taken up with [the second season of] Blunt Talk, then I am doing a very big, spectacular studio movie—I can’t say what it is yet—but I do that in May/June, and then in July I go to London and I start rehearsing with Sir Ian McKellen a wonderful Harold Pinter play called No Man’s Land. So not only have I got television, film and theater, but I’ve got different material in each one of the genres that I’ll be working in this year.
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WS: How has CBC/Radio-Canada contributed to the Canadian media landscape? LACROIX: Everything revolves around the mandate that we have, which is all about informing, enlightening and entertaining Canadians. When you translate these verbs into actions and output and content, you’ll see that for the last 80 years we have been offering Canadians absolutely fearless reporting about what’s going on in our country and around the world. We look at the world through Canadian eyes, and we bring the world to Canadians. On the entertainment side, we offer dramas that showcase our country, our writers and our actors. In comedy, our values are different than those of our friends to the south. It’s political satire that speaks to people about what’s going on in our country. Then it’s all about Canadian stories. We have a big country, and we want to make sure that the cultural lives of people across the country are impacted by our content. We want to tell stories about people who are in British Columbia so that people in Newfoundland can understand what is going on, and the same is true for Quebec and our offerings in French and in English. We think that our contribution has allowed us to carve out a place in the Canadian identity conversation, because when you talk about what CBC/Radio-Canada is all about, everybody identifies us with being in the social fabric of this country because we tell these
80 YEARS OF CBC/RADIO-CANADA
By Anna Carugati
For 80 years CBC/Radio-Canada has been serving Canadians, bringing them news, sports and entertainment; looking at the world through a Canadian perspective; and telling stories that reflect all communities and geographic areas of the country. With terrestrial networks, specialty channels and a suite of websites focusing on news, sports, education and culture, in English and in French, the public broadcaster has been holding true to its mission of informing, enlightening and entertaining its viewers. CBC/Radio-Canada is also known as the Canadian Olympic Network. Because of budget cuts, it has had to forgo bidding on rights to professional sports, but it remains committed to the Olympic Games and has secured the rights through 2024. Finances have been a challenge over the last number of years. Some 65 percent of CBC/Radio-Canada’s budget comes from the government. Reductions in public funding have forced president and CEO Hubert Lacroix and the company’s various departments to slash spending. Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has pledged an additional C$150 million ($112 million) a year to CBC/Radio-Canada, a decision Lacroix heartily welcomes if the public broadcaster is to deliver on its Strategy 2020, which outlines ways for CBC/Radio-Canada to be more digital, more local and more ambitious in its Canadian programming. As Lacroix tells World Screen, CBC/Radio-Canada no longer thinks of producing content for different platforms—rather it thinks of telling stories that can move fluidly from one to another. 92 World Screen 4/16
stories. We have 27 TV stations and 88 radio stations, and we will continue to be deeply rooted in the regions because you can’t be a public broadcaster without that kind of geographic footprint. We broadcast in two languages, and we are strongly committed to this. As a public broadcaster, we have to reflect and respect the fact that we have two official languages, so we need to be able to deliver programming to people in Saskatchewan or Manitoba or Alberta who speak French. In the same way we have to be able to give Canadians who live in Quebec [the same content] in English. When we broadcast signature events, like the Olympic Games or an election night, they bring Canadians together. This is where we shine brightest: 33 million Canadians, 11 million on our digital platforms, came to us for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. On election night—October 19, 2015—9 million came to us on our digital platforms. It just shows you that not only do we create all of this content, express the culture and enrich the democratic life of Canadians, but we do it in a very modern and completely transformed way. WS: What are some of the highlights of CBC’s schedule? What draws Canadians together the most?
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Comedian Rick Mercer hosts a weekly half-hour satirical show on CBC, Rick Mercer Report, that has been on the air since 2004. Canada’s Smartest Person is an original competition series on CBC hosted by Jessi Cruickshank.
LACROIX: Two years ago, we made a shift to Canadian programming in prime time. We used to have American programs in prime time that actually led our schedule. We don’t do this anymore; we are completely committed to Canadian content in prime time. We have very strong content, like Murdoch Mysteries, or Heartland or Rick Mercer [the political satirist], who has been such an important piece of our schedule. We have Dragons’ Den, The Nature of Things and 50 Years of the Nature of Things, as well as Marketplace and The Fifth Estate, which are investigative journalism in prime time and are signature programs for us. Among our new shows is Hello Goodbye, which is set in an airport. We have also brought in the best of the rest of world, like Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough and This Changes Everything, Avi Lewis’s feature documentary. Our new strategy for sports is focused on amateur athletes and the Olympic Games. We were able, with our partners, Bell Media and Rogers, to secure as lead broadcaster the rights to the Olympic Games until 2024, including the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year. Radio will always be a flagship for us, and we are doing well there. If you look at the 26 markets in which there is monitoring of the performances of the different networks, our morning programs are number one in 15 of them, and we are number one, two or three in 25 of them. We are podcasting a lot, and we are changing the way we want our stories to be heard because of that. WS: How have you remained committed to your mission in a more crowded and competitive landscape? LACROIX: We are all about Canadian content, so I will come back to that point.
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We focus on and try to differentiate ourselves with great Canadian content and stories. In an environment where viewers and listeners have limitless choices, we go deeply into our communities, into more local and more digital content, and frankly, [this makes us] a more financially sustainable broadcaster. The shift we have made to digital is where we become different. We become the place where conversations start, and Canadians will realize, I hope, that this is a public space; this is where they go for Canadian conversations. That is the differentiating factor between the rest of the world and us. WS: How have you been making your content available on digital platforms? LACROIX: It’s all about content, and it’s not about platforms only. What we have seen is that by being so integrated—and yes, some of the choices we have had to make to amalgamate platforms quickly and to have the teams work together have been accelerated because of our really complicated financial situation—this gave us the ability to go from one platform to another in a very fluid fashion. I’ll give you an example. Recently, when the government was debating whether it wanted to invest in education or not, one of our young French reporters, Marie-Eve Tremblay, got all sorts of pictures from teachers of how badly maintained some of the schools are. She then put them together and posted them online, and all of a sudden she started a tsunami of reactions of posted pictures showing the state of some of these schools. That then became a front-page story in the newspapers. It was picked up by our main channel in French. It became a major story. She was asked to come in [to Parliament] and explain what the story was about, and all of a sudden government was intervening. Then other media picked the story up. The story wasn’t led by television. It was a posting in a social-media environment that created the tsunami. That’s how we work now. WS: How is CBC/Radio-Canada funded? LACROIX: Sixty-five percent of our funding comes from the government. You have to remember that of the 18
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Produced by Shaftesbury, Murdoch Mysteries is a hit original drama for CBC that has sold widely courtesy of ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
most important public broadcasters in the world, on a per-capita basis, the average investment is C$82 per person. In Canada, the investment of our government in us for that 65 percent is C$28 per person. The BBC gets C$97 per person. That gives you an idea of the discrepancy between the average investment and ours. So to compensate, we have self-generated revenues for the other 35 percent, in the form of advertising, subscriber fees for our specialty networks and all sorts of other miscellaneous revenues, from the rental of our space to the rental of our transmission facilities. That’s how we build our budget. WS: Why is it essential to continue to receive government funding? What are some of the programs and services that viewers in Canada cannot get anywhere else but from CBC? LACROIX: The main thing is Canadian content. If you look at what we do in prime time and you look at the business models of our two competitors, CTV and Global— and I respect them, because it’s the only way for them to make money—they acquire U.S. programming and air it in the same windows at the same time as the U.S. broadcasters and then use that for their advertising. They benefit from U.S. networks that are selling their TV signals into our country. We are completely different. If you take CBC/Radio-Canada out of the picture, there is just about no more Canadian content in prime time. For every dollar that CBC/Radio-Canada gets, we generate close to C$3 for the Canadian media industry—actors, screenwriters, producers and everybody else. And we do that by ourselves, to the tune of C$600 million last year. In terms of investment in Canadian content, all of the other broadcasters
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together invest less than we do. That’s why, if you take us out of the equation, there is no business model for Canadian content. So as soon as you take out the dollars from CBC/Radio-Canada, the industry collapses. WS: The government has pledged an additional C$150 million in funding a year. Where is that most needed? LACROIX: We finally have a government that is interested in culture and I applaud that. We haven’t seen yet how those dollars are going to make their way into our budget. It’s all about our Strategy 2020 and our plan to make CBC/Radio-Canada more local, more digital and more financially sustainable. We are going to continue to invest in new multiplatform content. We want to continue to invest in high-profile events that bring us together. Next year is the 150th anniversary of Canada; we think we have a role to play there. It’s the 375th anniversary of Montreal; we think we have a role to play there, too. We have to bolster our content in prime time, both on radio and on TV, because we have a lot of repeats right now due to the cuts that we have made recently. This is a complicated world, and I think we have to do a little more in international coverage. We’ve had to suffer through years of cuts trying to manage as best we could. We have an opportunity, not only to reinvest in some of the services that we’ve cut—because we didn’t have the money to support them—but to continue to be as efficient as possible. Some of the strategic choices we’ve made in the past are not going to be revisited. One example of that is we’re not going to start bidding for professional sports rights. We are going to continue supporting our strategy in sports and do it through Olympic Games
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and through events where Canada plays as a country, or when Canadian athletes are in prime time. WS: What role must television news play in a world of constant, instant information on the internet? LACROIX: It’s all about content and not about a particular platform. Everything that comes from one of our platforms flows to the others, but not in the same way. Gone are the days when you would have a story or a news clip that would be shown on television, then simply put on the web and on smartphones. Now it doesn’t work like this anymore. You have to tailor the content to the platform and you have to think differently. So, as this is going on, viewers come to us, a public broadcaster, when they want a credible, trustworthy news source, when they want to make sure that content has been vetted through our very, very rigorous journalistic standards and policies—and they are brutally rigorous. We want to make sure that the public gets the right information according to the right facts. We have ombudsmen that actually investigate any complaints from the public. We are the only news organization in the country that works that way, so it’s all about being a trustworthy, reliable news source. WS: Is there any other aspect of CBC/Radio-Canada that you would like to highlight? LACROIX: I have to talk about the courage of the people who are in our environment right now, because it’s been a challenge. It’s been a challenge to tell an organization that has 80 years of history—that has led first with radio followed closely by television, then web, and then
digital—to start thinking completely differently. We have put mobile as the number one priority, the web is number two, radio is number three and television follows. This mental shift is very difficult for any organization to go through, and we are in the middle of it. We clearly understand that 87 percent of Canadians still watch television in prime time; they watch 27 hours of television a week, so we can’t forget these people. We understand how successful we are in radio; we have record shares in both French and English radio content. But with limited resources, we have had to change our thinking and realize that digital and the web are the driving forces of the years to come. I have nothing but respect for the people who work in this corporation as it’s trying to reinvent itself. Frankly, the successes we have had recently and the numbers I gave you on Sochi or on election night in 2015 show you how strongly we’ve committed to digital and how important it’s becoming. WS: Despite the challenges, do you remain committed to leading CBC/Radio-Canada? LACROIX: It would have been very easy to exit, particularly when [the environment] was difficult. I have stayed on and have two more years to my mandate. I will have been here ten years in 2017. I now see the shift happening. I see the government clearly expressing support for the Canadian public broadcaster. I see our two main media content lines working really well together, and they’ve never been so close. We have reinvented the way we deliver our content, so I think we are going in a good direction, but in a very fragile financial environment.
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Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish on UKTV’s Dave.
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In an increasingly on-demand era, how are channel brands remaining relevant? Elizabeth Guider investigates. he channels business abroad may no longer have sizzle, but does it still have staying power? That’s what pundits and poobahs around the globe are pondering as the media landscape becomes ever more roiled—and fickle viewers demand more options at ever more competitive price points. With emerging technologies upending the status quo on a daily basis, the key players in the channel business are rushing to extend their brands via social media outreach, web add-ons, digital streaming and more. The disruptor of the moment is OTT, as in over-the-top upstarts. And the biggest nightmare? Cordcutting by masses of Millennials. Lately, almost all the U.S. media conglomerates have seen their stock prices falter, their media networks take a revenue hit from streaming rivals and their in-house production units battle rising costs (especially on the drama side). A jaw-dropping $15 billion was shaved off the market cap of the Hollywood majors during the first two months of the year. It’s hardly surprising, thus, that many of these companies have renewed
their focus on the potential of foreign markets. Thirty years ago the first wave of American channels started to wash over Western Europe. To break even back then took up to ten years; a few pioneers fell by the wayside in the process. Successive waves came ashore sporadically so that now viewers from Copenhagen to Kuala Lumpur, Bologna to Buenos Aires, can access a mindboggling array of services—movies, series, games, gabbers and assorted lifestyle, reality, documentary and kids’ offerings. Much of it is (still) American-made.
GLOBAL JIGSAW Nowadays all the major U.S. content players as well as their key counterparts across Europe have parlayed their brands abroad and/or cobbled together localized or regionalized iterations to target specific countries or an entire continent. And the time it takes to break even on these ventures has generally shortened. The platforms that beam these services to subscribers are naturally getting more demanding, just as big-time cable, satellite and telco operators stateside have. “They only want the series that matter,” is how Ed Carroll, the COO of AMC
Networks, puts it. “Every platform is afraid of not having the good stuff.” In fact, pay-TV channels may be in aggregate facing the same culling that in recent years revalued and rearranged the programsales business abroad. In that latter sector, only A-list American series—NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, The Blacklist and the like—command top dollar and top billing on foreign TV stations; B and C product often doesn’t even secure licensing deals. Making money off of entire channels may not be a slam-dunk, either. Not only do these channels have to face popular and deeply entrenched local broadcasters, whose own programs are nothing to sneeze at, but now they are being buffeted by unfavorable currency fluctuations and technological headwinds, personified by that nettlesome newcomer Netflix.
ADDING VALUE So, it’s fair to ask if these services— everything from localized Disney Channel feeds to Sony’s Crackle and AXN, from NBCUniversal’s Syfy, Bravo and E! to FOX’s panoply of outlets, from HBO to Viacom’s Paramount Channel,
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from A+E’s HISTORY and Lifetime to AMC’s eponymous offshoots, and on and on—can continue to up the ante. Obviously, corporate brass would like to see ever-greater returns from foreign markets, especially since U.S. media stocks are off significantly since last summer. “It’s gotten harder,” is how more than one executive put it when describing the creative calisthenics and marketing contortions these international channels have to go through to attract attention from viewers and advertisers. The pace of launches has slowed and the competition for eyeballs is fiercer. In the parent companies’ latest annual reports, mentions of their international success stories (if they make any reference at all) generally consist of a generic (and hard-to-decode) statistic or two. 21st Century Fox’s internationalchannel business, for example, trumpeted “double-digit growth” in subscribers for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, and it now reaches 400 million households across 126 countries. STAR India also merited a particular shout-out. Despite (or perhaps because of) stumbles on the domestic front, Viacom’s executive chairman and
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CBS is monetizing online viewing via CBS All Access, a subscription service delivering both on-demand access to shows and a live stream. CEO, Philippe Dauman, recently enthusiastically promoted his company’s “profitable” foreign channel biz, claiming “the fastest international growth in our history.” Some two-dozen channels took to air in 2015, of which six were in India alone. Over at Comcast, Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts recently reported relatively healthy overall profits. Even so, the global cable unit under Bonnie Hammer is being shaken up not only to better adapt to change but, in her words, “stay one step ahead of it.” For its part, Disney recently vaunted the stellar returns from its
latest Star Wars installment, but its share price was nonetheless punished by the downdraft at ESPN. Likewise, concerns about affiliate fees from its subscription services have weighed on Time Warner’s performance and reignited rumors about a possible takeover. None of the major U.S. companies break out their international figures in any meaningful way, so it’s unclear precisely what contribution to the bottom lines these foreign network operations deliver. (The overhead required to launch, program and manage entire channels is substantially higher than that for direct sales of shows to
local content broadcast partners abroad.) Sources familiar with the sector estimate that the revenues from foreign media networks owned by U.S. conglomerates typically account for between 15 and 20 percent of the television divisions’ overall revenues.
BY THE NUMBERS Despite the fact that precise financial data is hard to come by and ratings numbers overseas are a fuzzy patchwork, it’s safe to say that most of these overseas operations turn a profit, especially the ones that have been on the scene for a decade or more, have honed
their marketing and promotion strategy, can count on economies of scale—and boast a compelling or unmatched content proposition. “The nature of our company, our very scale and our marketing muscle, mean that we can deliver big day-and-date event programming, almost theatrical in impact, abroad on a weekly basis,” says Sharon Tal Yguado, the executive VP of global programming at FOX International Studios. She goes on to say that her group continues to focus on “live viewing” accompanied by “the loud push,” as its worldwide hit The Walking Dead illustrated. Next up for such a wide release, as it were, is an exorcism-themed series called Outcast, also from the pen of Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Ahead of its April global debut, Outcast was renewed for a second season by FOX. “I still look to acquire or develop and produce a watercooler event, a high-impact serialized story with universal appeal,” she explains. “Some folks may want to binge on it later (which we have the digital tools to accommodate), but our platform is geared for live watching and high audience involvement.” Over at A+E Networks, Sean Cohan, president of international and digital media, emphasizes another element crucial to channels’ ability to ride out the
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next few years, are A+E’s upcoming plans to acquire majority stakes in linear channels abroad in “reasonably-sized markets”— another indication that traditional platforms are hardly going out of style. Some of the same calculus that drove Viacom to snatch up Channel 5 in the U.K. and Discovery to snap up SBS’s Nordic outlets is spurring the company, Cohan explains. “There’s still a disproportionate amount of viewing and advertising on linear outlets abroad, and we think there’ll be synergistic benefits to operating hybrid free, pay and digital platforms.”
AMC has begun rolling out some of its signature U.S. originals on its global feeds, including Fear the Walking Dead, which is returning this spring. disruptions in the business. “We don’t think of digital as something separate from what we do linearly. For that matter, we don’t think of international as separate from domestic. They’re anachronistic distinctions.” Evan Silverman, the senior VP of digital media at A+E Networks, adds, “A number of our digital practices are now being applied company-wide across our channels and across the U.S./foreign divide.” Both A+E Networks executives point to ad-supported VOD apps and SVOD ad-free back-catalogue packages of Lifetime Movies and HISTORY docs, which are offered to consumers in the States and soon in select territories abroad. These direct-to-consumer initiatives are not meant to replace the more traditional methods of accessing programs; they’re for “superfans,” Cohan suggests, who wish to dig deeper.
hold onto rights to their commissioned series. “Our approach is to develop our own original programming and retain all rights,” Carroll explains. The company launched AMC in the U.K. on the BT platform and in Latin America on DIRECTV, among other markets, last year. Its Sundance service recently debuted on CANALSAT in France. Having a deep library, as the Hollywood heavyweights do, is a huge advantage. NBCUniversal, for example, has been able to launch an SVOD service dedicated solely to reality fare. Called Hayu, the service debuted in the U.K., Ireland and Australia in March.
