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THE MAGAZINE OF INTERNATIONAL MEDIA • JANUARY 2014
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contents JANUARY 2014/NATPE EDITION
DEPARTMENTS WORLD VIEW
Publisher Ricardo Seguin Guise
Editor Anna Carugati
A note from the editor. VIEWPOINT
Executive Editor Mansha Daswani
By Mansha Daswani. UPFRONTS
New shows on the market. BEHIND THE SCENES
Cedar Cove’s Andie MacDowell. MARKET TRENDS
FremantleMedia’s Cecile Frot-Coutaz. SPOTLIGHT
Contributing Editor Elizabeth Guider
in the news
26 RELATIVITY’S RYAN KAVANAUGH In just a few years, Kavanaugh has made Relativity Media, which he leads as CEO, a major force in Hollywood. —Mansha Daswani
NBCUniversal’s Joe Uva. LATIN BEAT
Managing Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
special report 38
Cisneros Media’s Jonathan Blum. ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
In the stars.
Special Projects Editors Jay Stuart Bob Jenkins Associate Editor Joanna Padovano Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari Associate Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Jessica Rodríguez
40 AMERICAN DREAM The U.S. is becoming increasingly open to adapting international formats, most recently with scripted and interactive programs.
Assistant Editor Joel Marino Online Director Simon Weaver
—Kristin Brzoznowski Production & Design Director Victor L. Cuevas
Art Director Phyllis Q. Busell
47 LIONSGATE’S KEVIN BEGGS The chairman of Lionsgate’s television group talks about working with talent, digital platforms and new ways of producing TV.
Sales & Marketing Director Cesar Suero Business Affairs Manager Terry Acunzo
—Anna Carugati Senior Editor Kate Norris Copy Editor Maddy Kloss
Ricardo Seguin Guise President
WORLD SCREEN is published nine times per year: January, March, April, May, June/July, September, October, November and December. Annual subscription price: Inside the U.S.: $70.00 Outside the U.S.: $120.00 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.worldscreen.com.
Anna Carugati Executive VP & Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development
40 THE LEADING ONLINE DAILY NEWS SERVICE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA INDUSTRY. For a free subscription, visit www.worldscreen.com/pages/newsletter
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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 ©2014 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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contents JANUARY 2014/NATPE EDITION
These targeted magazines appear both inside World Screen and as separate publications:
LEARNING TO SHARE Driven by the desire to share risks and profits, producers and broadcasters are using co-production models to get shows made 60…INTERVIEWS Hasbro’s Stephen Davis 66…AwesomenessTV’s Brian Robbins 68
FREE TV Top terrestrial channels 114…INTERVIEWS Sof ía Vergara 132…Viacom’s
Discovery’s Enrique Martínez 164…NBCUniversal’s Joe Uva 189…Televisa’s Emilio Azcárraga 192…DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg 202… Netflix’s Ted Sarandos 210…FIC’s Hernán López 216…Eugenio Derbez 227
LOVE STORIES Telenovelas continue to be popular with global audiences 142…INTERVIEW Aracely Arámbula 148
IN DEMAND Distributors discuss key trends in the market 174… BOYS’ CLUB A look at action programming for boys 180…INTERVIEW Nickelodeon’s Cyma Zarghami 184
World Screen Distributors Guide 2014 Don’t miss out on being included in the most comprehensive guide to the top distributors in the entertainment industry. BONUS DISTRIBUTION AT MIPTV. Space Reservations / March 5
Ad Materials / March 10
For more information, please contact Ricardo Guise (email@example.com)
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world milestones view BY ANNA CARUGATI
Living Life Through Our Screens I recently travelled to Israel and was invited to watch the live broadcast of the hit talent competition show Rising Star. The studio audience that evening consisted mainly of young teenage girls. They were openly smitten with the show’s hunky host. And like teenagers everywhere, they vocalized their appreciation loudly and enthusiastically! Also, like teenage girls everywhere, they were furiously taking photos on their smartphones. I observed them for quite some time: they were watching the competition unfold almost entirely through their smartphones.The live action was right there, just a few feet in front of them, but they preferred to watch through their small screens. Here in New York, my daughter attended a concert of Paramore and she and her friends did exactly the same thing. She came home with dozens of photos and even a number of videos of the performance taken with her iPhone. I’m not saying this is a habit that is exclusive to adolescents. At my daughter’s dance recital just a couple of weeks ago, I was clicking away, taking photos on my iPhone so I could send them to my mother, who was not present, and my son shot a video of the entire recital on his phone. We were surrounded by parents all doing the same thing, whether on phones or iPads; hardly anyone was looking directly at the stage. Of course, we want images to help us remember these very speDISRUPTION cial moments, but I recently ran across a news report about a study IN THE MEDIA that shows