American players are not alone in thinking content is king, and controlling it is paramount. “One of the most challenging areas is making sure we have comprehensive rights to our shows so that all the content our viewers want is available wherever and whenever they want it,” says Simon Brown, executive director of strategy, research and regulatory affairs at UKTV, a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive that operates ten branded services. “This is one of the drivers of our focus on original commissioned content.” Intriguing, too, in terms of what companies may aim for in the
INTERNATIONAL APPEAL Given all the activity overseas with these major players and the flattening out of revenues domestically, analysts are paying greater attention to the potential of overseas markets. “Our view is that most of these companies spent many years investing in and tweaking their international channels, and we believe they’re now as a category making material profits,” says Philip Schuman, senior managing director at FTI Consulting. “The challenge now for most of them is whether they can continue to grow, given pay-TV saturation and the emergence of new competition.” The European recession aside, Daniel Punt, FTI’s managing
MANAGING RIGHTS Another key factor driving expansion abroad is companies’ ongoing efforts to negotiate and hold on to as many rights, foreign and domestic, as possible. On the non-scripted side, those strides have already paid off handsomely for A+E (think Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars) and are now accelerating on the scripted side. “Over the last several years we’ve dramatically increased our ownership of fiction series,” Cohan says. Similarly, AMC Networks leadership is doubling down on efforts to
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director, believes that even in highly developed territories like France, Germany and the U.K., “there’s still room for more disposable income to be spent on entertainment.” And looking further afield in, say, the quartet of BRIC countries, “a lot of people are entering the middle class. That’s typically when spending on entertainment starts to become significant.” Robert Bakish, the president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, is bullish about the strides his division has made in the last three years. He points to a fourpronged approach that has worked to goose the company’s position overseas. First, Viacom secured a controlling stake in British commercial broadcaster Channel 5. Then it accelerated the production of localized content for Nick, MTV and the like, deploying a suite of branded mobile apps. Finally, it launched consumer experiences beyond media. Bakish thinks of cord-cutting and cord-shaving as indications that consumers are extending their relationships to media rather than simply abandoning more established linear outlets. “Traditional pay is alive and well and growing for us,” he says. “From 800 million unique pay-TV subscribers today, by 2020 that number goes to at least 2 billion.”
As for the drop-off in pay-TV customers in the U.S., the FTI consultants reckon that the headlines about cord-cutting causing a meltdown at MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) are overblown. Looking out ten years, they believe the number of U.S. pay-TV subscribers will remain stable at roughly 100 million households, with growth in new households offsetting cancellations. However, some subscribers may downgrade to less expensive packages (including new “skinny bundles” from providers like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue), a trend that could put pressure on both pay-TV operators and TV channel groups.
CHASING SUBSCRIBERS Deutsche Bank devoted a client note recently to deconstructing the mixed first-quarter results at The Walt Disney Company. “The near-term trajectory for the cable networks is probably lower than the market previously expected, given subscriber headwinds and currency pressures…. Subscriber pressure is not from cord-cutting but from multichannel packaging changes. Distributors with packaging flexibility built into their contracts have added subscribers on economy tiers and smaller bundles that exclude higher-priced networks such as ESPN and TNT.”
Amy Pham is a content creator for Maker Studios’s online lifestyle channel The Platform. Not every development in the U.S. media business or shift in consumer habits is mirrored abroad. The most crucial difference between the U.S. and European pay-TV markets is that the price difference between available multichannel subscriptions and OTT SVOD offers is just not as large in Europe as it is in the States. “We hear a lot about cord-cutting and the U.S. experience, but I don’t believe you cut and paste this behavior,” agrees UKTV’s Brown. “First, the U.S. market is 80 percent cable, whereas the U.K. pay figure is just 50 percent. So the U.S. has 30 percent more marginal households that in the U.K. simply opt for freeto-air TV. Second, the average U.S.
VICE is bringing its Millennial expertise to linear TV with VICELAND, a new channel available in Canada and the U.S. featuring shows like Gaycation. 108 World Screen 4/16
cable subscription is in the region of $120 a month, whereas in Britain it’s half that, at around £50 ($70). So in the U.S. a lot of lighter viewers are paying a very large monthly fee. There’s bound to be some churn in a market like that. That’s why, in the U.K., a lot of the OTT subscribers are actually taking it in addition to their Sky or Virgin subscription as a top-up. In other words, those people here who love TV want to buy the richest TV experience they can.” And, while similarities to the U.S. experience are noticeable in Anglocentric countries like the U.K. and Australia (or even the Netherlands), significant differences await elsewhere. Thus, as several consultants say, Netflix will likely find that making inroads in disparate cultures is just as challenging for the upstart service as it has been for the legacy players who’ve been there a while, and have amassed valuable expertise. Still, no one denies that disruption continues to rumble stateside and is ricocheting outward. (One worrying find: in a recent Harris poll in the U.S., a whopping 79 percent of respondents said that monthly DVR/cable box rental fees are “too high.”) “As viewing continues to move away from traditional networks toward digital alternatives, advertisers will continue changing where they allocate their expenditure to reach desired demographic segments,” concluded PwC’s recent five-year (2015–2019) media projection study.
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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced the “birth of a new global internet TV network” this January when the OTT service said it was reaching more than 190 countries. Unmistakably, “a loud sucking sound” is coming from new overthe-top offerings, and not just from “pure” unaffiliated OTT players like Netflix and Amazon Prime but also from the TV Everywhere hybrid services of legacy players, says Blair Westlake, a former top executive at Universal and Microsoft and now principal of his own consultancy, MediaSquareup.
PERSONALIZED TV “Consumers are getting it into their heads that they’re able to access just what they want to watch, when they want to and how they want to,” Westlake observes. “Clearly, if you’re watching Netflix, you’re not watching linear TV.” If enough consumers eventually piece together their own à la carte menus or skinny bundles from several sources for, say, $30 or $40 a month, they may very well cancel their cable, satellite or telco subscriptions for $100 or so. The effects of this shift, Westlake says, will soon be felt up and down the line, from retransmission fees to stock prices. “In short, every time there’s a new, and competent, player in any business—a restaurant, an airline—that newcomer is siphoning off money from its established competitors.” Netflix, for example, has reported that its average subscriber watches two hours of content on the service a day. “That’s what I’d call very focused viewing,” Westlake adds, “as opposed to the five and a half
hours a day Nielsen reports people watch traditional TV, during much of which the TV is on but no one is actually watching it. Assuming real TV viewing is more like three hours a day, that two hours of Netflix time is a chunk out of TV’s hide.” Like several others, Westlake does stress that the international TV market, which is a mosaic rather than a monolith, does not precisely mimic developments in the U.S. But, the main trends stateside generally do get refracted, albeit at a different pace. AMC’s Carroll, for example, emphasizes that “the economics from one territory to another” can differ widely and thus affect the health of one’s programming service in that venue. He notes that in Iberia AMC’s outlets had only very modest growth a couple of years ago, but now, with things improving on the ground there, advertising and ratings have picked up. If not as dramatically as in the U.S., Netflix has, with its blitzkrieg roll-out abroad, managed to rattle both the indigenous linear players in all the key territories (who have always expected the first window on the best American-made product) and the various overseas channel offshoots of the Hollywood majors. The fact that it is earmarking between $250 million and $300 million to produce series in some of its key target markets—including a lavish period piece about the British royals called The Crown as well as other projects in Mexico,
Germany and Japan—is raising eyebrows. (That overall investment overseas by Netflix is in the same ballpark as what each of the established U.S. players spend on their localized productions abroad.) Responding to these aggressive moves from Netflix et al. as well as corporate mandates from Hollywood bosses to provide TV Everywhere to everyone, all channel chieftains worth their salt are experimenting with new ways to entice viewers, encourage them to talk up their experiences online, and convert them into loyal fans. AMC’s Carroll, for example, points to original webisodes being shot in conjunction with its series Fear the Walking Dead. These 16 one-minute segments are, for 48 hours, exclusive to the platforms that carry AMC and then revert to the company’s own YouTube channels. In Britain, too, major players are jumping on the digital bandwagon. “The last five years have seen an explosion in digital platforms and devices, but one thing has remained constant: the enduring appeal of professionally produced long-form programs,” UKTV’s Brown says. “Our underlying mission has not changed: we still need to provide great shows in a way that’s most convenient for our viewers. But, as well as being a channel zap away, our programs need to be a mouse click or tablet swipe away. In addition to prominent channels, we need prominent
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VOD services, so we’ve focused our efforts into pushing UKTV Play onto all of the key platforms.” The challenge remains tracking all of that nonlinear engagement.
DATA MINING The New York Times recently detailed the “blistering criticism” directed at Nielsen, the 93-yearold company that has long operated an effective monopoly over TV ratings in the U.S. Many TV and advertising executives see the company as “a relic of television’s rabbit-ears past” because of its slowness in measuring the multiple screens and devices on which consumers now watch video. The article suggested, though, that new competition—notably the recent merger of the mediameasurement outfits comScore and Rentrak—is forcing Nielsen to evolve. Abroad, measurement systems are also flawed or just plain rudimentary, though the U.K and northern Europe are arguably doing a better job at monitoring digital take-up than the U.S. For all of the transformations in technology, infrastructure and delivery, channel executives always come back to the goal of providing original content that fosters meaningful moments among viewers. Such shared, immersive experiences, on as many viable platforms as possible, are what everyone is banking on.
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ANKE SCHÄFERKORDT & GUILLAUME DE POSCH RTL Group emotional stories and outstanding young cast, the series has been the standout hit in Germany so far in this TV season, and was named best series by the German TV Awards. Our two main channels in Germany, RTL Television and VOX, already had a high proportion of local content, with in-house productions and exclusive commissions, but now this is shifting from just over 80 percent towards 90 percent on RTL Television. I have no doubt this will bring us a huge competitive advantage over the next few years.
The broadcast division has long been one of three pillars of the RTL Group, fueled by market-leading linear channels across Europe. As the landscape evolved, content creation at FremantleMedia and digital assets became the other two pillars. CoCEOs Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch have implemented a “TV-is-total-video” strategy, which underscores the importance of long- and short-form programming, and the many ways of delivering it to viewers. WS: What have been the keys to maintaining the relevance of linear channels? SCHÄFERKORDT: The fragmentation of audiences and ever-growing range of devices in the digital world make our business more complex. It’s becoming more difficult to generate mainstream hits—that is, blockbuster formats for mass audiences. But with fewer of these on the market, they become more valuable. So finding the new hits—big and small—is a priority for our broadcasters and for FremantleMedia. Our broadcasters won’t just wait for the next big hit to come from the international markets. It’s important we also develop our own formats because they shape our image, strengthen the brands and, most importantly of all, command exclusivity in the marketplace. That’s the major task for all linear TV channels in the future: to have a clear profile, something that makes them stand out. And that’s why, for example, VOX recently commissioned its first scripted series, Club der roten Bänder. With its
WS: How have viewing patterns evolved? DE POSCH: Once again, the digital world is changing people’s viewing habits. In particular, the growing number of mobile devices that are also, in effect, video screens. Already, mobile devices generate 17 percent of worldwide internet traffic. And the younger the target group, the more they use mobile devices and
So for us, TV doesn’t just mean “television” anymore, it means “total video.” And RTL Group has built market-leading positions across this new market’s value chain. With our families of channels, we are either number one or number two in the European markets we operate in. Our production arm, FremantleMedia, is a global leader in content production. And with our recent digital investments in North America— BroadbandTV, StyleHaul and SpotX—we’ve reached critical mass in online video. With further investments in broadcast, content and digital, we are turning RTL Group into a global force in video production, aggregation and monetization. WS: How are you reaching young viewers, who spend so much time on mobile devices? DE POSCH: In today’s digital media world, the Millennials are an audience media companies and advertisers are most keen to reach. Any-
Digital has become a key driver of RTL Group’s growth, with online-video views soaring to 105 billion in 2015 from 36 billion in 2014. so shift to nonlinear viewing. What’s more, ondemand mobile viewing, on smaller screens, means a higher demand for short-form video. This is why we invested in leading multichannel networks such as BroadbandTV, StyleHaul and DIVIMOVE. When it comes to long-form content—full episodes of TV shows—there is a strong relationship between viewing figures for linear TV and related nonlinear content, such us catchup services; the higher the ratings on linear TV, the higher the online video views. WS: Tell us about the TV-is-total-video strategy. SCHÄFERKORDT: This is clearly linked to what Guillaume has just described. Linear TV still dominates the video market, and is the only medium consistently reaching mass audiences day by day. In total, people watch more video content than ever before, in long and short form, linear and nonlinear, on the TV screen and on mobile devices. The demand for highquality video content is growing rapidly, as is online video advertising.
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one who wants direct contact with this target group, and anyone who wants to experience how passionate teenagers are about video content and vloggers, needs to add VidCon in Los Angeles to their calendar. I was in L.A. last summer and saw firsthand the incredible enthusiasm of thousands of young video fans. For me, it was a call to action to continue our push into short-form video. Nonlinear viewing is growing rapidly, especially short-form content among Millennials. To succeed as a company that creates and provides video content, we simply have to serve this audience, and serve it well. To do this, we’re taking three key approaches. First, we’re extending our existing TV content into the nonlinear world. Second, we’re creating new web content specifically for these digital platforms. And third, by aggregating short-form videos on platforms such as YouTube, which rely increasingly on professionally produced content. For more from Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, see page 163.
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PETER RICE Fox Networks Group
WS: What growth opportunities do you see in each of the regions? RICE: In general, the biggest opportunity for us is to consolidate and build our brands. We have FOX, FOX Sports, National Geographic and FOX Life in a lot of the territories, and the STAR movie channels in Asia, reaching a total worldwide audience of 1.8 billion in 45 languages. So it’s about driving those channels, providing super-high-quality premium content to consumers, but housing it inside those brands. Across the world there are tremendous opportunities in OTT and nonlinear ad sales that we are exploring in each of the regions. There are also significant disparities inside the regions with some markets growing much more swiftly than others in terms of subscribers.
As chairman and CEO of the Fox Networks Group (FNG), Peter Rice oversees a broad array of assets that include the FOX Broadcasting Company, FX Networks, Fox Sports Media Group, the National Geographic Channel brands and 350-plus services formerly under the FOX International Channels umbrella that are now reorganized within FNG’s regional hubs in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Rice believes offering brands that are meaningful to consumers, chock-full of TV events, bold programming, and can’t-miss sports, is the key to his portfolio’s success, now and in the future. WS: Tell us about the recent restructuring of FOX International Channels. RICE: Our international channels had grown so swiftly and to such a size over the course of the last decade that it was no longer serving the regions in a focused way to have them grouped as a single entity. I think it presupposed that Santiago and Singapore and Stockholm are in some way one place, which was international, when in fact each region has its own marketplace, cultural trends and opportunities. So we wanted to allow the regions to have more autonomy and to set them up on their own so that they could essentially drive our major brands in a way that worked for Europe, for Latin America and for Asia. There are similarities everywhere, but there are also differences to our businesses and the regions themselves.
WS: Fox Networks Group has rolled out several series day-and-date around the world.
FOX Sports GO, FXNOW and Nat Geo TV apps that are available to almost 100 percent of the pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. Our apps have had tremendous uptake and usage is accelerating. In Latin America we have our Fox Plus platform, which is sold through MVPDs and on a wholesale basis, and now has more than 4 million subscribers. That’s been in place for about a year and it’s a very fast-growing service. In Asia we’re looking at how we take TV Everywhere apps and allow people to access content through their pay-TV subscriptions. WS: Tell us about National Geographic Partners and why it was important to set up this new venture. RICE: National Geographic is one of the world’s great super-brands, and as people become saturated with choice, having trusted and authentic brands is really important. It’s
The Fox Networks Group portfolio has assets in the U.S. and across the globe spanning every genre, from documentaries to movies, series and sports. What are the advantages of the day-anddate rollouts? RICE: The advantages are that since communication is now instantaneous around the world, you can build toward the excitement of a show coming and then really satisfy it everywhere simultaneously. Our partners at the MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] are also really excited about our ability to launch a show on a global scale in that way. It also is a very good hedge against piracy. WS: What are some examples of how your group is providing content on nonlinear platforms in the U.S. and internationally? RICE: We are doing it through authenticated apps and working in partnership with our cable operators and MVPDs to provide a very deep experience inside Fox product. The rollouts are at slightly different levels in different parts of the world. In the U.S. we have our partnership with Hulu and we have our owned-and-operated FOX NOW,
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hard to find a brand that is more trusted or more authentic than National Geographic. It is meaningful for people from 8 to 80; it’s the most-distributed television channel in the world; the most-read magazine in the world; the number one brand on Instagram; and a top ten brand on Facebook and YouTube. So it has this ability to cross generations due to the superlative content and photography that National Geographic is synonymous with. Before, we had just been in partnership with the channels. Now, having an ability to cross-pollinate all of that content and drive it through a global business entity with a leadership position in visual factual entertainment on a massive scale was a fantastic opportunity. National Geographic Partners gives the National Geographic Society an ability to focus on its philanthropic and exploration initiatives and to really put 27 percent of all the profits from National Geographic directly back into the exploration and the science and the education that they do, making it an
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FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
incredible organization. We are really proud to work with the Society and to invest in and build this brand for the future. WS: The channel has recently embarked on a strategy of big event programming. What was the thinking behind the strategy and how is that playing out internationally? RICE: It plays into the strengths, trustworthiness and authenticity of the brand. The brand means something to people around the world. We made the choice to double down on how much we were going to spend on the programming and make it much more ambitious and to deliver it on a scale that is markedly different from the previous programming strategy of the channel. Our strategy now is more in keeping with the rest of National Geographic and with the world we are entering, where people have so much to view. We saw it when we made Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Cosmos was a massive, $40-million hard-science documentary, but it was made with Hollywood entertainers involved in the production, so we got to deliver really important hard science, but it was incredibly entertaining. Advertisers loved it. MVPDs viewed it as a core piece of National Geographic. It was the most-
watched show in National Geographic’s history: around the world, 150 million people watched Cosmos, which is an amazing result. When we looked at that we thought, OK, this is a pathfinder for the future. We can do more shows like this and we are investing in them—including event series like The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, One Strange Rock with Darren Aronofsky and MARS with Imagine Entertainment. We decided to do these series in a factual way so that we can tell historically authentic stories or authentic science-fiction stories that have hard science in them. We can do that in a scripted way as well that would be appropriate for the National Geographic brand. WS: In today’s crowded market, what elements do scripted series need in order to stand out? RICE: People have so much choice; therefore, how do you cut through and make something that demands their attention? You can demand their attention because of a scripted series’ scale, because of its topicality, because of its sheer excellence, and people will talk about it. When you combine those things you really have big hits, and we are lucky right now that FX has that in The
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People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and FOX Broadcasting Company has that in Empire, so we feel really good about the products that we are putting out and the stories that we are telling. Ultimately, that comes from the people whom we attract and the storytellers that choose to work at Fox—for example, Lee Daniels, Ryan Murphy and Steve Levitan and all the incredible people who choose to work here. When you do that you get results like The X-Files where you have 50 million people around the world watching the premiere of a TV show. WS: What factors have led to the success of Fox’s bouquet of sports channels, and how do you balance the high cost of sports rights against offering must-see events to viewers? RICE: Ultimately, you have to buy the rights to the events, and in order to do that you have to have terrific relationships with the leagues and the teams that own [the rights]. We’ve worked very hard on that around the world to have rights to really important events. Then we pride ourselves on innovation in production. We feel that our productions stand out and are better than other people’s. We love to invent new things in sports production, and I think people feel that when they are seeing a FOX Sports production—that it stands out, and in parts of the world where pay TV has less penetration, there’s an excellent opportunity to bring Fox quality and innovation to international broadcasts. WS: Do you envision the U.S. cable market unbundling its channel packages or offering skinnier bundles as Canada is, and as some operators in Latin America and Europe have been doing? RICE: We are comfortable moving towards what we call more of a core bundle. We are very well positioned in that because through the FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, National Geographic, FX and FOX News, we have brands that are really meaningful to consumers. We have worked very hard in the last four or five years to shed ourselves of brands that meant less and were more niche. They may mean something to a narrow group of consumers, but we feel that it’s going to be very hard to stay in a core bundle if you have 20 or 25 different television brands. Therefore, we try to concentrate our output of content into these core brands and we’re fine with a world in which there is a bundling into more of a core package, because we believe that all our brands will be present inside that package.