that taking pictures of an event actually diminishes our to remember it. We rely so BUSINESS IS THE ability much on the fact that we have pictures that we focus less intently NEW NORMAL. on the concert or dance or whatever, and we remember less of it. Nevertheless, we are beholden to looking at many of the most important moments of our lives through a lens or on a screen. Have you been to a conference or awards ceremony lately? If there are large screens showing the speaker or awardee, don’t our eyes always meander over to the screen rather than the person, even if he or she is just feet away? I discovered, much to my amazement, that this fascination with looking at life through a lens or on a screen is nothing new. Here in New York, The Frick Collection had a special exhibit of paintings of Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch masters. If you are not familiar with Vermeer, please Google “Officer and Laughing Girl” or “Mistress and Maid.”Vermeer’s genius was in rendering scenes of everyday life, most often figures standing or 10 World Screen 1/14
seated in a room, engaged in very ordinary activities— talking, writing a letter, pouring milk—but in a most extraordinary way. His painstaking precision in depicting light, shadow, the details of fabric, texture and expression is mesmerizing. I did a bit of research into his technique and I discovered that many scholars believe that he looked at the scenes he wanted to paint through a camera obscura, a precursor to cameras and photography. He did this because the device offered a sharper image of the scene he wanted to paint. It allowed him to see details and the perspective between objects and figures more clearly—a more real, precise reality. I’m not so sure we are searching for a more real, precise reality when we look at scenes through our smartphones. But I do know that we look at mobile devices a whole lot. A recent study by Ericsson of a sample of nearly 20,000 individuals in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, representing some 550 million people, found that 72 percent of the people surveyed use mobile devices at least weekly for video viewing and 42 percent do this outside the home. Mobile devices are so beloved or essential that they are not put down even when watching a larger screen, like the TV. In fact, 75 percent of the people in the Ericsson study multitask by using mobile devices while watching TV. One in four even watch multiple video sources at the same time. And these are not only young viewers. Actually, as many as 41 percent of the 65- to 69-yearolds surveyed stream on-demand or time-shifted TV and video content, including YouTube, on a more than weekly basis.The study also found that “the value of linear TV is becoming more focused on live sports, events and other content with high ‘here and now’ appeal. Social viewing continues to be closely linked to this kind of content.” We have all learned by now that every new screen that becomes available tends to disrupt the business model of the screen that came before it. Disruption in the media business is the new normal. Smart and forwardlooking individuals and companies find their way around the disruption. And certainly more screens mean more opportunities for creative people to come up with more and more content, which keeps us more and more connected to our screens.
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milestones viewpoint BY MANSHA DASWANI
The Year in Review Media and entertainment companies are feeling upbeat about the global economy this year, according to a recent EY survey. Of the executives surveyed, 68 percent were feeling positive about the economy continuing to rebound this year. EY also reported that the media and entertainment business will outperform major global stock-market indices for the first time in five years, thanks in part to rising digital revenues.This bullish outlook is expected to drive further M&A activity in the media business this year following a busy 2013. Last year’s mega deals included Comcast’s acquisition of GE’s stake in NBCUniversal and Liberty Global’s takeover of Virgin Media. Liberty Global also upped its stake in Holland’s Ziggo and sold off its Chellomedia business to AMC Networks for $1 billion. Vodafone struck a deal to buy KDG, Germany’s largest cable platform. Advertising giants Omnicom and Publicis agreed to merge. CBS Corporation became Lionsgate’s partner in TV Guide Network. Bell Media finally received regulatory clearance for its Astral takeover. Many big content production and distribution companies got bigger, and everyone was eager to THE ENTERTAINMENT explore opportunities in online video. Continued demands by consumers to BUSINESS WILL access content when they want it will help drive further activity in the entertainOUTPERFORM MAJOR deal ment, media and communications sector, PwC predicts. GLOBAL STOCK-MARKET Indeed, digital continued to revolutionize the content business last year, led by INDICES FOR THE FIRST streaming service Netflix. Its original programming efforts TIME IN FIVE YEARS. bore fruit as House of Cards notched up a slew of Emmy nominations and Orange Is the New Black cemented binge viewing as the new normal. For legacy cable and satellite platforms, TV Everywhere emerged as a crucial strategy in 2013 as they attempted to stem the cord-cutting tide; indeed, study after study indicated that Millennials are increasingly opting for SVOD or free-streaming options for their content fixes. The rise of the “broadbander” will continue to be an issue for pay-TV platforms this year, as will negotiations with broadcasters and cable networks. Among the biggest stories of 2013 was Time Warner Cable’s prolonged spat with CBS Corporation that left millions of customers without the CBS network and Showtime, among others, for weeks. Another issue that is looming large in the pay-TV industry 12 World Screen 1/14