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JON FELTHEIMER Lionsgate
Lionsgate, a leading independent studio, has been building a portfolio of channels on a variety of platforms, including EPIX; Pop, a joint venture with CBS Corporation; and the online destinations DEFY Media and BeFit. CEO Jon Feltheimer believes in the value of connecting directly to consumers with the studio’s library of films and TV series. WS: Tell us about Lionsgate’s OTT strategy. FELTHEIMER: Our OTT strategy is really pretty simple. We’re not planning to compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. We see an opportunity to launch a suite of branded channels targeted at affinity audiences, driven by strong content and a high level of curation, backed by our film and television library and aligned with partners who have terrific brands of their own. Given our focus on affinity audiences and our disciplined level of investment, we believe that these channels can succeed if they attract anywhere from several hundred thousand to one or two million subscribers. We’ve launched Tribeca Shortlist, a streaming service for movie aficionados in conjunction with Tribeca Enterprises. Later this year we’ll roll out Comic-Con HQ for fanboys and fangirls in partnership with Comic-Con International. In addition to generating significant incremental profit in the years to come, we believe that our OTT offerings will also serve as an important conduit for connecting our content directly with next-generation consumers.
WS: How do you view DEFY Media and other initiatives for online audiences? FELTHEIMER: We’re seeing nice growth at DEFY. They’ve done a great job of building major brands including SMOSH, Screen Junkies, Clevver and Break with big audiences, generating over 500 million monthly video views. As new platforms emerge, DEFY is well positioned to capitalize on nearly all of them. In addition to our stake in DEFY, we’re creating our own in-house digital studio, and we’re doing it the Lionsgate way, without a big acquisition or investment. We’re marshaling a number of content initiatives for online audiences built around today’s social-media superstars. Hulu has acquired two series from YouTube star Freddie Wong, Dimension 404 and RocketJump: The Show. We’re also developing four feature-length comedies starring some of the hottest online talent in the world: Dirty Thirty, featuring
choice and ubiquitous content, and you can expect to see more solutions along the lines of CBS All Access and Hulu. The holy grail of ad-supported cable will continue to be high-end, auteur-driven scripted dramas and comedies. As long as these networks continue to generate some of the greatest shows ever created for television, I believe they will do just fine. Premium cable should also continue to thrive as long as it delivers strong offerings. Smaller linear channels will continue to feel the pressure to differentiate themselves from the clutter, and the growth of OTT will continue to transform the landscape. The good news for us is that, as one of the largest content companies in the world, we’re well positioned to serve all of them. WS: Lionsgate pioneered an innovative financing/distribution model with Mad Men. What other innovative models can you share with us?
Lionsgate expanded its business beyond content creation with its investments in linear and streaming channels. YouTube superstar Grace Helbig; The Janoskians, starring a group of Australian pranksters who have garnered over 200 million YouTube views; Natural Born Pranksters; and The Mark. Although a lot of this digital film and television content has flown under the radar, we believe that these properties represent one of the next frontiers of storytelling and have the potential to tap into a massive online audience. WS: How do you see the future health of linear channels? FELTHEIMER: Even as our business evolves more rapidly than ever before, two constants remain—the importance both of great content and the ability to connect it with consumers. Broadcast networks have withstood the challenge from cable networks for the past 15 years and will continue to benefit from retransmission fees, local news, and the sports and event programming that remains their bread and butter. Their biggest challenge is remaining relevant to consumers in a world of abundant
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FELTHEIMER: In today’s environment they all need to be innovative. Every deal with every partner, new and old, needs to be customized. With our focus on cable and digital platforms rather than the major broadcast networks, we have always aggregated our audiences across multiple platforms and constructed business models that generate profits from a combination of network license fees, international sales, tax incentives, syndication, SVOD, AVOD, EST, transactional digital, packaged media and other platforms. Even as the overall television revenue pie gets larger, the individual slices are becoming smaller and smaller. The fair apportionment of digital rights between studios and networks will continue to be the battleground of the future. The challenge—and opportunity—will be to respond with increasingly complex and nuanced windowing strategies that allow all parties to benefit, not only today but five years from now. For more from Jon Feltheimer, see page 235.
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NANCY DUBUC A+E Networks
A+E Networks’s brands, which include A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime, generate loyal fans who can watch their favorite shows when and where they want and on the screen of their choosing. A+E Networks’s president and CEO, Nancy Dubuc, is making sure her channels’ programming is offered on multiple platforms, but she also wants to see off-television viewing measured and monetized properly. WS: All cable channels in the U.S. have experienced decreases in viewership. To what do you attribute that drop, and what can linear channels do to attract viewers and remain relevant in today’s media landscape? DUBUC: A lot of amazing technology has been introduced over the past few years, and that has resulted in dramatic changes for linear TV, not just cable. The introduction of OTT services and the increased usage of DVRs, VOD and mobile devices have all impacted live viewing. As content providers, we need to look at the landscape in a new way. Accurate mea surement and monetization is one of the most important issues our industry is dealing with now. Our content has never been more in demand. For example, A+E Networks has 13 of the top 50 VOD series on cable, which is second among cable groups. A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime are all top ten VOD networks. And across all our brands, our viewership has risen 110 percent year-to-year on non-Nielsen-measured platforms.
WS: Is the traditional television landscape underserving Millennials? If so, what opportunities do you see, and how is A+E Networks taking advantage of them? DUBUC: On average, Millennials are consuming around 18 hours of traditional TV content per week. This tells me that there is a strong appetite for great video content. One of the major differences with these consumers and traditional linear television consumers is how and when they consume content, be it streaming, time-shifted viewing or on their mobile devices. Specifically at A+E Networks, I’m very proud of the success of FYI, which launched in 2014. The channel finished 2015 with growth across all demos in prime, including plus 25 percent with women 25-to-54 and plus 26 percent with women 18-to-49. We are also reaching this audience through VICELAND.
being measured by other services, ensuring that we are getting paid for advertising. It is more limited for VOD 4-plus and OTT, though we are seeing improvements and greater acceptance of these platforms by advertisers over the past year. WS: What content is A+E Networks offering for consumption on tablets and other portable devices? How have the Watch apps been received? DUBUC: We are an acknowledged leader in the TV Everywhere space. We launched Watch apps for A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime in 2012, and for FYI last year. The apps are extremely successful for us with more than 46 million downloads across all our brands. They are available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and Xbox. Last July, we also launched our first direct-to-consumer subscription service in
A+E Networks reaches more than 330 million subscribers across the globe with its brands, each targeting a different segment of the population. WS: What is the state of viewing measurement on screens beyond the TV screen? DUBUC: There are a number of obstacles in measuring viewing beyond the traditional TV screen. The metrics for viewing on nontraditional devices do not align with traditional linear video metrics. There’s also the question of transparency; TV measurement is transparent, and we can see our competitors’ performances. Measurement beyond TV is often proprietary, so there’s little insight into how others are performing. Nielsen is rolling out its Total Audience Measurement this year, and it will help sync up metrics across platforms, provide demographic data to long-tail VOD and digital viewing and will allow insight into competitive performance. But this is incumbent upon participation across the industry for it to work effectively. Also, it will not include OTT viewing initially. While website and app viewership is not included in Nielsen’s TV numbers, they are
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Lifetime Movie Club. We’re very pleased with the performance and take-up thus far. WS: What demand are you seeing for A+E Networks’s brands internationally? What geographic regions are showing the most potential for growth? DUBUC: Including the U.S., we have 84 distinct channels in over 200 countries reaching more than 330 million subscribers in 29 languages. Our international portfolio comprises six channels with HISTORY as our anchor brand. Our goal is to have a portfolio of three to six channels in every market. There are a number of emerging markets that we believe are ripe for growth, including India, Africa and China. There are certainly challenges in these territories, be it regulatory or infrastructure issues, but with growing economies and the emergence of new platforms, we see opportunity. For more from Nancy Dubuc, see page 295.
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TED SARANDOS Netf lix
incredible pace. We released nearly 450 hours of global original content in 2015 and are planning more than 600 hours in 2016. This year, Netflix plans to release 31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids’ series— available at the same time to members everywhere.
At CES in Las Vegas at the start of this year, Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, referred to the streaming service as the world’s first global internet TV network. The comment came as the platform announced that it had added another 130 countries to its footprint, bringing it to a total of more than 190 markets. Since its launch in 2007, Netflix has been investing heavily in its content lineup, from global, regional and local acquisitions to an everexpanding roster of originals that includes critically acclaimed hits like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. As it has expanded globally, Netflix’s original-programming mandate has also gone international, with local shows under way in the U.K., Germany, Japan, France, Brazil and other markets. As chief content officer, Ted Sarandos is making sure that Netflix has the optimal programming mix in all of its markets. WS: It has been more than three years now since you kick-started original programming at Netflix—how has the strategy evolved over the years? Is it a different approach now that you’re programming a global network? SARANDOS: With each original title, we learn more about what our members want, about how to produce and promote effectively, and about the positive impact of originals on our brand. Today, our original slate continues to expand at an
WS: You use a no-pilots model in the United States. Have you replicated that internationally? SARANDOS: Yes, we have. We believe in prudently committing to a whole season, rather than just a pilot episode. This allows us to provide a platform for more creative storytelling—varying lengths per episode based on story line, no need for week-to-week recaps, no fixed notion of
also learned that while great stories travel, people’s tastes are very broad in any single market. There will always be cultural and geographical nuances between markets in entertainment genres, which is why Netflix is relevant, because as internet TV, we can offer a wide variety. Then we top that with how our personalization algorithms quickly learn and make recommendations based upon individual tastes. Those members who love action blockbusters, Korean soaps, anime, sci-fi, Sundance films, zombie shows or kids’ cartoons will find that Netflix fills their home page with relevant and interesting titles. WS: From a logistical and scheduling perspective, how are you managing this constantly growing slate that now also
Netflix today is a full-fledged global brand, with services in 190-plus markets delivering more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day. what constitutes a “season”. [It goes] back to how it makes it easier for us to attract creative talent. WS: I know that, depending on the territory, production houses are used to delivering different episode counts and durations. What have you learned from your experiences now in the U.K., in France or in other global markets about international content production? SARANDOS: Whether it is the U.K., France or Korea, we provide creators the freedom to tell a story in the number of episodes that will accomplish the feat of telling great stories. The beauty of an internet-TV model is that these episodes don’t have to fit into some pre-determined time frame or schedule, unlike traditional pay TV. These episodes, whatever the number, are released all at once and give our subscribers the joy of great stories, the freedom of on-demand and the fun of binge-viewing. We have
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includes productions coming from other parts of the world? SARANDOS: As the slate grows, so does the company. WS: How are you managing the strategy for acquisitions in terms of balancing global versus local or regional buys? SARANDOS: We generally don’t share details of our acquisition strategy, but we are definitely expanding our reach into local and regional acquisitions. An example is how we picked up Brahman Naman, a coming-of-age Indian comedy [from indie director Q] at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; and then we’re investing in an upcoming South Korean film, Okja, by Bong Joon-ho, who directed [the 2013 sci-fi action film] Snowpiercer. Overall, in 2016, we expect to spend close to $5 billion on licensed and original content. For more from Ted Sarandos, see page 410.
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GERHARD ZEILER Turner International
most of your relevant rights. And the third thing is, of course, we also have to develop much more in the digital space, including digital-only propositions. At Turner, a couple of years ago in America, we bought Bleacher Report, a digital sports-fan company. It’s a leading sports website with a very innovative app called Team Stream. This is one of the projects that, together with my colleagues in the U.S., I really want to develop internationally, at least in many of the bigger markets.
CNN and Cartoon Network, part of Turner International, are among the most widely distributed channels in the world. They target news junkies and young viewers, respectively—two audience groups that readily go online for updates and favorite shows. As Turner International’s president, Gerhard Zeiler, explains, these two brands, along with dozens of others in the Turner portfolio, have maintained their linear viewership while aggressively increasing their digital offerings. WS: The U.S. tends to start trends that hit the rest of the world five or ten years later. There is a lot of talk in the U.S. about skinny bundles, cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Is that a U.S.based issue or does it also exist elsewhere? ZEILER: I don’t think it’s only an issue for the United States. What you said is true, though. Whatever happens in the U.S. will also spread internationally. I think our whole industry has to adapt. We have to be clear on three things. First, nice-to-have is over. [A channel is] either must-have or no-have. So when it comes to content, when it comes to channels, to brands, the ones that will survive and will survive healthily are the ones that are must-have—if they bring something to the consumer that nobody else brings. Second, the times when the channel business was simply aggregation— the days when you would buy programs, package them and distribute them linearly— are over. You need to control, if not own,
WS: ESPN was considered a must-have channel, and you saw what happened to ESPN and The Walt Disney Company’s stock went down. So, what is must-have these days? ZEILER: Must-have is something that the consumer really wants, but is also ready to pay the right price for. That’s it; the two have to
more of this business model from affiliate partners all over the world. WS: Compared to years ago, when watching television was a passive activity, how do viewers want to engage with content nowadays? ZEILER: We are ready to aggressively pursue relevant opportunities to expand further beyond traditional TV. More than ever, strong brands with a clear identity help us forge connections with audiences who know what we stand for and that they can rely on us for innovative, user-friendly content across any screen. If we continue to marry first-class content and storytelling with evolving technology in exciting new ways that put the consumer first, and if we evolve our offering in step with changing consumption habits, we’ll be well positioned to continue to deliver unbeatable experiences that will keep them coming back to us for more.
Turner’s international business includes brands like CNN and Cartoon Network, as well as region-specific offerings that boost its relevancy in local markets. be in a certain balance with each other. We have one mantra at Turner: we have to put the consumer first in all of our decisions, when it comes to content, when it comes to channel brand positioning, when it comes to our digital strategy, and also when it comes to the price the consumer has to pay. WS: So you don’t have a problem if an operator decides to sell à la carte? ZEILER: I think the channel bundle has some advantages, and I don’t believe there will be a complete de-bundling. What we see internationally is that there is still a bundle, but the tendency is a little bit more towards à la carte, a little bit more towards what the consumer really wants. For example, some of the European distributors offer a basic package where half the channels are set, and the other half is left to the consumers to select what they want. So it’s not complete à la carte, but it goes both ways. I think in the future we will see much
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Just to give a few examples, we have launched four TV Everywhere apps across Latin America, and we closed a landmark deal with Spotify in Europe to bring Adult Swim directly to its Millennial user base. For news, CNN’s digital success is nothing short of outstanding: CNN Digital is a leading network for online news, mobile news and social media and its recent new ventures last year alone include a Spanish-language [website]. Our kids’ IP is ready for OTT and SVOD ventures. Cartoon Network continues to grow the digital native audience with the rollout of Cartoon Network Anything and Cartoon Network Watch and Play across all regions, while Boomerang also launched a Watch and Play across the Asia-Pacific region. Within EMEA, we achieved a 200-percent lift in Cartoon Network program views on YouTube, and we have introduced multiple new apps, which have collectively enjoyed 11.7 million downloads. For more from Gerhard Zeiler, see page 351.
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Viacom International Media Networks
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) operates a portfolio of brands in some 170 territories, including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Channel, many of which appeal to young viewers, who so often are early adopters of new technologies. Despite shifts in viewing habits and varying economic conditions in different countries, Robert Bakish, the president and CEO of VIMN, continues to see opportunities in the international pay-TV business. He and his teams are launching channels, producing programming for them and increasing digital offerings. WS: VIMN played a big role in Viacom’s growth strategy in 2015. BAKISH: We are thrilled to be such a big part of Viacom’s story, but that makes sense given the continued significant opportunity outside the U.S. We are producing more content than ever, building on the U.S. pipeline. Internationally, we grew audience share in 2015. On the MTV side, we’ve continued to bring more big events to market all around the world. BET had its first BET Experience outside the U.S. It was in Johannesburg and was a big success. We continue to do more work on the format side, whether it’s our Shores franchise, our Ridiculousness franchise, or Are You the One? or Ex on the Beach. We have compelling versions of all of these all over the world. In fact, the launch of our first multi-country Shores franchise, Super Shore, for Spanish-speaking Latin America and Spain, was a huge multiplatform,
multi-territory success for us. The show was number one in its time slot among all pay-TV channels with our core demos in both Mexico and Spain. MTV Play (our branded TV Everywhere app) became the number one free app in the iOS store in Mexico just 24 hours after the show premiered, and in one week, Super Shore generated 3 million streams on the MTV Play app. And Lip Sync Battle is a global phenomenon. The U.S. version of the program can now be seen in 120 countries and territories worldwide, and the format is also under license in more than 30 territories. It most recently debuted in China, where 30 million people viewed the program online in its first weekend. Nickelodeon has an incredible pipeline, but for me, even more exciting is the fact that VIMN is producing more and more content internationally. We opened Viacom International Studios in Miami in January and we’ll start shooting our first production for global Nickelodeon
WS: Are you increasing your distribution and launching more channels? BAKISH: We are expanding our bouquet. Paramount Channel is now the largest adsupported movie channel in the world. It’s going to continue to grow; it launched in Italy at the end of February, and it is coming to Asia. Spike is expanding as well. Spike has been turbo-charged by Lip Sync Battle and we are also using that as a format all around the world and really getting great traction, including the recently launched U.K. version with Mel B that premiered to fantastic ratings on Channel 5, and will subsequently air on Comedy Central UK. The second piece is really all about distribution, and that goes to how the media landscape is evolving. I would start by saying that the traditional pay-TV business is alive and well and growing for us. We’ve recently struck significant deals with very large operators, including
VIMN continues to expand its portfolio of services across the globe, launching new channels and digital services across 170 markets. audiences from that studio later this year. We’re also developing and airing seven internationally originated shows for global Nickelodeon audiences. We are producing shows in London, including the first co-production with Channel 5, Nella Knightly, where we are benefiting from our ownership of Channel 5 and its children’s block, Milkshake!, and we are producing a show in the Netherlands, The Ludwigs, all for the global Nick pipeline. Comedy Central is really on a roll. We are doing stand-up all over the world, as stand-up gets higher ratings than scripted sitcoms, and also [offers] great differentiation. Comedy Central not only has off-net programming, it also has bespoke original programming that connects locally. We’re extending our format plan on Comedy Central with Drunk History, producing really hilarious versions. We have a U.K. version that is in its second season, and a Spanish-speaking Latin-American version that just premiered. Our scripted comedy I Live with Models is coming back for a second season, so there is a lot going on with Comedy Central.
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Sky, both in the U.K. and in Italy. Those are mutually beneficial deals that set the stage for great things in 2016 and beyond. Pay TV is on the verge of a quad-play revolution. We are starting to see operators sell mobile with their pay-TV and broadband subscriptions, and that’s going to be the next leg of that growth story. We launched Viacom Play Plex, which is a suite of branded mobile apps for TV Everywhere authentication, now in 40 markets. We have Nickelodeon Play distributed pretty well around the world. We’ve lit up MTV Play in many markets across Northern Europe and in Spanishspeaking Latin America, where we also recently launched Comedy Central Play as well. Obviously it’s not only about the traditional distribution base; we are seeing an expanded market through telco, both wired and wireless, or mobile and OTT, and that is enabling significantly greater reach. I was in Australia speaking at ASTRA a few months ago, and one of the things I said is, we have about 800 million unique pay-TV subscribers today, I think by 2020 that number will go to at least 2 billion. So
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Drunk History on Comedy Central UK.
this whole distribution revolution is really creating significant opportunity, from which companies like VIMN are going to benefit greatly. The third thing that is exciting, and arguably more exciting than it has been in the last two years, is ad sales. We have moved to a model where we are partnering with others in many markets, and that’s working very well. We announced a joint venture with Axel Springer in Germany on the ad-sales side. The market actually feels strong, which is a great thing. We have a London-based team that we call Viacom Velocity International, responsible for multi-territory ad-sales deals and commercial partnerships for our brands across all platforms. They are driving innovation by offering truly multiplatform advertising solutions for brands, including integrating advertising into third-party social platforms, which drives huge engagement, and we’re seeing very robust growth. So relative to a year or two ago, the ad market is looking pretty good, and I like our position in it. WS: Are any countries showing good potential for growth? BAKISH: The simple answer, which might be a bit counterintuitive, is that there is potential everywhere. India, which is a high-growth market, continues to be a great story for Viacom. We have a fifty-fifty joint venture there called Viacom18, which operates MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. It also operates the number two general-entertainment brand in the country, which is called Colors. It’s a major network brand, all Hindi-language original productions. Think of it as an ITV or Channel 5 in the U.K. We are also active in the regional space there. Think of India like Europe and there are distinct languages and countries within it. In Latin America, Mexico continues to be very strong. We actually had good growth in Brazil,
although the economy is a little shakier at the moment and there are some political issues. The thing that is probably more counterintuitive is that countries that are perceived as more mature are growing very nicely. We had our best year in our history in the U.K. last year. Italy, we’re doing great. Spain, we’re seeing great growth. That tells us that you can drive growth across a whole variety of different economic situations provided you have great content, you fine-tune your distribution strategy and you are focused on execution. To me, growth is not about the BRIC countries, it’s empowering the teams to find opportunities all around the world, which was certainly our story in 2015. WS: You mentioned Channel 5. How does it fit into the Viacom portfolio? BAKISH: Channel 5 has been a home run. One, it gets us access to more households and a larger potential audience in the U.K. because it
Lip Sync Battle on Channel 5.
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is not just one free-to-air service; it has two companion services in 5STAR and 5USA. We also believed that because of that there was an opportunity to increase the level of original programming we produced not only for the U.K. but also for our broader portfolio of networks. The most obvious example of that was for Nickelodeon through Milkshake!. That has turned out to be fantastic not only in terms of broadening access to select Nick properties through carriage on Milkshake! but also, by virtue of that, driving our consumer-products business and strengthening our relationship with key licensees and retailers in that market. Channel 5 hasn’t only helped Nickelodeon. We aired the MTV Europe Music Awards on Channel 5, helping that event drive its largest audience in that market. 10,000 BC, a collaboration between MTV and Channel 5, is returning for its second season. Lip Sync Battle is another show that is going to cross networks. Once we really studied it we found that Channel 5 was also a fantastic opportunity to accelerate the launch of our international Spike network. So from a brand and content perspective we thought Channel 5 would be good; it’s been even better. WS: I often hear that Millennials don’t watch linear television anymore. Are you seeing this? BAKISH: We do a lot of research and the data definitely doesn’t show that. Geordie Shore in the U.K. would not be the highest-rated show in MTV U.K. history if that were true. Is it true that they are consuming a lot of media on many platforms? Definitely. Are there some that may rely more on [tablets or online] than on linear television? Absolutely. But is that generation no longer consuming linear television? That is categorically not true.
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MARY ANN TURCKE Bell Media
Bell Media owns a portfolio of media assets in Canada, including the number one TV network, CTV; 34 specialty channels; four pay-TV services; the SVOD service CraveTV; the suite of GO video streaming services; radio; out-of-home advertising companies; and websites. When Mary Ann Turcke was appointed president of Bell Media last year, she restructured the company to make it more responsive to consumer needs and market changes, including the recent “pick and pay” ruling by the regulatory body Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which forces all television service providers to offer an affordable basic channel package and allow subscribers to choose which, if any, additional channels they want. WS: What was the strategy behind Bell Media’s restructuring last year? TURCKE: The media sector, in Canada and around the world, is facing rising content costs, regulatory change, and technological innovation that impacts traditional revenue streams. Our new structure reflects the reality of the industry and positions us for success, now and in the future, and allows us to focus our efforts and resources on content, programming and technological innovation. WS: What factors have been contributing to CTV’s ranking as the number one network in Canada for so many years? TURCKE: The power of our schedule in all day parts, but driven by prime time, is a result
of several key factors. We have a consistent track record of identifying and acquiring the next generation of hits from U.S. studio partners. Recent examples include Quantico, Blindspot, Lucifer and the X-Files reboot, as well as our high-performing returning programs such as Canada’s number one series, The Big Bang Theory, and top-rated series Gotham, The Flash, How to Get Away with Murder and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to name a few. We develop and commission the best slate of original Canadian programming, including ratings hits The Amazing Race Canada, Saving Hope and MasterChef Canada. We complement Canada’s number one national newscast, CTV National News, with local news, ensuring the CTV News brand is the number one go-to source for news throughout the entire day, as well as online. Our programs are promoted heavily with the “Bell Media megaphone,” a strategic and coordinated effort by our
In 2015, we saw video consumption on digital GO products grow 39 percent year-over-year on mobile devices (phone, tablet and OTT), with CTV GO increasing 28 percent in terms of average monthly video starts over 2014. WS: Tell us about the success of CraveTV. What has made it so popular? TURCKE: CraveTV is all about incredible content for TV lovers, on the device of their choosing. And now that we’ve launched directly to consumers, that content is available to all Canadians. Two of our most popular shows are Showtime’s big-buzz Billions and our first CraveTV original, LETTERKENNY—these are both zeitgeist-grabbing, crowd-pleasing titles that are drawing Canadians to the product. CraveTV’s offering is unbeatable in Canada, with HBO titles like The Sopranos, Entourage and Sex and the City; current Showtime hits such as the Golden Globe-winning The Affair,
Bell Media has kept pace with evolutions in the Canadian media landscape, extending beyond free TV with cable and OTT services. promotions, publicity and marketing teams. We put a premium on partnerships and the value of our brand. In short, we create a schedule where viewers want to be and where advertisers want to reach them. WS: How are you seeing viewing habits change? TURCKE: TV is still the dominant video platform. Canadians consumed 48.4 billion hours of TV last year; that’s on a par with five years ago and up 15 percent over the last ten years. The average Canadian adult spends about 28 hours per week watching TV, but just 3.8 hours per week with Facebook, 1.5 hours with YouTube and 36 minutes with Netflix. WS: How have Bell Media’s GO streaming services been received by viewers? TURCKE: We are very happy with the performance of and the response to our GO video streaming services and our TV Everywhere strategy overall. We have 12 GO services, [including] CTV GO, TMN GO, TSN GO, RDS GO, Super Écran GO, CTV News GO and CP24 GO.
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Penny Dreadful and Ray Donovan; franchise series and genre-defining brands like South Park, Seinfeld and The Flash; and exclusives such as Manhattan, Bosch and the upcoming Casual. In total, CraveTV features more than 11,000 assets, more than 300 series, and nearly 500 specials and documentaries, in addition to more than 20 curated collections, from every major Hollywood studio. And thanks to recent deals with HBO and Showtime, the content is going to keep coming. HBO’s The Newsroom, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire are all slated to stream on the service soon, and from Showtime we’re looking forward to a new season of Penny Dreadful as well as new series like Dice and Roadies. WS: How is Bell Media appealing to young consumers who may not want a cable subscription? TURCKE: First of all, despite all the noise, young consumers still watch traditional TV programming, with 96 percent of 12- to 24year-olds watching TV weekly and 82 percent
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daily. Millennials spend 19 hours per week watching TV; that’s 3.3 times more than they spend with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter combined, 7.6 times more than YouTube and 17 times more than Netflix. Bell Media delivers great content to viewers whenever and wherever they want it through our slate of TV Everywhere properties that are available direct-to-consumer and on many connected devices. In addition, we launched Much Digital Studios in 2015, a multichannel network of Canadian and international YouTube creators. This innovative and popular digital property is a new way for Bell Media to connect with Canadian youth. Much Digital Studios already has a roster of 36 creators, with 4 million subscribers, and their content is generating an average of 6 million views per week on YouTube. WS: The CRTC has asked cable operators to unbundle and allow customers to pay for the channels they want, after purchasing a basic package. What impact will this have on the specialty channel industry at large in Canada? TURCKE: A Globe and Mail study indicates 57 percent of subscribers will keep current packages and add more channels. The industry will move with the market. The market will move with the pricing and the value of television ser vices. The more aggressive the pricing, the more pressure on revenue across the system. We’ve prepared by investing in our brands, and in the end good content will prevail. Furthermore, the CRTC lift on genre protection [the CRTC had allowed niche channels to keep their genre exclusive—for example, no channel could compete with the Food Network—in exchange for higher Canadian content requirements] gives us more flexibility and will allow us to leverage what we do best, which is offering the best content to Canadian consumers.
The Amazing Race Canada on CTV.
WS: What impact will pick-and-pay have on Bell Media’s specialty channel business? TURCKE: In Canada, specialty viewing has increased by 58 percent since 2004-2005, and I am sure that strong brands will have success in the pick-and-pay environment. We have prepared by investing in ours and building on our recent wins, such as Discovery reclaiming its position as the number one entertainment specialty channel among
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audiences 25 to 54 in full day viewing for the first time since 2009; Space enjoying tremendous success with hit original productions Orphan Black, Killjoys and Bitten; and TSN’s overall ratings triumphs in 2015. Specialty TV audiences are loyal and passionate, so by constantly improving our brands and content offering, our very diverse and complementary specialty portfolio can only grow stronger. In fact, according to a study commissioned by Bell Media in 2014, Discovery, Space, Comedy, Bravo and TSN all rank within the top 20 channels respondents would be interested in subscribing to in a pick-and-pay environment. And, as I’ve said, the CRTC’s lift on genre exclusivity will bolster specialty channels by allowing more flexibility in terms of programming. WS: What are the forecasts for the advertising market in Canada this year? TURCKE: We expect the advertising landscape to continue to evolve, but maybe not as much or in the same way as some people would think. While there is no denying that advertising expenditure is more fragmented, TV remains the best vehicle to create or increase brand notoriety. Canadians are more receptive and pay more attention to television advertising than that on other platforms. TV does more than respond to consumer habits, it creates them. Whatever your favorite brand, chances are you’ve first heard about it on TV. In fact, TV is the source of 44 percent of media-driven Facebook interactions for brands. At Bell Media, we will leverage our world-class content and broad portfolio of brands on all platforms, including digital, and continue to invest in research and market insight to help advertisers and agencies make their brands shine. WS: What are the most important issues facing Bell Media in the next 12 to 24 months? How will you position Bell Media to remain nimble and responsive to change, and yet continue to invest in programming and brands? TURCKE: In addition to protecting specialty revenue by increasing investment in channels, we need to drive the value of TV to advertisers with great content but also with reliable insight and data such as innovative automotive ROI research we conducted in 2015, as well as growing digital revenue. We will also focus on acquiring the best content, as illustrated by long-term multiplatform deals we signed with HBO and Showtime in 2015 that allow us to feed our channels with exclusive premium content for years to come. Content creation is also one of our priorities, and we will continue to leverage our leadership in the development of Canadian original content such as The Amazing Race Canada, Orphan Black and Canada’s Worst Driver.
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NBCUniversal International & Telemundo Hispanic audiences in the U.S. We have also continued to diversify our portfolio by bringing new reality programming such as La Voz Kids and Gran Hermano, coupled with the launch of our first variety show for Saturday nights, ¡Qué Noche!. All these shows have been developed, produced and marketed with the new consumer in mind, coupled with innovative digital and marketing initiatives that speak to and resonate with the younger Hispanics.
With a population of more than 55 million, which is expected to double by 2050, and purchasing power of more than $1.5 trillion, the U.S. Hispanic market is courted by advertisers and, in this presidential election year, politicians as well. Telemundo, a division of NBCUniversal, is delivering these audiences. Increasing the influence and reach of the network and its digital extensions is a primary goal for Cesar Conde, the chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. WS: How has the Hispanic media landscape in the U.S. shifted, and what is Telemundo Enterprises’s role in it? CONDE: We’re going through a transformational time in our industry’s history. With so many new formats and platforms, the way that consumers are watching and interacting with content is constantly evolving. There is what I like to call a “tectonic change” in Spanish-language media, as Hispanics prefer Telemundo more and more. In our view, Telemundo has played an important role as the most innovative media company in Spanish-language television today. As a response to changing viewing habits and more demanding viewers, we have consistently raised the bar in production quality and have helped evolve scripted drama by successfully introducing new genres such as the “super series” El Señor de los Cielos and Señora Acero and the bio musical Celia to
WS: How has Telemundo been using digital platforms to reach the diverse Hispanic community and its young demographic? CONDE: NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises has seen great performance this year across all its digital platforms. Telemundo.com had the best year in site history in 2015, averaging 6.4 million monthly unique users, a 147percent increase year-over-year. Telemundo became the first-ever Spanish-language
to focus on innovation and the Millennial market by launching our first-ever Apple Watch news app. This app is the companion to the news app that launched November 8, 2015, for iPhone, and represents our first foray into wearable technology. We also have Double Acción, the first-ever concurrent scripted experience, which plays out storytelling on two screens via a mobile device while the TV show is airing, and R.A.V.E. (real-time augmented virtual experiences), which complements the viewing experience with multiple camera angles and incremental stories by combining a simple attachment to a smartphone. WS: In what ways are NBCU and Telemundo working together? CONDE: Telemundo has been working more and more with other properties across NBCUniversal. From a content perspective,
With innovative programming concepts and an emphasis on digital, Telemundo has expanded its market share of the lucrative U.S. Hispanic demo. television network to surpass the 1-millionsubscriber mark on YouTube and receive YouTube’s Gold Play Button award. In addition, Telemundo’s main social accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram grew 60 percent year-over-year in fans, adding 4 million to its social footprint for a total of 10.6 million global fans, the largest social footprint of the U.S. Spanish-language broadcast networks. A great example of how we reach the diverse Hispanic community and its young demographic was the innovative marketing campaign for El Señor de los Cielos, which included a digital special featuring 15 additional, digitally exclusive episodes, a collectible comic book, a dedicated Facebook application and 19 hours of surveillancefeed footage available hours prior to the premiere for fans to monitor the protagonist of the series, Aurelio Casillas, behind bars. In addition to the already existing apps, such as Telemundo Novelas, Telemundo Now and NBC Deportes, we have continued
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Telemundo has launched multiple crosscompany initiatives, including the reality competition shows La Voz Kids and Top Chef Estrellas, the weekly news segment Access Hollywood Al Rojo Vivo, and offered multiple simulcasts between NBC’s Today show and Telemundo’s morning show Un Nuevo Día. In addition, USA Network is [airing] Queen of the South, based on Telemundo’s novela La Reina del Sur, and NBC News is producing Viva Today (a series celebrating the richness and diversity of Hispanic culture on the TODAY show), in addition to working closely with Telemundo Noticias in covering the upcoming presidential elections. On the talent front, Telemundo’s news anchor José Díaz-Balart is expanding his role on NBC News to now include the weekly NBC Nightly News and a guest role on Meet the Press, in addition to his anchor duties on MSNBC and Telemundo. And we will closely partner once again with NBC Sports to bring the most extensive Olympic Games coverage from Rio to the Hispanic community.
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RICH ROSS Discovery Channel
ROSS: It’s both the brand and the destination. When I started at Discovery I said to my boss, I think there is a lot of programming out there that could be on Discovery, and my goal is to make programming that is only on Discovery. It’s something that I saw when I was at Disney Channel—yes, there was a lot of programming like it, but we wanted people to say, Disney Channel is where you find it. For 30 years, Discovery has been copycatted by a lot of people. The aspiration that we have for our programming, whether it’s Gold Rush or Racing Extinction, or Harley and the Davidsons, is that I want people to not only say, Of course Discovery would do it, but, I can find this only on Discovery. That’s still an aspiration to have, it’s one that we’re acting upon, and I think it’s paying off.
In October of 2014, when Rich Ross was appointed as its president, Discovery Channel was already known for some of the most popular factual franchises on television, from Deadliest Catch to the ever-popular Shark Week. Ross built on those successes by adding high-end documentaries and shows about crime, science and animals. As a result, in 2015, ratings increased for the channel.
WS: I remember speaking to David Zaslav (the president and CEO of Discovery Com-
individual programs. Am I the only one who feels that way? ROSS: Oh, no, we wouldn’t have had record ratings in 2015 if people didn’t respect how [a linear channel] works. And our Live+3 numbers are even bigger, but that often stems from the curated experience in the first place. People are just so busy that watching a show on the night that it airs may be challenging. But we’re seeing across the board that our biggest shows have the biggest catch-up, so people are responding. There are very few networks or shows that don’t follow that pattern: the bigger the show, the bigger the catch-up; the smaller the show, the less the catch-up. People are not voting that they don’t want to watch a show, they are voting that they don’t have time to watch it yet, but they will later that night or on another night, mostly on a night when the shows are less compelling. Curation
With a shift in its content strategy and the launch of new programming stunts, Discovery reached record ratings in 2015.
WS: As people have so many viewing options, how can a linear channel remain relevant and continue to attract viewers? ROSS: Television can still be very much a community experience and a watercooler-fed obsession. We’re seeing, with our ratings at the highest we have ever had them, that if you create programming that people want to watch and don’t want to miss and then want to talk about, that’s where social is activating in your favor. Whether a show is watched live or within a couple of days, people want to be relevant. Unless that changes, I can’t imagine that television scheduled in the way we do it won’t be a compelling opportunity. We proved with the highest-rated Shark Week of all time that people want to talk about Shark Week the next day, or they want to talk about Killing Fields the next day, or Gold Rush the next day.
munications) years ago, and at the time the strategy was to only have clips of shows available online or on other platforms besides linear. What do you offer now and how has the thinking changed? ROSS: Last fall we launched Discovery GO, which is an omnibus app where you can get all the Discovery family of networks and shows. We have much greater visibility of our product, but it’s also highly curated. David feels very strongly not only about being paid for the value of our programming, but also about curating what we have. We’re not a name in a phone book; we’re a brand that matters. So we are now much more available, which helps us, over time, get data on what people watch. We’re not looking backwards, we just want to be paid for our value and be available as conveniently as possible in light of that.