in the U.S. in 2014 is à la carte pricing. In May, Senator John McCain introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress to encourage à la carte packages from pay-TV platforms, allowing customers to select individual channels they want to subscribe to without having to sign up for bundled packages. For free-TV broadcasters, meanwhile, all eyes remained on Aereo, which continued its American expansion throughout 2013 despite legal action from a group of networks. As the year came to a close, the Barry Diller-backed service that provides TV signals online for free said it was ready for the Supreme Court to hear the appeal brought by the consortium of broadcasters. Broadcasters are also anxious for improved ratings that take into account all the viewing that is taking place off the linear screen. Nielsen announced in October that beginning in the 2014-2015 season, it would include mobile viewership in its ratings. All this online viewing did, naturally, take its toll on Blockbuster, which ended its U.S. retail and by-mail DVD distribution operations. The future, by all accounts, is in smart TVs, which are expected to account for half of the TV-set market next year, and connected devices like Apple TV and Roku. The year also cemented the trend of multitasking while watching TV—a Deloitte survey early in the year revealed a 160 percent growth in the number of “digital omnivores,” consumers who own a trio of tablets, smartphones and laptops. Another study in 2013 found a direct link between Twitter chatter and TV ratings. 2013 was also marked by the Greek government’s closure of pubcaster ERT, setting off a firestorm of protests, and the on-again, off-again European airport strike that induced travel panic in thousands of international media executives at the end of MIPCOM. In the run up to this year’s World Cup in Rio, 2013 also saw lots of activity in the sports business. FOX International Channels, for one, spent much of the year ramping up its FOX Sports brand around the world. Al Jazeera Sport continued to spend heavily to shore up broadcast rights to marquee events in the Middle East and invest in beIN Sports. All of these stories, and more, were covered by World Screen’s portfolio of assets last year, which we expanded with the launch of the newsletters TV Kids Daily and TV Drama Weekly. Also new for us in 2013 were print editions in March and September and a brand-new publication, World Screen Reports, made just for the iPad. Look out for more new services from us in 2014 as we continue to bring you the latest news and analysis from the world of international media.
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A+E Networks • Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne • Big History • Contacto Extraterrestre The new series Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne features the mischiefloving Andrew Mayne as he uses magic to help people teach a lesson to those who have wronged them. A+E Networks is highlighting the show alongside Big History, which breaks down the walls between science and history, and Contacto Extraterrestre, about extraterrestrial occurrences in Latin America.“We have one of the richest catalogues covering the most-watched genres on TV, and that makes A+E Networks best placed to meet every buyer’s needs,” says Marielle Zuccarelli, the company’s managing director of international content distribution.“From mega history docs like Big History to character-driven series like the all-new Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne to formats like Barter Kings:The Game, our NATPE offering will have a strong impact on the market.”
“Buyers are looking for bold, entertaining content with larger-thanlife characters that can captivate their audiences.” —Marielle Zuccarelli
Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne
ABC Commercial • 72 Dangerous Animals Australia • Virgins Wanted • Shark Girl
The factual series 72 Dangerous Animals Australia provides a close look at animals that you don’t actually want to get close to. “Australia has an international reputation as a hot spot for deadly creatures, and this is a constant source of fascination for viewers in other countries,” says Emma Levingston, the sales manager for the U.S. and Latin America at ABC Commercial. “This series plays into that fascination and is high in entertainment value.” The company is also presenting Virgins Wanted, which has already generated worldwide media attention, stirring up controversy and conversations as a result. “I’m sure this will translate into sales in many territories,” says Levingston. Shark Girl follows a young woman with an unusual passion for and connection with the feared ocean predators.