WS: How much more important is a strong brand in today’s multiplatform landscape than it was ten years ago?
WS: At times, when I watch TV, I don’t mind having a channel curate a selection for me, instead of having to search for
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is vitally important and so is brand authority. I want people to watch Discovery and say, This is the type of show that I know what Discovery will do with [it]. They have to believe in our brand, and that is more important than ever. WS: What is your vision for Discovery Channel? ROSS: What was very important to me was that while Discovery appeals to men, it should also be inclusive of the family, and by family I don’t mean family with little kids, but more today’s modern family, which is an adult family. So it was important that shows have strong female characters and strong diverse characters. That’s why in 2015, yes, our ratings were up among men, but we were substantially up among women and Hispanic and AfricanAmerican audiences. It’s important as we move forward that diversity inclusion be part of our message. For more from Rich Ross, see page 384.
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GARY DAVEY Sky
Sky is one of the world’s leading pay-TV companies. It started with a service in the U.K. 27 years ago, then expanded into Italy, followed by Germany. Gary Davey, Sky’s managing director of content, has held senior management positions in all three countries. While providing quality customer service and content has been essential to Sky’s success, so have innovation and offering subscribers the best viewing options. WS: Tell us about Sky’s newest set-top box, Sky Q. DAVEY: It’s an extraordinary piece of [technology]. It’s fantastic because the guys who designed it really thought about reinventing television from a customer’s point of view, which is a really hard thing to do. Sky Q is so elegant and smooth and it looks so easy— that will give you some idea of how complex it is behind the scenes. It’s like there is an inverse relationship between ease of use and complexity of delivery. But it’s a brilliant proposition and it’s a hybrid between live and on-demand, but really easy to use and designed around the current behavior patterns of the average modern-day family. It empowers multiple locations around the house and multiple devices around the house. It supercharges Wi-Fi throughout the house and allows you to take TV with you outside the house. It’s a complete rethink and the way it’s presented is beautiful, very smooth; we call it fluid viewing.
WS: Do different viewing experiences call for different types of content? DAVEY: Good question! When I first saw Sky Q it immediately became apparent to me that this reinvention of the way television is presented really [raises] the question: Should we now start thinking about what content belongs [on different platforms]? One of the things we are doing on Sky Q is we are curating short-form video from the internet. We’ve now got deals with 20 different content brands of short-form video and we’re presenting it in a really simple, elegant way, so that you can cherry-pick the best of short-form video from the internet on your big-screen TV and on your iPad and anywhere in the house, alongside the world’s biggest collection of music videos through Vimeo, alongside multiple apps that you can access on the TV set through your remote control. You can connect your whole Facebook
be relevant to a younger target group whose lifestyle is changing. I don’t think it’s about technology; it’s about lifestyle. And linear TV is still very healthy, by the way. Look, we are going through a transition from pure linear to a hybrid of linear and on-demand, but it’s happening a lot slower than people think. Second, as we adapt as an industry, among the many things we all do, when we’re launching a TV program, whether it’s a oneoff or a series episode, we’ll start thinking about it like a live event. We’ll start planning and thinking about it like a Champions League semifinal match so that there is a compulsion to be part of it like a live event. And God’s given us social media to make this happen! We’ve got the watercooler in real time, it’s called Twitter and Facebook and YouTube. We’ve got a bet going here at Sky. In April, when we launch season six of Game of Thrones, we will first make the
Sky has increased value for pay-TV consumers by investing in cutting-edge originals and exclusive imports for its branded channels. photo collection onto your TV network. You can interconnect your whole iTunes music library through your TV network. Sky Q is tearing down all the walls in your world. It’s pretty exciting stuff, and I’m thinking, OK, here is this whole new blank canvas, so maybe it’s time to really start rethinking the nature of content. It’s a really exciting time to be in the business, I have to say! WS: What do linear channels have to do to remain relevant in this world of quickly changing viewing habits? DAVEY: I think about this a lot, as you can imagine. I’ve been around a while; I’ve lived through 12 cycles of the prediction of the end of television as we know it! And yet, TV has been very, very clever at reinventing itself. Every time there is some new technology or some new competitive entrant in the market [the reaction] goes two ways. First, This is the end of television, and then someone says, Hang on, maybe not. So in answer to your question, first, we need to
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episode available at 2 a.m. The 9 p.m. linear telecast will still be there like in the good old days, but we have a bet as to how many of our customers will watch the episode before 9 p.m. It will be a huge number, but I guarantee you the 9 p.m. number will be equally huge. I did an experiment in Germany last year. We had a Game of Thrones pop-up channel where for three weeks, 24 hours a day, we just played Game of Thrones. Every one of those episodes had been available on demand, but that pop-up channel went through the roof, and 93 percent of the consumption of Game of Thrones through that three-week period was linear, because we made it special. We made it an event and people who love that content had to be part of the live experience so that they could engage in a conversation around it. I just think linear will start thinking about itself as live TV. For more from Gary Davey, see page 152.
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ALBERTO PECEGUEIRO Globosat
now the challenges of the industry are forcing cable and satellite operators to think about new ideas. By comparison, the specific aspects of the Brazilian economy always made it much more difficult to make this business grow. We were more open to the idea of offering tiers or skinny bundles. If you compare us with our neighbors in Latin America, I think it was because of us that the top tiers were developed. The à la carte offering in Brazil is way more diversified than what you find in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia or Venezuela because we launched packages in 1998 starting with soccer, then we moved into movies, boxing matches, adult content and now the interactive offers as well.
When Globosat launched in Brazil, in 1991, it had to market its channels to a country with a high level of income disparity. At first, the pay-TV company strategically targeted affluent consumers. In later years, as the Brazilian economy grew and allowed for the development of a middle class, Globosat differentiated its offering with trimmeddown packages at a lower price to appeal to less prosperous consumers. Globosat’s CEO, Alberto Pecegueiro, adds that providing subscribers with choice and continued innovation has been key to the company’s success. WS: Globosat has worked with cable and satellite operators to create packages that would enable people outside the socioeconomic A and B classes to afford pay TV. PECEGUEIRO: Since very early we realized that we should have different products for different targets. So together with the operators we were able to develop that strategy. I follow with some [amusement] the debate in the U.S. nowadays about the notion of skinny bundles. It’s something we started in Brazil in the 1990s. It’s interesting that the most developed market in the world is only getting to that point now. WS: Perhaps because the most developed market is the greediest market! PECEGUEIRO: I’m not sure. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”! Pay TV has experienced a great track record in the U.S., and
WS: The Brazilian economy has slowed down compared to what it was a few years ago. Is this affecting the pay-TV business?
been flat], we are still experiencing very solid growth in the aggregated share of the cable channels. And advertisers have recognized this. WS: The Summer Olympics are coming up in Rio de Janeiro. What type of coverage will your channels be offering? PECEGUEIRO: Brazilians are always keen to say we have the best and the biggest of everything! But I saw what the BBC did with the London Olympics in 2012 and I think we are going to do something, to say the least, that is on a par with what the BBC did. On cable and DTH we will make available 16 24/7 HD channels. SporTV, which currently has three channels, will add another 13 channels. Most of the operators have already agreed to give us the extra carriage to accommodate those 13 channels. On top of that, our TV Every-
Globosat, the leading channel operator in Brazil’s still emerging pay-TV sector, is planning extensive coverage of this year’s Olympic Games online and on TV. PECEGUEIRO: Yes, it is impacting everyone in the country, but there is one big surprise. Pay TV will be the only medium that grew its advertising market share in 2014-2015. Of all the other media—I’m not referring to Google or Facebook because they don’t disclose their numbers—so magazines, newspapers, broadcast, radio or outdoor, the only one to experience growth was pay TV, which was a great accomplishment. WS: Was that due to the strength of the programming offering? PECEGUEIRO: I think it’s a combination of the programming, the cumulative growth of the subscriber base we have had in the last few years, and the gain in pay TV’s share of viewing. Once subscribers get pay TV at home, it takes them some time to change their habits from watching solely broadcast networks, get used to the offering of the other channels and identify the kind of content they really like and then return to it. So despite the fact that the subscriber numbers [have
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where product will have another 24 channels. So through the internet, our subscribers will have the option of selecting from 40 channels what they want to watch and when to watch. According to our calculations, we will broadcast live 96 percent of everything that will happen during the Olympic Games in Brazil—even those very, very niche sports. WS: You mentioned TV Everywhere. How is Globosat offering programming and content on different screens and devices, and how much demand is there for that among your subscribers? PECEGUEIRO: The demand is huge. Since 2012, we have been actively deploying more and more of our content for ondemand consumption by our subscribers. That happens through many different options, either through the operators’ interactive menus or through the online versions of our channels, including ondemand and streaming.
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Mundo Medina on Canal Off. I was somewhat surprised when I attended NCTA in 2013 in the U.S. At the time I heard most of the cable operators complaining that they wanted to give their subscribers various viewing options, but they were facing tremendous resistance from the channel groups over issues of copyright. The way they acquired rights didn’t complement the online offer, or the programmers were concerned that on-demand and streaming would take audiences away from their linear channels. In Brazil, the situation was the opposite. We were already offering a bunch of content in many different ways, and it was the operators who weren’t ready at the time. Either they weren’t ready to authenticate our streams, or they didn’t have interactive options for their subscribers. It was an interesting conflict, but eventually it was resolved and we have a very aggressive offer now. All of our channels are available for streaming in the authenticated mode by subscribers through most of the operators. We have our Globosat Play product available through the internet for mobile and PC consumption. And we are now discussing airing some of our current product first on the internet and then on
our linear channels. We have been very aggressive and will continue to be so, as much as we can.
product they binge-watch it. It’s not something that we see as a threat to the pay-TV business at this moment.
WS: What impact is Netflix having on the pay-TV market? Certainly in Europe Netflix is considered the big bad wolf! Is the feeling the same in Brazil? PECEGUEIRO: We haven’t felt its impact yet. As in most countries, Netflix in Brazil is experiencing a good rate of growth, but so far it hasn’t appeared to be a substitute for pay TV. It is rather a complementary product. We like to say that if you want to consume TV you can have a $6-a-month product, which is the price of Netflix in Brazil, or you can spend $15 a month, which is the price of the basic package, or $30 a month, which is the price of the expanded basic package. There are different price points for product and at the level of pricing that Netflix operates in Brazil, it hasn’t hurt pay TV. We are seeing that people subscribe to it, consume a lot of content in the first month, and while children watch the same content over and over, the adults set it aside. They don’t care about canceling because it’s so cheap and it’s automatically charged on their credit cards. They watch here and there and when there is new original
WS: In what areas do you see future growth for Globosat in the next year or two? PECEGUEIRO: We have a number of projects in development. We have new channels being developed because operators no longer have a shortage of capacity. There are new satellites being launched for Brazil. Cable operators are extending their capacity so there are a couple of ideas for new channels that we are entertaining. We are the first company to have a 4K production truck in Brazil, so we are going to be increasing the production of 4K content. As soon as the operators tell us they are ready to launch a 4K channel, we are going to have one ready for them. We are going to be aggressive with our ondemand offering, including with product that will be offered first on an on-demand basis. We are also in a very advanced stage to launch programmatic ads technology for the cable environment. We are also operating on the international front. We are very happy with the joint venture we have with Caracol to launch a Hispanic channel in the U.S.
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UDAY SHANKAR STAR India
Last year, the brokerage firm Morgan Stanley valued STAR India, 21st Century Fox’s Indian business, at $11.2 billion—well ahead of any of its domestic competitors. Led by Uday Shankar as CEO, STAR India operates 40-plus channels—delivering dramas, unscripted entertainment, Bollywood and Hollywood fare, sports and more—plus a well-trafficked adsupported online portal, hotstar. Between its domestic footprint and its international business, STAR claims a total reach of 650 million viewers a month. Shankar talks about the “creative disruption” that is keeping STAR at the front of the pack in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic media markets. WS: In India’s crowded and competitive channels business, how has STAR kept its lead over the years? SHANKAR: As you said, it is a very crowded space. It is still experiencing a fair degree of volatility; the marketplace is not really settled. The consistent thread that has run through our entire journey is an attempt to disrupt and reinvent each part of the television ecosystem for the viewer as well as for the advertisers and distributors. What helped us first create the leadership and then consistently build and strengthen it was being ahead of the curve on disruptions in every sense, in every aspect of the business. Well before anybody else, STAR understood the value of creative disruption and innovation. We’ve been very clear that you need to innovate on a daily basis and every now and then, every few
years, you have to do big, visible disruptions in the creative space. Look at the last 15 years or so—the first time STAR became the leader in this [Indian general-entertainment space], the conventional wisdom was that the value [for pay TV] was in English-language broadcasting, because premium audiences were all watching in English. STAR decided to go totally in Hindi and launch STAR Plus. When most people were doing once-a-week shows, STAR decided to do shows four and then five days a week. When everybody thought you should invest as little as you could to create content, STAR decided to turn that wisdom on its head and say, no, you need to improve the viewers’ experience and invest a great deal more in the quality of the visual experience and the quality of the storytelling. That process has not stopped. Since the ’90s, if there is one business that has actually been the flag-bearer of the liberal economic growth in this country, it has been STAR.
SHANKAR: Amid the general gloom-anddoom scenario the world over, where people are either worried about an economic slowdown or the incursions from digital platforms, India continues to be the one market where television is growing at a healthy clip. We’re talking about a compound annual growth rate north of 15 percent year-onyear. If everybody was focused on expanding the advertising universe by going to emerging advertisers and giving them the experience of TV, and if the economy picks up, then that 15 percent number could get even better. The big national brands have been actively supported by television. [Indian consumer brands] like Nirma and Ghari and Amul were created on TV. They were great companies with great products, but the brands were built on television. The next phase of that is due [with companies new to TV advertising].
STAR has targeted all segments of the Indian viewing audience, delivering content in eight languages across every genre, including drama, news and sports. We created the first consistent, widely distributed, deeply entrenched platform for reaching out to the emerging Indian middle class. And we have continued to build on that year-on-year. The first few years we dove very deeply into the Hindi-language market. Then we decided that the economic-growth agenda was moving way beyond [Hindi-speaking states] and we began the regional initiative in Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra. We were the first group to legitimately claim to have created a pan-Indian business in the truest sense of the term. In each market, the same creative-disruption agenda has been played out. Similarly, we’ve been making sure that the bestin-class advertisers are introduced to every market and they gain value building reach and distribution. And in the same way we introduced a quality satellite-television experience, we introduced a high-quality visual and sound experience through HD and Dolby in this country. WS: How has the Indian ad market been over the last year?
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WS: Looking ahead, what are the biggest challenges for the Indian channels space? And where do you see potential for growth? SHANKAR: When you’ve grown like this for the last 15, 20 years, the challenge is, how do you continue to compete with yourself? We have always set our own agenda, competed with ourselves and excelled against ourselves. So how do we continue to do that? Second, digital is bringing in a very different set of consumers—younger consumers, who are far more interested in range and diversity and quality. Global players like Netflix are coming to India. How do we up the game and continue the creative disruption that we’ve done all this time? The third thing is, we have many irons in the fire, whether it’s building [sports coverage of] kabaddi or football or [the OTT platform] hotstar and taking them to the next level. The next year or two will be a period of solid consolidation. We’ll strengthen our initiatives, maximize the value from them and make sure that we build on the market share that we’ve created. For more from Uday Shankar, see page 408.
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RENÉ RECHTMAN Maker Studios
There has been much hand-wringing about the relationship between Millennials and the TV screen. One company that has seemingly figured out the conundrum of what Millennials want to watch is Maker Studios, which boasts the largest content network on YouTube, attracting more than 10 billion views every month. As René Rechtman, the head of international, explains, the company is looking at new partnerships across the globe, from launching on CANALPLAY in France to rolling out a service with the telco Globe in the Philippines. WS: Tell us about your international strategy. RECHTMAN: We are investing in local talent and content and then expanding with people on the ground. And then we’re monetizing across different platforms—not only on YouTube. We’re constantly looking at different ways of monetizing. We’re successful because we’re so local. What I’m focused on currently is our expansion into China, Japan and India. We have the viewership in those markets already, but we need to get in [on the ground]. WS: What do you look for in new talent? RECHTMAN: There’s no art or science to that—it’s a combination. Because we have so much data, and we have viewership all over the world, we can see who are [the most popular] content creators. If they’re not on our platform when we enter a market, we start conversations with them. Secondly, we have discovered everywhere we go that the big creators are coming
to us as well. As soon as we’re on the ground, they know that we take that market seriously, so they engage with us. That’s the less scientific way of conquering the local markets. Then it’s looking at what verticals we want to be in. Typically there are four big verticals for us: gaming, lifestyle, kids and family, and entertainment. We look at how we’re indexing compared to the market size. If we’re underindexing we want to get creators in that category. If we’re over-indexing we focus on other categories.
with more contemporary glasses, but we’re not there yet. There are not enough producers, directors and writers who understand that if you have a limited amount of time, you cannot build a story from the bottom. You start from the peak and you never leave the peak and never go in a valley. The second you go in a valley, people disappear. When I look at younger kids, who are 4 or 5, if there is a valley in what they’re looking at, they’re off. It doesn’t matter if it’s their favorite category of content. If it slows down, they’re gone.
WS: Gaming is such an interesting space. Who knew that people wanted to watch other people play video games! RECHTMAN: It’s an opportunity for a younger generation to express themselves in a way that their parents maybe don’t get. The game is just a means of having fun. It’s just like comedy very often. The game is just a scene. Let’s play
WS: Based on your analytics, what kind of window do you have when a piece of content begins playing to capture the attention of your audience? Is it one minute, two minutes? RECHTMAN: Way, way less! We’re talking about the first few seconds. Thirty seconds and you’re already gone. [Consider] what we look at on Facebook. If [you’re not interested in a post]
Maker Studios’s digital channels—populated by 55,000 independent creators—have attracted more than 650 million subscribers worldwide. it, but everything else that happens around [the playing] is really the content. I have a friend in fashion content. He looked at the category and then called me back a week later and said, “Now I get it—it’s the art of geniuses!” So if you’re a traditional content creator and you really try to understand it, you will. The DNA of our company is very much that the talent we work with are the innovators, are constantly on the forefront of what’s next when it comes to content formats. WS: Do traditional programmers still not fully understand that you can’t take long form and chop it up and then call it short form? RECHTMAN: A year ago it was all about that. And you still see it, people with archives or libraries that they try to put out there. That approach very seldom works. Peppa Pig fits that short-form expression so well—it’s a format that works on all screens. People playing with Hello Kitty, that’s very much a category that only fits on the small screen. So I do think that people are looking at [short form] now
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right away, you just scroll down! On YouTube you have a little bit more time. Snapchat I haven’t figured out yet, in terms of what the attention span is. WS: What are your priorities for Maker’s international business in the next year? RECHTMAN: Local talent for sure, and investing in local content, mostly [shows that] can travel. We’re doing a scripted show out of Singapore and I believe that format will work well and we can send it all over the world. We’re going to expand into more countries. Then we’re going to experiment across different platforms. Right now we see [our audiences] spend 70 percent of their [online viewing] time on YouTube, so that platform is a very big priority for us. But then there’s the 30 percent spent on other platforms, so we will be there too. Then there is Mum and Dad paying for Netflix. We need to be on these kinds of platforms. Then pay TV as well, because Mum and Dad are paying for that as well. Wherever the audience is, we’ll be there.
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he RTL Group is one of Europe’s leading media companies, with activities in three main business areas: broadcast, content and digital. The first is comprised of ownership stakes in 57 TV channels—including RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, RTL 4 in the Netherlands and Antena 3 in Spain—and 31 radio stations across Europe, along with a joint venture that manages channels in Southeast Asia with CBS Studios International. The content division is made up of FremantleMedia, one of the world’s largest independent producers and distributors of programming. Its slate includes megabrands like Got Talent and The X Factor, the dramas Deutschland 83 and Wentworth, kids’ shows like Danger Mouse and lifestyle series featuring Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. The Digital Hub manages a varied group of companies that specialize in multiplatform networks and shortform video. The group originally built its success around its familyof-channels strategy. In each country where it operates, it has anchored its broadcast offerings with one leading general-entertainment channel and surrounded it with numerous additional channels targeting specific genres or audiences. This formula started in Germany and then was replicated successfully in the other RTL countries:
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Hungary and Croatia. Since 2012, Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch have been co-CEOs of the RTL Group. Schäferkordt began her career at Bertelsmann, today the group’s parent company, and has been with RTL since 1991. In addition to being co-CEO of the group, she is CEO of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, which encompasses all the German businesses and is the engine that drives most of the group’s revenues. Before joining the RTL Group in 2012, de Posch held positions at several leading European media companies, including CLT, the pay-TV company TPS and ProSiebenSat.1 Media. Along with his role as co-CEO, he is responsible for the group’s operations outside Germany and for FremantleMedia. Both Schäferkordt and de Posch have been carefully following changes in viewing habits and consumers’ consumption of content. As they expand the group’s bouquet of linear channels with services that cater to special viewing groups and interests, they have also been building the Digital Hub and making sure FremantleMedia expands its portfolio of programming. At the same time, they have been paying attention to advertisers’ evolving needs on both linear and nonlinear platforms. Together they talk to World Screen about opportunities in Germany and beyond in all three of the group’s core business areas.
GUILLAUME DE POSCH & ANKE SCHÄFERKORDT RTL GROUP
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WS: Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland has been one of the drivers of the group’s revenues. What has been contributing to its growth? SCHÄFERKORDT: Well, the German advertising market remained the healthiest in our portfolio, with the German net TV advertising market up by between 2 and 3 percent in 2015. At Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, we outperformed the overall TV advertising market and also generated higher revenue from diversification such as online couponing and platform revenue. As a result, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland grew both revenue and operating profit significantly in 2015, reaching record levels. WS: How is the family-of-channels strategy continuing to deliver positive results in Germany and other territories? SCHÄFERKORDT: Fragmentation continues to change our industry, and the pace of this change is increasing. Countless new niche channels are emerging, for ever-smaller target groups, and we have a clear strategy for this—we were the first to develop the family-of-channels
concept for Europe, and we continue to lead the market. We’ve launched more TV channels in the past four years than ever before. In Germany, RTL NITRO, which we launched in 2012, continued to increase its audience share throughout 2015, and we’re confident we can grow the channel even further. DE POSCH: It’s a similar picture in France, where Groupe M6 launched 6ter, its third free-to-air channel, at the end of 2012. With strong audience growth, 6ter has helped increase Groupe M6’s combined audience share in 2015. Another example is RTL Z, RTL Nederland’s fifth free-to-air channel, which launched recently. RTL Z was previously a program block on the men’s channel RTL 7. Now it [has been] spun off into a new standalone channel, with a target group that TV in the country hadn’t really targeted before—business people, the go-getters. Business, politics and breaking news all feature heavily, but we also include technology, innovation, lifestyle and personal finance. The overall aim is to highlight interesting ideas and business opportunities. RTL Z, and
also GEO Television—a high-quality pay-TV documentary channel in Germany—show the RTL Group’s commitment to independent news and information programs.
manages our portfolio of digital acquisitions and supports their further international expansion. It also develops external partnerships and synergies within RTL Group.
WS: What has been the strategy behind RTL’s Digital Hub? SCHÄFERKORDT: We started laying the foundations of this hub almost three years ago with the acquisition of BroadbandTV. By also acquiring SpotX and StyleHaul, and investing in clypd, YoBoHo and VideoAmp, we’ve added significantly to our digital presence. As for our digital assets, according to comScore metrics, the RTL Group is now number one on YouTube worldwide, with very strong positions in the U.S., Europe and Germany. We currently generate around 11 billion video views a month, including mobile. This makes us the strongest and most international online video operator of all the broadcast groups based in the U.S. or Europe. Creating the RTL Digital Hub underlines our strategic goal to further increase our presence in North America. The RTL Digital Hub team
WS: What percentage of the group’s revenues come from digital? Where do you see that percentage in two years? SCHÄFERKORDT: Digital revenue now represents 8.4 percent of RTL Group’s total revenue—almost double what it was just a year ago. This reflects the early investments we made in online video. Organically, the growth rates for our multichannel network businesses BroadbandTV and StyleHaul, and for our monetization platform SpotX, are 50 percent or more. And they will continue to grow at significant double-digit rates.
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WS: Tell us about the evolution from M6 replay to 6play. DE POSCH: The evolution of this service is a perfect example of how technological advances shape our business. As the name M6 replay suggested at launch, Groupe M6 started it as a catch-up TV service, and they were clearly a leading innovator in France. Then, our team in Paris discovered that more and more people were using the service without knowing in advance what they were going to watch. So [our team] took the opportunity to get closer to viewers, and they turned 6play into a platform that people can customize to their own tastes. 6play’s system uses an algorithm that gathers data to suggest recommendations in line with each user’s tastes and preferences. WS: What other examples are there across the group’s territories of offering content in new ways beyond the television screen? DE POSCH: There are plenty, such as the successful comedy Golden Moustache, from M6 in France. At the end of November 2015, Golden Moustache even made a 75-minute “feature film,” Les Dissociés, available to the public for free. So far, the movie has had 2.8 million views on YouTube and has featured on our free-to-air TV channel W9 as a test case. Another example is the content
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Club der roten Bänder is one of the original series airing on VOX, a member of the German family of channels that also includes RTL, RTL II, n-tv, RTL NITRO and several others. produced by FremantleMedia for Munchies, an online platform about food aimed at a young audience, run jointly with VICE. Fremantle Media also produces Buzzr, featuring YouTubers competing in popular game shows. Also, the children’s program HooplaKidz Plus, a brand of BroadbandTV, was named a launch partner of Amazon’s [Streaming Partners Program]. StyleHaul announced it will be a launch partner for Verizon’s go90 and offers original content exclusively on the platform. WS: In which territories outside Germany are you seeing the most opportunities for growth? DE POSCH: As Anke has already highlighted, our digital assets in North America will continue growing at double-digit rates. For acquisitions, we have two main investment goals. The first is to further expand and develop in the digital domain, where we are focusing on producing, aggregating and monetizing the best content. The second is content production, because we’re certain that producing our own content and owning the rights to it will be key to growth. Our strong cash flows allow us to combine attractive dividend payments with significant investments. Our main priority has always been to develop the group, making the
right investments and achieving profitable growth. WS: On the other hand, how have you been managing business in countries with difficult economies, like Spain, France and Hungary? DE POSCH: Let’s look at the various TV advertising markets, as they reveal quite a lot. The Benelux countries were relatively stable and solid. After a long lean period, Spain has recovered encouragingly since the end of 2013. And in Hungary, the market grew again in 2015. Also, the advertising tax, which was clearly directed against us, has been modified to a level where we can say: nobody loves to pay additional taxes, but we can continue to operate in Hungary. France was in a very difficult position, economically and politically, in 2014 and 2015. And most countries lack one thing above all: growth. In brief, these are the framework conditions for our European broadcasting business, which is stable overall but has a certain degree of volatility. Of course, our channels will have to continue showing the best shows and formats in their lineups to achieve high ratings, which is easily said but a major challenge in the day-to-day business. WS: Tell us about the RTL Group–CBS joint venture. DE POSCH: It’s essentially a start-up, but it has great backing and
potential. In September 2013, the venture launched RTL CBS Entertainment HD, a pay-TV channel for the entire family [in Asia]. RTL CBS Extreme HD followed in March 2014, offering fast-paced action, mainly to a male audience. So far, almost all operator partners have incorporated both channels in their offers in 18 countries. The distribution over so many different payTV operators is the best proof of the two channels’ appeal. Overall, the retransmission fees from pay-TV and platform operators represent a billion-dollar regional market. Another success was that the channels were chosen to be a key part of LeEco’s pay-TV platform expansion from China into Hong Kong and Macau. LeEco is one of the largest online-streaming companies in China. So overall, we’re happy with the progress we’ve made so far in the high-growth region of Southeast Asia. But a lot still needs to be done! WS: Are there sufficient ways of measuring the amount of viewing being done on portable devices? What more needs to be done to improve measurement? SCHÄFERKORDT: This is a really important topic: how do you measure, and ultimately monetize, mobile, second-screen and other alternative viewing habits? Although there is more and more data available about use and viewing
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behavior, audience measurement does not yet match the pace of changing viewing patterns. As a result, the total net reach of a video advertising campaign is still hard to quantify across all screens. This is why we actively drive and support the cross-screen measurement initiatives in the countries we operate in. Furthermore we’ve invested recently in VideoAmp, a U.S. startup software company that uses its own machine-learning algorithms to optimize the targeting of crossscreen audiences—to benefit advertisers and broadcasters. The goal is to allow brands to target users more accurately and eliminate duplication. It also offers the unique ability to match digital users with TV media plans. WS: How has the group been working with advertisers? SCHÄFERKORDT: Advertising sales in the digital market will become much more fragmented and far more complicated. The number of highly specialized intermediaries between advertising clients and content providers has reached huge proportions. The premium segment of linear and partly nonlinear content will remain a people business, but advertising sales will become more automated and advertising technology more consolidated. Media agencies and sales houses are investing in platforms, interfaces
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RTL Group has been investing heavily in its digital strategy, including services like 6play in France, which allows M6’s audiences to access the broadcaster’s content on demand. and tools that advertising customers can use to plan and place bookings directly. RTL Group’s investment in SpotX, one of the leading platforms for video-advertising sales in the United States, is just one example. DE POSCH: Increasing competition in the digital media world calls for closer cooperation across the RTL Group, to give our global advertising clients the best service. With its unique international presence, IP Network is ideally positioned to explore these growth opportunities for us. We recently appointed a new managing director, Stéphane Coruble. Stéphane has a very clear mission to make use of all the various RTL Group affiliates’ assets to offer a global proposition for international advertisers in the fields of video and digital marketing, branded content, and, of course, traditional TV and radio sales. Just recently, IP Network integrated our fashion and beauty MCN StyleHaul into its multiscreen offer. And what does this all mean for advertisers? Well, there will be much more potential for targeting and reaching consumers, especially if they use programmatics that offer audience-tailored advertising. WS: What has been the impact of Netflix in the territories where RTL Group operates? SCHÄFERKORDT: The major impact is very simple: we focus even more on
exclusive content. Apart from that, Netflix is predominantly a direct competitor to pay-TV operators. And as the company does not disclose subscriber or viewing figures for the various markets, we can’t speculate. But of course we are in competition for the eyeballs. WS: How has FremantleMedia been broadening its portfolio? DE POSCH: FremantleMedia, our content arm, is increasing its creative diversity—both organically and through acquisitions. Since it is already one of the biggest independent production companies, they focus on creative talent developing projects that will feed into FremantleMedia’s international network. In the last three years, it made several acquisitions that illustrate this strategy, including scripted companies Miso Film in Scandinavia, Corona in the U.K., Wildside in Italy and Fontaram and Kwaï in France, just to name a few. Of these deals, I’d like to highlight Wildside, a leading Italian production company that specializes in scripted drama television programming and commercial feature films. Their output includes The Young Pope—their first international production—with partners including HBO, Sky and CANAL+. The series stars Jude Law and Diane Keaton, with Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino working as co-writer and director.
But let’s not forget that FremantleMedia has also reinvigorated its own heritage in scripted drama with series such as Wentworth and the relaunched drama label Euston Films in the U.K. The German series Deutschland 83 has had great success internationally. Deutschland 83 became the first German-language drama to be aired, to critical acclaim, in its original-language version in the U.S. It has now been sold internationally across 19 more territories so far, including Channel 4 in the U.K., CANAL+ in France, SVT in Sweden, DR in Denmark and Hulu. We also have hopes for a new drama, American Gods, which was greenlit by Starz. FremantleMedia will produce this show, for which ten episodes have been commissioned. The drama genre has great potential in distribution, brand partnerships, licensing, merchandising and digital. WS: How is FremantleMedia reaching its goal of becoming as big a creator, producer and distributor of content in the digital world as it is in the traditional TV world? DE POSCH: Digital is a key area for FremantleMedia as well. We already talked about original web content being just one pillar of our digital video strategy. In the last three years, FremantleMedia has launched regional digital studios in
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Los Angeles with Tiny Riot! and in the U.K. with Shotglass Media, adding to UFA Lab in Germany and Spring in Australia. Also, FremantleMedia is closing more deals with digital platforms, including a global deal with Netflix for the new Danger Mouse series. Amazon in the U.K. acquired Wentworth, and FremantleMedia completed a package deal with Youku that includes The X Factor UK and Project Runway. WS: Would you give an example or two of how the RTL Group’s news, programming or corporate responsibility initiatives are serving viewers and/or communities? SCHÄFERKORDT: Across Europe we’ve faced [the refugee situation] head on with comprehensive reporting and informative programs. Millions of viewers, listeners and readers trust us to inform them responsibly, impartially, credibly and truthfully. Our role is to help people understand all aspects of the situation and to raise awareness of the issues involved. With our high profile as a leading media organization, we’re able to bring major issues—both social and environmental—to the public’s attention. Of course, we can also use that profile to run successful fundraising events and other initiatives to make a difference in people’s lives.
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ON THE RECORD
hen Jon Feltheimer was appointed CEO of Lionsgate in 2000, nobody could have imagined how radically technology and consumer behavior would soon alter the media industry. But with a vigilant eye on costs and an ability to think outside of the box, Feltheimer built on the experience he had acquired at Sony Pictures Entertainment and New World Entertainment to position Lionsgate to ride the coming wave of change. From the beginning, the company has targeted underserved film audiences, producing genre movies like the Saw franchise; the Academy Award winners Crash, Monster’s Ball and Precious; and later the young-adult franchises The Hunger Games and Divergent. The television division worked with cable and premium channels that were willing to take risks on shows such as The Dead Zone, Weeds, Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, racking up awards and critical acclaim in the process. It then branched out and began producing shows for broadcast networks and SVOD platforms: Nashville for ABC, Orange Is the New Black for Netflix and Casual and Deadbeat for Hulu. Along the way, Lionsgate has crafted innovative financing and distribution deals—such as the 10:90 syndication model from Debmar-Mercury, owned by Lionsgate—and has built up a
library of more than 16,000 titles, which feeds the internationaldistribution and home-entertainment businesses. This year, Lionsgate Television will roll out one of its strongest television slates ever, providing series to a wide variety of outlets, including HBO, ABC, E!, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Netflix, EPIX and Hulu. Working with other companies has always been important to Feltheimer, and Lionsgate has forged many partnerships over the years: EPIX with MGM and Viacom, Pantelion Films with Televisa, the TV channel Pop with CBS Corporation—to name a few—and most recently with Hunan TV, which provides the studio with a foothold in the rapidly growing Chinese market. Last November, Liberty Global and Discovery Communications each took a 3.4-percent stake in Lionsgate. This deal expands the studio’s presence in the nonscripted programming market. Lionsgate has also expressed an interest in acquiring or taking a stake in the payTV company Starz, but so far no details about a possible transaction have been released. Feltheimer talks to World Screen about Lionsgate’s continued ability to adapt to the changing media market by maintaining its entrepreneurial culture and focusing on being a pure-play content company.
JON FELTHEIMER LIONSGATE
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Hulu placed a staight-to-series order for Jason Reitman’s Casual from Lionsgate and has since renewed the comedy for a second season. WS: What are the advantages, for each company, of the Lionsgate deal with Discovery Communications and Liberty Global? FELTHEIMER: Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries are two of the top executives in the business, so their addition to our board of directors brings a lot of value in and of itself. By aligning our content company with a leading internationaldistribution platform and one of the world’s preeminent pay-TV programmers, we are creating a tremendous range of strategic opportunities. Since we announced the deal a few months ago, we’ve partnered with Discovery to distribute its television programming through our home-entertainment infrastructure. We’ve also created a new documentary-film division, which we launched with the joint acquisition of our first film at Slamdance. In addition, we’re working with Discovery on marketing tie-ins for recent and upcoming films. In a world where content creators and distributors are cooperating in exciting new ways, we believe that we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities that lie ahead. WS: Tell us about the deal with Hunan TV. How did it come about and what does it entail? Why is it important for Lionsgate and for Hunan TV? FELTHEIMER: I’ve been focused on content opportunities in China since I was an executive at Sony Pictures in the 1990s and we created one of the first Chinese
sitcoms, Ying Da’s Chinese Restaurant. The market there is expanding rapidly and is beginning to realize its tremendous potential. Last year the Chinese box office grew by 48 percent to $6.8 billion, and it’s expected to surpass the North American box office within the next few years. Consumption of both local and Western television content continues to increase and, with less legacy infrastructure, the Chinese media industry has leapfrogged straight to the digital age with a vast array of online platforms.