“We would like to increase awareness of ABC Commercial’s high-quality properties, to build relationships with new clients, especially in Latin America, and to strengthen relationships with existing clients.” —Emma Levingston Shark Girl
Bandeirantes Communication Group • Natália • Rio Negro • Brazil: The Challenges of a Country You Don’t Know The NATPE program highlights from Bandeirantes Communication Group each reflect aspects of the way life is in Brazil. Natália, for example, follows the journey of a young bride from Rio de Janeiro who is the daughter of a pastor and is given the opportunity to become a model when she turns 18. “Rio Negro shows the most beautiful landscapes around Rio Negro, from the Amazon region to the rich histories of locals,” says Elisa Ayub, the director of international content for Band Contents Distribution.“Brazil: The Challenges of a Country You Don’t Know reveals Brazil’s great cultural variety, emphasizing that the country isn’t just about samba and soccer.” Ayub adds, “We believe that these new high-quality productions will appeal to buyers from all over the world for various platforms.”
“We believe that these new high-quality productions will appeal to buyers from all over the world.” Natália 14 World Screen 1/14
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Beyond Distribution • Hillbilly Preppers • Manufactured • Love It or List It The character-led series Hillbilly Preppers is produced by MorningStar Entertainment for Destination America. It follows the antics inside a shop that specializes in helping people prepare for emergency situations. The lifestyle series Love It or List It, now in its fifth season, is produced by Big Coat Productions for W Network Canada. It features homeowners who must decide whether to fix up their current house or buy a completely new one. From Castlewood Productions for Discovery Channel Canada, Manufactured tells the stories of great products, looking at the manufacturing process from conception through production. Sherry Fynbo, the senior VP of sales for the U.S., Canada and Latin America at Beyond Distribution, believes these shows are appealing because of the strong networks they originate from.
“We’re looking to acquire and produce as much factual programming as possible to serve channels’ needs.” —Sherry Fynbo Hillbilly Preppers
Caracol Television • The Mother in Law • The Sweetest Love • The Voice of Freedom, Helenita Vargas
For Caracol Television, NATPE is one of the most important markets of the year. “It is the start of a new and exciting year with lots of potential to increase our global presence,” says Lisette Osorio, the company’s VP of international sales. “It means a lot for our company since it is the perfect opportunity to see all the Latin buyers, plus some from European and Asian markets as well.”This year, Caracol Television is presenting The Mother in Law, a lighthearted comedy, and The Sweetest Love, a classic telenovela. Another highlight for this year is The Voice of Freedom, Helenita Vargas, a musical series. “For this edition of NATPE, we come loaded with new releases for the international market so that buyers can [choose] from a very diverse catalogue,” says Osorio.
“Without a doubt, these are products that will win the hearts of Latin American audiences everywhere.” —Lisette Osorio The Sweetest Love
Dori Media Group • Taste of Love • Enigma • AHA! Experience Dori Media Group’s Taste of Love is a prime-time studio show that features bachelors and bachelorettes taking part in a cooking competition. The winning couple wins a one-week culinary getaway. Also a studio-based series, AHA! Experience is an entertainment quiz show that deals with the power of perception. “AHA! Experience has a unique concept and a nine-year record of proven success,” says Nadav Palti, the president and CEO of Dori Media Group. Dori is also presenting buyers with the telenovela Enigma, about a comic-strip artist who falls in love with the girl of his dreams, who might just be a figment of his imagination. Palti says that in addition to securing program sales at NATPE, Dori is looking to explore opportunities for fiction co-productions within the Latin American market.
“We will try to deepen our penetration within Latin America and in the U.S. with our new titles.” —Nadav Palti Enigma 16 World Screen 1/14
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Echo Bridge Entertainment • Tu Bebé • Mi Mascota • Aire Yoga In Tu Bebé, host Minerva Borjas, a charismatic young mother, offers practical tips and helpful information centered on conception, pregnancy and infant care. Mi Mascota, meanwhile, is hosted by zoologist and veterinarian Ricardo Timmermann, and delivers news and advice for pet owners.The actress and yoga instructor Anna Silvetti leads the action in Aire Yoga, which guides the audience through a complete yoga session in each program. “These three series address topics of interest for anyone involved in child-caring, pet-caring and self-caring, not only in Latin America but around the world,” says Emilia Nuccio, the president of international distribution at Echo Bridge Entertainment. “These are universal topics that can bring local TV stations great opportunities for new advertising revenues and sponsorships.”