We saw the opportunity to capitalize on these developments with a great partner who checks all of the boxes. Our agreement includes film-slate financing, local film co-production and distribution with Hunan’s TIK Films subsidiary, and potential television co-production with Hunan TV & Broadcasting, one of China’s top broadcasting companies. WS: Will the deal with Hunan TV alter Lionsgate’s film slate or the types of films it produces? Will it change the ratio between
Lionsgate’s franchise movies and smaller character-driven movies? FELTHEIMER: No. To mitigate risk, we’ve always had financial partners, including Lakeshore, CBS Films, STUDIOCANAL, OddLot Entertainment, Millennium Films, Black Label Media and TIK Films. We continue to distribute a portfolio of 15 to 18 wide-release films a year that encompasses franchise tentpoles such as Now You See Me 2, The Odyssey and Saban’s Power Rangers; star-driven event films with commercial breakout potential, such as Deepwater Horizon; and branded films for affinity audiences in categories of proven strength: prestige (American Pastoral), action (John Wick 2), horror (our untitled film for Halloween) and urban (Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween). The common denominators underlying the films on this slate are the strength of the intellectual property on which they’re built, the caliber of the creative talent driving them, the focus on audiences we can reach with targeted marketing and the financial discipline of our business model. WS: FX chief John Landgraf started quite a debate when he said there
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Lionsgate’s Orange Is the New Black, which is heading into its fourth season, has been such a hit for Netflix that the streaming platform has already renewed it through season seven. are too many scripted television shows. Do you share that view? FELTHEIMER: Kevin Beggs, the chairman of our television group, talks about this being the platinum age of television—an era of unprecedented quality in television programming, driven by the most exceptional talent our industry has ever seen, with more options for delivering and viewing content than ever before. Since we started Lionsgate over 15 years ago, the number of scripted shows on prime-time television has increased from 150 to 412. The total number of prime-time shows, scripted and unscripted, has increased to 1,700. That’s a lot of shows, but people are watching more television on more devices than ever before. When we started out, we had a somewhat different model than the big media conglomerates, and created platform-defining shows for new and emerging channels: The Dead Zone for USA, Mad Men for AMC, Weeds and Nurse Jackie for Showtime, Orange Is the New Black for Netflix, The Royals for E! and Casual for Hulu. Most of these shows were the first scripted series on their respective networks. As the marketplace becomes more crowded, we believe that the demand for noisy, premium-quality shows has
become greater than ever. Everyone wants to have the next Orange Is the New Black, Game of Thrones or Transparent. In response to this demand, we’ve launched one of our strongest slates of original programming ever, which includes American Lion for HBO, Graves for EPIX, Dirty Dancing for ABC, Greenleaf for OWN, Guilt for Freeform and Clyde Phillips’ Feed the Beast for AMC. WS: Now that viewers have so many choices for entertainment, how much more difficult is it to market a TV show these days? FELTHEIMER: We try to cut through the clutter with great stories, digital fluency in creating social-media fan bases, and content driven by Alist talent that includes showrunners Jenji Kohan, Matt Weiner, Clyde Phillips and Matt Kunitz, and big stars, such as Oprah Winfrey, Sean Penn, David Schwimmer, Nick Nolte and Abigail Breslin. Noisiness of concept is more important than ever. So are patience and a willingness to play the long game. What we used to call the 500-channel universe has now evolved into a million-channel universe of competing options on television, PCs and mobile devices. In this environment, it often takes
at least two seasons for a show to penetrate audience consciousness. That’s one of the reasons why we love to partner with cable and digital platforms that help us build an audience for our shows while we help them build their network brands—a win-win for everyone. Casual was picked up for its second season on Hulu a few weeks after its very first episode streamed. The Royals was renewed for a second season on E! before its first season aired. WS: Given the deal with Discovery, will Lionsgate increase its production of unscripted programming? FELTHEIMER: For the past few years, we’ve actually been building an unscripted business alongside our premium scripted content, independent of the Discovery deal. We hired Jennifer O’Connell, a respected industry executive, to lead our nonfiction initiatives, and we assembled a roster of some of the best reality producers in the world—Matt Kunitz, producer of Fear Factor and Wipeout; Adam DiVello, producer of The Hills; and K. P. Anderson, executive producer of The Soup. We’ve launched a nonfiction slate that includes Monica the Medium, already picked up for a second season on Freeform; the nonfiction series
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RocketJump: The Show from YouTube star Freddie Wong on Hulu; as well as Hellevator at GSN. [In January] FOX ordered Matt Kunitz’s survival reality series Kicking & Screaming, for which we’ve retained all internationaldistribution and format rights and which we see as a major global brand as we continue to elevate our game in the unscripted space. A few months ago we complemented this organic growth with the acquisition of a majority stake in Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, giving us a total of nearly 80 shows on 40 different networks. Pilgrim has some of the top nonfiction properties, including The Ultimate Fighter on FOX Sports, Ghost Hunters on Syfy and Wicked Tuna on National Geographic, and we’re already collaborating with them on a number of new shows that underscore the synergies we expect to achieve together. They’re also developing several unscripted series that are based on our feature-film formats. Our relationship with Discovery adds yet another layer of optionality to our unscripted strategy. As I mentioned, we’re already in business with them in home entertainment, and we’ve launched a documentary-film division together.
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2014, and we will keep focusing on innovative partnerships that are designed to capitalize on emerging opportunities, diversifying our content offerings and embracing cutting-edge technologies that add value to our product.
Lionsgate’s feature-film business distributes 15 to 18 titles a year, including franchise tentpoles like the upcoming Now You See Me 2. WS: How do creative partnerships play into Lionsgate’s television strategy? FELTHEIMER: We look at creative partnerships in all facets of our business. At the corporate level, we have multifaceted alliances with some of the biggest and best content companies in the world, including CBS, STUDIOCANAL, Televisa and New Regency—companies that combine a visionary approach to their businesses with tremendous underlying intellectual property. Within our channel business, we’ve partnered with CBS on Pop, a network that has created nearly 400 hours of original programming. Pop has grown its ratings for five straight quarters and continued to expand its distribution footprint following last year’s rebrand. Our EPIX channel with MGM and Viacom is the fastest-growing pay-TV network in the world. It increased its subscriber base by 54 percent last year as we continued to assemble a portfolio of digital platforms, MSOs and telcos that includes Amazon, Hulu, Play Station Vue, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Charter, Verizon and Dish. This coalition reflects the changing composition of a television ecosystem that is transforming itself to deliver content to consumers whenever, wherever and however they want it. Now we’re putting together EPIX’s first slate of
original series, including our political comedy Graves starring Nick Nolte and Sela Ward, as the channel continues to expand its content offerings. Finally, building profitable models for our individual shows through innovative, multiple window financing deals with creative partners has always been part of our DNA. With Mad Men, we were the first studio to license the back end of one of our series to a digital platform. We’ve been a first mover in creating original content for online networks such as Hulu and Netflix, and we continue to explore innovative ways to bring SVOD partners into the business models of our shows as early as possible, as we’ve done with Amazon on The Royals. These partnerships have a few things in common: we like to be in business with companies whose strengths are complementary to ours, who can help us explore new markets and reach new audiences, and who are willing to join us in creating innovative and disruptive business models. When we’re able to check off all these boxes, everyone benefits. WS: The home-entertainment market has been challenging for many companies. What opportunities does Lionsgate see in that business? FELTHEIMER: As we’ve been predicting for years, the growth of VOD
and electronic sell-through [EST] continues to incrementally expand the home-entertainment business, both in terms of top line and margins. We’re well positioned to capitalize on the opportunities created by the proliferation of digital platforms, and we’re able to offer an increasingly broad array of choices to consumers. All the indicators of the business are strong. Home-entertainment spend increased to its highest level in five years in 2015. EST spend grew by nearly 20 percent and is now on par with transactional VOD spend, reflecting consumers’ embrace of digital ownership. SVOD spend from an increasing number of platforms has grown to more than $5 billion. Even catalog spend reversed its multiyear decline and increased by 2 percent last year. We expect these trends to continue, driven by record industry box office underlying this year’s slate of home-entertainment releases, the launch of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and more MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] rolling out their own EST stores. Within this environment, we will continue to be a first mover in exploring windowing and pricing strategies that are customized to our content. We were the first outside studio to partner with Comcast when they successfully entered the EST space in November
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WS: In terms of financial results, how was 2015? In what areas do you see the biggest potential for growth? FELTHEIMER: Our television group is achieving record results as we continue to scale and diversify our operations and build a roster of unscripted content alongside our premium scripted programming. We expect our television division to continue growing to annual revenues of more than $1 billion with contribution margins of 15 to 20 percent within the next two years. The depth and quality of our intellectual property is also driving our expansion into new businesses, such as location-based entertainment, video games and OTT channels, which will accelerate our company’s diversification, bring us closer to the consumer and generate significant incremental profits in the years to come. Though our two biggest franchises, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Divergent: Insurgent, generated nearly $1 billion in combined global box office in 2015, our overall slate had an off year compared to the strength of previous years. However, we’re looking at a lineup for the next two years that is loaded with potential franchise tentpoles, star-driven event movies and targeted films that we expect will help us resume our financial growth trajectory and return us to our historical average of profitability on more than 70 percent of our releases. Even more significantly, I believe that our competitive advantages as a pure-play content company with no legacy constraints, our entrepreneurial culture and our strong balance sheet all position us to continue building one of the most vibrant content companies in the world, creating lasting value for our partners and shareholders.
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+E Networks has grown from two channels that launched in 1984 to a global media group that has adapted to the changing TV landscape and consumer habits and has expanded internationally. With a stable of brands that includes A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, LMN, FYI, Crime + Investigation, and the new VICELAND, A+E Networks reaches 330 million households in 180 territories. Nancy Dubuc, the president and CEO of A+E Networks, has been with the company for 15 years and has witnessed its growth firsthand. Before being tapped for her current position in 2013, she oversaw the creation of A&E’s nonfiction slate, revitalized HISTORY and rebranded Lifetime. Along the way, she has received numerous Emmy awards and nominations. Today, A&E and HISTORY are top-ten entertainment brands in the U.S. A&E has original scripted series like Bates Motel and unscripted fare such as Storage Wars, while HISTORY offers such nonfiction series as American Pickers and Pawn Stars, along with scripted events such as Vikings and the upcoming SIX. Lifetime, a leading women’s brand that was traditionally home to TV movies and series, has broadened its portfolio to include unscripted shows like Project Runway and the
Little Women franchise. It gambled on a new approach to scripted with UnREAL, which offers a fictitious behindthe-scenes look at a dating competition reality show. The bet paid off, as the series, returning this year, has drawn high ratings and critical acclaim. A+E Networks has long pursued a strategy of owning most of its programming, which fuels its international-distribution and consumer-products businesses. A+E Studios, which was established in 2013, has been instrumental in extending that strategy to scripted programming. Along with UnREAL, the studio has also produced Texas Rising and Sons of Liberty, among other series. On the studio’s slate for this year is the mega event Roots, a remake of the trailblazing 1977 miniseries about an African American slave and his descendants, which will premiere across A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime on May 30. As Dubuc tells World Screen, TV events are important because, in addition to creating buzz, they draw top-end talent, audiences and critical acclaim. But factual series remain essential to all the networks in the group. Her management teams, which have recently been reorganized, are constantly looking for new voices and storytellers to appeal to the portfolio’s core audiences and to reach out to new ones.
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Alone is a survival series airing on HISTORY in the U.S. and on its feeds across the globe. WS: Tell us about the deal with VICE Media. What does VICELAND bring to A+E Networks and how does it fit into A+E Networks’s portfolio? DUBUC: VICELAND is a joint venture between A+E Networks and VICE Media that launched in the U.S. on February 29 in approximately 70 million homes. The channel features new, original unscripted programming produced in-house by the many talented young filmmakers at VICE who have unique voices. Shane Smith, Spike Jonze and Eddy Morretti are building a channel with a very personal point of view that is meant to resonate with the younger audience that the VICE brand is known to attract. The content covers a diverse range of topics, from social and political issues to food, fashion, travel and more. A+E Networks has a diverse and rich portfolio of brands. Our lead brands—A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime—deliver adult, maleand female-focused audiences, respectively, in the 25-to-54 demographic. [We] complement these brands with VICELAND
and our lifestyle brand FYI, and we can now deliver our advertising and distribution partners a robust suite of brands that attract diverse demographic audiences.
WS: In a crowded television landscape, how important are events? Tell us about Roots and other events. DUBUC: We think that television events need to be appointment television, so it’s important to identify unique stories and content that we can own and that will translate into must-see TV. Roots is our next big event, which will premiere in the U.S. on May 30, and will also air globally. Produced by A+E Studios, Roots is the biggest undertaking for us as a company to date. It’s an eight-hour miniseries that covers a time period stretching from 1750 to 1865. The series was shot in Cape Town, South Africa, and in Louisiana in the U.S. We have assembled a starstudded cast of award-winning actors, including Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Anna Paquin, Derek Luke, Anika Noni Rose and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. After a search in 15 locations across North America, Africa and Europe, we cast two very talented new actors in key roles: Malachi Kirby, as Kunta Kinte, and Regé-Jean Page, as Chicken George. We have an equally talented production team behind the
camera with Mario Van Peebles, Bruce Beresford, Phillip Noyce and Thomas Carter each directing. Questlove is serving as executive music producer for the show. We have something truly special on our hands and can’t wait to share it with the world. WS: Roots was a groundbreaking event when it aired in 1977; not only for the way it was scheduled—over eight consecutive nights, and the finale remains one of the top-rated episodes of all time—but also for the subject matter it portrayed and the impact it had on American culture. Tell us about the Roots A+E Studios is preparing. How did the project come about? How have you approached the subject matter for today’s audience? DUBUC: The idea to produce a reimagined and contemporary version of Roots was internally developed by our HISTORY programming team during a development brainstorming meeting. As we started to investigate the idea, we saw that in the time since Alex Haley wrote [the novel] Roots and the original miniseries aired, so much new history and [information] about the slave trade and the era covered in the story has been uncovered.
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MIPTV will see the international premiere of Roots, an A+E Studios production based on the landmark 1977 miniseries that will roll out on the A+E Networks portfolio in May. Our version incorporates new scholarship, research and production methods. We drew upon new research to design the Kingdom of Niumi and incorporated details from historical scholarship about slave markets, uprisings and daily life into the story as only HISTORY could. Mark Wolper, who is the son of David Wolper, the executive producer of the original Roots, is executive-producing the series, along with LeVar Burton, who originally starred as Kunta Kinte. They are both playing active roles in the production and handpicked Malachi Kirby to star as Kunta Kinte. I am enormously proud of Roots, and I think it’s one of the best dramas we have ever produced. WS: What message is A+E Studios sending the creative community? What projects are in the works? DUBUC: We launched A+E Studios in late 2013. Today we have over 50 projects in development or
production, including series, limited series and films. We are looking to build longterm relationships in the creative community and have struck overall deals with top creative talent such as Carlton Cuse, Rachel Winter, Michael Hirst and Meryl Poster. On the whole, I would say A+E Studios is a creative and collaborative environment for showrunners, writers and producers, and we take great pride in working with the creative community to deliver content that resonates with viewers. In addition to Roots, we are in production on season two of the critically acclaimed series UnREAL for Lifetime. The series has been sold into more than 100 territories. The second season will premiere later this year, and promises to be as provocative as the first. We also have two series in development at the studio for HISTORY. The first is SIX, a military action drama produced
with Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company in association with William Broyles and David Broyles. The series follows a group of Navy SEAL Team Six soldiers on a mission that goes awry. The second series in development is Knightfall, about the Knights Templar, which is produced in association with Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield’s production company, The Combine, and Midnight Radio. Lastly, we’ve recently announced development on an anthology series about American cults, in association with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories Productions. WS: What is Lifetime’s mission today and how does its programming speak to that mission? DUBUC: The Lifetime brand has always stood for empowering women, both in front of and behind the camera. Last year we launched an initiative called Broad Focus, which aims to push the industry to
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hire more women directors, writers and producers. Industry-wide, just 7 percent of movies were directed by women [in 2014], while at Lifetime, nearly 30 percent of our movies were directed by women. Hiring women makes good business sense—Lifetime’s top-five original movies in 2015 were directed by women. Additionally, UnREAL has an all-woman production team. The series is an important component of Lifetime’s programming promise—quality content with great stories and characters. We could not be more proud of UnREAL. WS: Scripted drama is currently very popular. What opportunities does this offer in the unscripted space? DUBUC: Right now, we’re seeing traditional docs coming back in a big way. Unscripted programming has been, and continues to be, the mainstay of our networks. I think there’s a lot of opportunity in the factual space; however, as
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In January, Lifetime’s biographical TV movie Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart was ad-supported cable’s top-rated movie in a host of demos, among them adults 25 to 54 and women 18 to 49. content producers and providers, it’s incumbent upon us to develop fresh, original ideas. We have some provocative and groundbreaking series in development, and I’m excited to see how our viewers react. WS: How wide are you casting the net as you look for new ideas and new voices for the next standout unscripted show? DUBUC: We’ve had some real success with a number of unscripted series that are unlike other shows on television, such as Alone and The Curse of Oak Island on HISTORY, A&E’s buzzy new series Fit to Fat to Fit, and Lifetime’s The Rap Game. But we’re also working with tried-and-true producers such as Jon Murray and Bunim/Murray Productions, creators of the original reality TV series, The Real World. Jon brought us a groundbreaking series called Born This Way, which follows a group of young adults with
Down syndrome. It’s an amazing series that gives a voice to these extraordinary individuals and their parents. WS: What are some of A+E Networks’s upcoming unscripted shows? DUBUC: We have a lot of new series in development across all our brands, but one that I’m particularly proud of is 60 Days In. Throughout the history of our company, A&E has been a leader in the true-crime genre. 60 Days In is a great example of taking a fresh approach to the justice/crime genre. In the series, seven innocent people enter the dangerous world of incarceration at the Clark County jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in an effort to expose internal issues and what happens behind bars. Each person has his or her own reason for participating. It is truly compelling television. 60 Days In is garnering a lot of attention, and
we believe it will resonate with viewers. WS: A&E and HISTORY have new management. How will they build on the successes of these networks? DUBUC: Paul Buccieri joined us just over a year ago as president of A&E and HISTORY. I’ve known Paul for several years, and worked with him during his tenure at ITV Studios, one of our important production partners. I’ve always admired his work and his programming and business instincts, and he has a well-earned reputation globally for being an innovative content creator and deal-maker. Paul has built strong management teams for each of the brands. He brought Jana Bennett from FYI to HISTORY as president and general manager, and he named Paul Cabana as executive VP and head of programming for the channel. Jana joined A+E Networks in 2013 to develop and launch FYI. She and
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her team did an amazing job conceiving the brand and its programming. I have great faith in the vision we have created for HISTORY and look forward to the new content that will begin rolling out soon. At A&E, Rob Sharenow was brought in as executive VP and general manager, a role he also holds at Lifetime. Rob has a great sense for the A&E brand as he was previously head of [nonfiction and alternative] programming for the channel. He joins Elaine Frontain Bryant [executive VP and head of programming]. Rob and Elaine developed or served as executive producers on a number of acclaimed A&E series, including Intervention, Storage Wars and Beyond Scared Straight. Rob and Liz Gateley, executive VP and head of programming at Lifetime, have developed a great vision for the Lifetime brand, and I’m very excited about the direction that channel is taking as well.
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n the early ’80s, Ted Turner’s vision of channels dedicated to specific programming genres revolutionized the television landscape. CNN debuted in 1980, and while the fledgling 24-hour news operation was widely disparaged by established news organizations, it not only prevailed but has become the go-to channel around the world for breaking news. Turner bought the MGM library in 1985 and on the back of that launched TNT in 1988. The channel’s schedule at first consisted largely of movies, but later it began developing its own original series. Turner also acquired the Hanna-Barbera animation studio and used that product, along with MGM’s library of animation, to launch Cartoon Network in 1992. The channel has grown into a leading destination for children, particularly boys, and has created such properties as The Powerpuff Girls, which is making a comeback this year, and Ben 10. Turner Classic Movies (TCM), launched in 1994, caters to film buffs. These channels and numerous other brands form the core of Turner, one of the three main pillars of the media behemoth
Time Warner (the other two being Warner Bros. and HBO). Turner International houses all the channels outside the U.S., with more than 100 brands—entertainment, news, animation, young adult and sports media, along with their multiplatform extensions—in more than 200 countries. Gerhard Zeiler was appointed president of Turner International in 2012. He spent the first 12 months or so reorganizing the group; after that, he focused on building the portfolio of brands, increasing digital offerings, expanding the licensing and merchandising business and extending that business into hotels and theme parks. For all the talk of cord-cutters and cord-nevers in the U.S., the international pay-TV business remains robust. Turner International increased revenues and profits in 2015. Zeiler— whose career has included posts as head of the Austrian public broadcaster ORF, head of the German commercial broadcaster RTL Television and CEO of the RTL Group— believes must-have brands and must-see programming offered to consumers in a variety of ways will ensure the ongoing health of the channels business.
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CNN reaches more than 392 million households globally across its TV, internet and mobile platforms, with some 40 editorial offices and more than 1,100 affiliates worldwide. WS: Turner International had growth in revenues and profitability in 2015. What has been driving these increases? ZEILER: Indeed, we had a really good 2015, with a double-digit revenue increase and a huge jump in profitability in constant-currency terms. The good news is that it was not only in Latin America, though that is our best-performing region; growth was also very strong in Asia, especially in India, and all across Europe. Europe turned around amazingly in several markets and as a whole. Southern Europe in particular rebounded, with France, Italy and especially Spain together contributing to very positive results. I believe there are four pillars to our success. First is strategy: our global strategy of having two kidsâ€™ brands [Cartoon Network and Boomerang] shows good results already. We have scaled up our entertainment programs. And we are putting greater focus on new markets, licensing and merchandising, digital and content production. Second is efficiency: we have reduced red tape and streamlined the organization, and it has paid off in better working processes for many. Third is alignment: cooperation has increased significantly within the various strands of our
company, and we have stronger relations at all levels. Last, but not least, are our people. Together with my fellow presidents I try to make sure everyone at Turner feels empowered. Everyone has responsibilities and everyone counts. WS: How have you been expanding your business?
ZEILER: Consumer products, the licensing and merchandising business, has always been good for Turner, but it was dependent on one brand, one franchise, Ben 10. Today we offer a much broader portfolio. We have Adventure Time, which is successful all over the world. We have The Amazing World of Gumball. We are bringing
back The Powerpuff Girls right now. We are resurrecting Ben 10 and we have We Bare Bears. These five franchises alone are huge assets, and we want to at least triple our consumer-products revenues in the next three years. But thatâ€™s only one part [of our expansion.] The second part is what we call location-based entertainment.
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We have a Cartoon Network water park in Thailand, which has all the Cartoon Network IP there. Soon a theme park will open in Dubai where Cartoon Network will also play a huge role. We also have projects in Malaysia, China and Southeast Asia. I’m really excited about location-based entertainment. Our imagination has no limits—in Asia, for example, you can travel in Cartoon Network–branded trains and airplanes. Finally, and maybe coming as a surprise to some, gaming is gaining momentum in our portfolio. In 2015, in Asia alone, we launched 69 digital games on websites and mobile phones, and we launched 40 in Latin America. WS: You’re not only growing your portfolio organically, you have also launched new brands. ZEILER: Yes, we have broadened the portfolio. We launched 21 new channels last year all over the world, across kids, general entertainment, sports and factual. In total, we introduced five new brands to various markets: Adult Swim, WB-TV, truTV, Oh!K and World Heritage Channel. Broadly speaking, [we expanded] across three categories. First, we wanted to expand our global brands internationally. Cartoon Network and CNN are in almost every country in the world, so we focused on Boomerang, our second kids’ channel. We relaunched it in Latin America, where it’s already beating Nickelodeon in several markets; we also launched it in several countries in Southeast Asia. We brought Boing to Africa. We added CNN Indonesia and CNN Philippines to the CNN portfolio of channels. TNT Series went pan-regional in Latin America. Second, we invested in local brands. For example, we launched Toonami, our kids’ action channel, in India and Thailand. Oh!K launched in Malaysia and Indonesia and launches in Hong Kong soon. We entered the documentary genre with World Heritage Channel in the Philippines. Third, we entered the sports arena, with our acquisition of Esporte Interativo, a Brazilian sports channel focusing on soccer, and our purchase of the
Turner expanded into local entertainment in Asia with the pay-TV channel Oh!K, home to popular Korean dramas like Happy Once Again. pay-TV Champions League rights for Brazil. So we enriched our offering via our international channels but also via local channels, which is our strategy. WS: Have you also been investing in free TV? ZEILER: Many of our channels operate in the pay-TV environment, but we also run a couple of advertisingdriven channels. We have a free-TV channel in Chile, Chilevisión, which is a top-three channel there. This year we will look at putting our pay-TV channels and free-TV channel together to see what synergies there are, because no other channel in Chile, not even the number one channel, can offer what we can offer, not only to advertisers but also to consumers. We will continue to add more free-TV brands wherever we see a
chance for success. In the changing TV landscape, we are broadening our revenue streams to add scale. But more importantly, we focus on even more must-have brands and content. We attract our business partners and consumers with new products, services and experiences, whether they are on pay TV, free TV, online or mobile. WS: Internationally, how important is CNN? ZEILER: CNN is a powerful brand. Wherever you go, regardless of which country you’re in, everybody knows CNN and everybody knows its strength. We distribute it to more than 200 countries. You can describe CNN’s strength in two headlines. First, the journalism is unbiased; CNN leans neither to the left nor to the right. They try to tell the story the way it is. Second,
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when it comes to breaking news, there is only one channel and that is CNN. That is the backbone of CNN, and I have to say that since Jeff Zucker [president of CNN Worldwide] came on board he has done a fantastic job of revamping the brand and bringing it back to its former glory. WS: Where do you see growth, looking ahead? ZEILER: I see real positive developments across all regions. I am still fascinated by Brazil, our most important growth market. Yes, [the country has] macroeconomic and political difficulties, but that comes with the territory in Latin America. You still have incredible optimism from the people there, so I still very much believe in Brazil, and also in Argentina, I have to say. Second, [I also see growth in] Asia, especially
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internationally—there healthy competition.
Cartoon Network produces a number of shows that resonate for the brand at home and abroad, including the megahit Adventure Time. India and China. We have approached China differently, of course—not with channels. For example, we created a small emoticon, a rabbit called Tuzki. And now 600 million people who use the Chinese messaging app WeChat know Tuzki. They love it and we can do a lot more with this IP, maybe even movies. I’m also excited about the possibilities in Africa and, last but not least, Vietnam, where people love America and American products. WS: I understand that one of the particular success stories in 2015 was the two-brand strategy of Cartoon Network and Boomerang. How has the rollout of the rebranded Boomerang been going? How does it complement Cartoon Network? ZEILER: One of our key strategic moves has been to push Boomerang as Turner’s second international children’s pay-TV channel alongside Cartoon Network. In October 2015, the brand was repositioned as an all-animation, familyskewed proposition. We also announced a big deal with our sister division Warner Bros. that includes their animation division delivering more than 450 halfhours to Boomerang, such as new original shows Bunnicula and Wabbit, a Looney Tunes Production, and many classic toons from
the Warner Bros. library. Kids’ programming and channels are an important international business for Turner, and we are glad that we have joined up our approach within Time Warner. Everyone wins with this cooperation, starting with the viewers. As a result, we have boosted the strong international market position of our kids’ channels. Examples include Latin America, where the rebranded Boomerang was by far the fastest-growing kids’ network in 2015, growing by 83 percent pan-regionally and as much as 300 percent in Brazil and 153 percent in Colombia, surpassing well-established competitors in eight countries. At the same time, Cartoon Network was once again the strongest pay-TV network on the continent, increasing its panregional ratings by 8 percent and outperforming the next competitor by more than 30 percent in the core target group. Cartoon Network increased its share in seven out of nine European markets as well, holding the number one spot in boys’ pay channels in eight of these. Adventure Time achieved 50 million viewers across EMEA for the first time in the third quarter of 2015, while Gumball was a close runner-up with 48 million viewers. There were also stellar successes in Asia: Turner has the leading kids’ channel in the Philippines,
Australia and Thailand, and the number one international kids’ channel in Taiwan and Korea. And in India, our kids’ bouquet leads with Pogo as number two and Cartoon Network as number three. WS: Have you seen increased distribution among your existing channels, too? ZEILER: Yes, we have. Entertainment channels grew their reach even more following a series of new distribution deals. An impressive number just came in from India: the distribution of our kids’ channel Toonami is now approaching 20 million households. On the news side, CNN continues to benefit from sustained growth and is now available in more than 300 million households internationally—that’s in addition to the U.S. distribution. WS: Do you think Netflix is going to disrupt your business, if not now, then in five years? ZEILER: Netflix is both a partner and a competitor. I’m not scared of Netflix; they do a great job. I would be scared if Netflix were the only SVOD OTT service with global domination, but I’m scared in general about global domination, not only in our industry! As long as there are many other Netflixes out there—and just look at how many SVOD services started in 2015
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WS: I recently spoke to Kevin Reilly [the president of TBS and TNT and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment], who is moving TNT’s programming to more serialized shows instead of procedurals. Will serialized product feed your channels well? ZEILER: Absolutely. We need original programming, not only in the U.S. but also internationally. You need programming that makes people think, Oh, that’s new, that’s not something I’ve already seen ten times. You need much more serialized content because people like binge viewing. The direction that Kevin Reilly is going in, not only with TNT but also with TBS, is 100 percent good news for our international channels. WS: In the past you talked about more collaboration between Warner Bros., HBO and Turner. ZEILER: Everybody agrees that the cooperation is much better than it’s ever been, but there is still more to do. I’ll give you one example: Warner Bros.’s huge premiere this year on the feature-film side is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This will be promoted hugely across the whole Time Warner portfolio, because we all want it to be a success. And it will be a success. WS: Are there any shows across your brands that have performed particularly well? ZEILER: We continue to experiment creatively. Outstanding examples are the miniseries The Valley: In the Mist of Silence, which is a massive critical success in Germany, and the latest short-form kids’ program to come out of London, Apple & Onion. WS: Is programming still your first love? ZEILER: Oh yes! I spend so much time on planes that I’m always watching the latest TV programming. First of all, I watch the American programs, but I also watch all the interesting new international formats. And that is why I still love working in this industry.
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4K Media 209 9 Story Media Group 193 A+E Networks 4, 5, 355, 360 ABS-CBN International Distribution 401 AFL Productions 463 all3media international 49, 65 AMC Networks International 300, 301 American Cinema International 45 Applicaster 41 Arab Telemedia Group 119 Armoza Formats 242, 243, 255, 257 ARTE 367 Artist View Entertainment 8, 9 Asia TV Forum 429 ATRESMEDIA 89 ATV 22, 23 Australian Children’s Television Foundation 185, 187 Azteca 141 BBC Worldwide 1, 248, 249, 334, 335 Beyond Distribution 29, 81 Blue Ant Media 369 Bomanbridge 414 Brand Licensing 227, 231 Branscome International 233 Brightcove 496, 497 Busan Contents Market 145 CAKE 191 Calinos Entertainment 90, 91 Canada Media Fund 115 Caracol Internacional 315 CBS Studios International 71 CDC United Network 432 Cisneros Media Distribution 161 CJ E&M 117, 285, 329 Comarex 31 Content Television 19, 21 Cyber Group Studios 168, 169, 219, 234 DHX Media 173 Dick Clark Productions 53, 55 DISCOP 430 Distribution360 97, 361, 363 Eccho Rights 273, 308, 309 Electus International 281 Endemol Shine International 77 Escapade Media 139 European Film Market 425 Filmax International 99 Forum des Images 349 FOX 6, 7, 261 FOX Channels France 387 FOX Networks Group Asia 396 FOX Networks Group Latin America 449, 451 Foxtel 75 FremantleMedia 239, 294, 395, FremantleMedia Australia 87 FremantleMedia International 147, 299, 356, 357, 415 Gaumont Television 105, 107, 211 Global Agency 240, 241, 244, 245, 302, 303, 304, 305 Globo 143 Globosat 121 GMA Worldwide 123 GRB Entertainment 131, 133, 135, 137, 381 Hasbro Studios 189 HBO Latin America 441 Imagina International Sales 159 IMPS S.A. 195 Incendo 51 INK Global 175, 196, 198, 200, 202 International Academy of TV Arts & Sciences 494 ITV Studios Global Entertainment 73, 93, 500 ITV-Inter Medya 10, 11, 246, 247, 310, 311 JCCTV 213 Jetpack Distribution 217 KABO International 269
Kanal D Keshet International Lightning International Lionsgate Entertainment m4e / Telescreen MarVista Entertainment Mediaset Mediatoon Distribution Mercis BV Miramax Mondo TV Motion Pictures Distribution Multicom Entertainment Group NATPE New Dominion New Films International NHK Nordic World Novovision Off the Fence ORF-Enterprise Palatin Media Passion Distribution Pol-Ka Producciones Punta Show Rainbow Red Arrow International Rewind Networks Rive Gauche Television RTVE Russia Television and Radio Saban Brands Scripps Networks Interactive Secuoya Content Distribution Serious Lunch Shaftesbury Sky Vision Smithsonian Channel Somos Distribution Sony Pictures Television Networks Asia Star Media Starz Studio 100 STUDIOCANAL Sullivan Entertainment Sundance Channel Sunrights Superights TCB Media Rights Telefe Telefilms Televisa Internacional Televisa Networks Terra Mater Factual Studios The Jim Henson Company The Walt Disney Company TM International Tricon Films & Television TRT-Turkish Radio & TV Corporation Turner Asia Turner Europe Turner Latin America TV5MONDE Asia Twentieth Century Fox TV Distribution Twofour Rights Universal Cinergia Vision Films Voxx Studios Warner Bros. WDR mediagroup WWE ZDF Enterprises Zee Entertainment Enterprises Zodiak Rights
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350 271, 331 411 324, 325 197 2, 3 287 216, 218 199 13 167, 177, 221, 223 215 499 416 379 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61 375 265, 321 289 391 109 15 79 345 458 170, 171 83, 263, 317, 319 413 85, 125, 389 162 323 201 365 283 203 98, 179 394 27 127, 347 399 333 25 210 39 113 17, 439 207 181, 183 358, 359 445 462 157, 293 431 373 33, 95 76 43 377 100, 101 403 111 435, 437 407 67, 267 279 461 148 339 69 275 47, 447 35, 37, 313, 393 129 251, 253, 259, 306, 307
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IN THE STARS Almost every national constitution forbids the establishment of an official state religion. But this secular bent doesn’t stop people from looking to the heavens for answers to life’s most troublesome questions: Will I succeed? Will I find love? Will I get mistaken for Oprah? Every day, papers, magazines and websites worldwide print horoscopes—projections for people born in a specific month, based on the positions of the stars and planets. While many people rely on these daily, weekly or monthly messages for guidance in their lives, some readers skip over them entirely. The editors of WS recognize that these little pearls of random foresight occasionally prove prophetic. But rather than poring over charts of the zodiac to predict world events, our staff prefers to use past horoscopes in an attempt to legitimize the science. As you can see here, had some of these media figures remembered to consult their horoscopes on significant dates, they could have avoided a few surprises.
88th Academy Awards wearing a gown that proudly displays her large shoulder tattoo. The website Total Beauty tweets a picture of the African-American actress from the event with the caption: “We had no idea @Oprah was #tatted, and we love it.” The tweet is later deleted, and the company offers to donate $10K to a charity of the stars’ choice to apologize for the gaffe. Horoscope: “You have to learn to forgive and let go, Scorpio, even if it takes baby steps.” (scorpiomystique.com)
Conan, the daytime-TV diva shares an embarrassing anecdote with host Conan O’Brien about the time her 13-year-old son walked in on her giving her husband “a favor” at 2 a.m. “If you walk in on me and my husband, you’re gonna get a surprise,” she tells O’Brien emphatically. “I’ll just tell you this. He got a surprise and he will never do that again.” Horoscope: “A lunar eclipse in your 12th house could reveal information you’d rather keep quiet. Something may slip out and this could be embarrassing.” (thetarotlady.com)
Global distinction: Comedienne & TV personality. Sign: Scorpio (b. November 13, 1955) Significant date: February 28, 2016 Noteworthy activity: Whoopi hits the red carpet at the
Global distinction: Bratty prince of pop. Sign: Pisces (b. March 1, 1994) Significant date: March 9, 2016 Noteworthy activity: The Biebs kicks off his world tour at the KeyArena, where fans shell out as much as $45 for concert T-shirts. One of the tees sold at the event features white lettering that reads: “Many Are The Plans In A Person’s Heart, But It Is God’s Purose That Prevails.” The merchandise with the embarrassing spelling snafu has since been recalled. Horoscope: “If you have the chance to look things over, or reread something you’ve composed, do it. It’s in your best interest.” (weeklyhoroscope.com)
Global distinction: Sensitive Skin star. Sign: Leo (b. August 21, 1956) Significant date: March 6, 2016 Noteworthy activity: An episode of 60 Minutes misidentifies Cattrall as the mother of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when it shows a black-and-white photo from 1981 of the English-Canadian actress with the politician’s father, who she was rumored to be dating at the time. The Sex and the City alum—who never actually had any children—jokes about the fact-checking flub on Twitter: “@60Minutes I have a son who is the Prime Minister of Canada? I couldn’t b more proud.” Horoscope: “You may get mistaken for someone else…and while it’s not much more than a passing amusement, it may signify your readiness to take on a new role in your life.” (theokanaganpress.com) 498 World Screen 4/16
Global distinction: Outspoken talk-show host. Sign: Cancer (b. July 18, 1964) Significant date: March 10, 2016 Noteworthy activity: While appearing as a guest on
Global distinction: Fuller House’s Stephanie Tanner. Sign: Capricorn (b. January 19, 1982) Significant date: March 4, 2016 Noteworthy activity: Miley Cyrus shares a raunchy throwback pic of Sweetin on Instagram. The photo, which represents the actress’s drug-infused party days, sees her seductively posing on top of a man. “I don’t pay attention to the negative stuff,” she says when asked about the post. “I have so much good stuff going on in my life right now, I just try not to pay attention to anything like that.” Horoscope: “Steer clear of negative people and don’t let anyone bring you down.” (psychiclive.eu)
Global distinction: Roseanne alum. Sign: Gemini (b. June 20, 1952) Significant date: March 7, 2016 Noteworthy activity: During an interview on The Howard Stern Show, the actor recalls an awkward encounter he had when he tried to introduce himself to comedienne Kristen Wiig. “She was talking to somebody else, and I was just—I think she’s so great, and the social barriers broke down and I interrupted the conversation,” he confesses. “And she goes, ‘Yeah, I’ll talk to you in a minute....’ I really like her, and it was embarrassing, so I’ll never speak to her again.” Horoscope: “Perhaps it’s best to wait for a better time.... You may need to postpone that dream you’ve had for yourself.” (gladstoneobserver.com.au)
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