“These are proven shows loved by viewers in the U.S. Hispanic market, and we believe they will travel well for other broadcasters.” —Emilia Nuccio
Gaumont International Television • Hannibal • Hemlock Grove • Barbarella
There are second seasons being delivered for Gaumont International Television’s Hemlock Grove and Hannibal. “Hemlock Grove is really exciting, as it is popular with a wide audience,” says Erik Pack, the company’s head of international distribution and coproduction. “Viewers young and old have responded strongly to this series. Our audience is very vocal and the series has delivered everywhere it has been seen. Hannibal ticks a lot of important boxes for broadcasters around the world: iconic characters, highly promotable, procedural series structure with just enough ongoing story to keep viewers coming back. It has been a real ratings success all over the world.” He adds, “With Barbarella we are again bringing an iconic film character to television, reinventing and creating easily promotable destination television for all kinds of broadcasters.”
“Having both Hannibal and Hemlock Grove coming back for second seasons is really exciting for us and confirms we are making the right kind of shows.” Hemlock Grove
ITV-Inter Medya • Black Rose • In Between • 20 Minutes The dramas Black Rose, In Between and 20 Minutes all achieved stellar ratings performances with their original broadcasts in Turkey. “According to our past experiences, we are sure that they will perform successfully in other territories as well,” says Can Okan, the president and CEO of ITV-Inter Medya. “The stories in each of them are so fascinating that they are addictive for viewers.” Okan says that many broadcasters and distributors from around the world, especially from Western European countries and from Latin America, have already approached the company about the title 20 Minutes. “Our focus this time at NATPE is on licensing 20 Minutes into Latin America,” he notes. Further drama offerings that are available from ITV-Inter Medya include The Family and Prisoners of Love.
“These titles have very high production values, great casts and acting, and are produced by reputable companies.” —Can Okan In Between 18 World Screen 1/14
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Kanal D • Secrets • Love • Waiting for the Sun Kanal D has had much success in placing its Turkish drama series with broadcasters around the world, and is looking to further its international efforts by now offering shows with shorter episode orders. Its new lineup features titles that have 13 or 26 episodes, rather than the high-volume series previously offered. “The broadcasters that do not want to commit for hundreds of episodes will have the opportunity to present their audience with high-quality drama,” says Kerim Emrah Turna, an international sales executive at Kanal D. The company is showcasing the 13x90-minute series Secrets and Love, as well as the 26x90-minute Waiting for the Sun. Kanal D also has its eye on securing format sales for its catalogue of scripted dramas.
“In 2014 we will be focusing more on scripted-format sales.” —Kerim Emrah Turna Love
Keshet International • Rising Star • Face 2 Face • Prisoners of War
Among the broadcasters set to air a local adaptation of the interactive talent format Rising Star is Globo in Brazil. “It is our goal that Rising Star makes a huge splash in the market when it launches in Brazil, and we look forward to growing the format franchise across the region,” says Kelly Wright, sales director at Keshet International. The company is also looking to close deals on the studio dating series Face 2 Face and the drama Prisoners of War. “Drama series and shiny-floor entertainment series are the hallmarks of Latin American television,” says Wright. “The Israeli twists on the genres are now making their way into the region and are revolutionizing the type of programming that has been a steady part of TV viewing for decades. The response has been overwhelming.”
“We’re looking forward to increasing our number of clients in Latin America for both formats and finished series in 2014.” Face 2 Face
Lionsgate Entertainment • Tequila Sisters • Chasing Life • Saint George Dubbed the Latino Kardashians, the Marins are a wealthy and traditional Mexican-American family. They are the focus of the new docu-soap Tequila Sisters, on offer from Lionsgate Entertainment.Also a top offering from the company is Chasing Life, which marks the first series produced by Lionsgate’s South Shore joint venture with Televisa. The drama is about a twentysomething aspiring journalist who is working her way up the corporate ladder. There’s also the half-hour comedy Saint George, starring George Lopez. “Each of these brand-new shows has a broad worldwide appeal and also a Latin American spark and flavor, which we are certain will pique the interest of free TV and digital acquisitions executives from across the region and beyond at NATPE,” says Peter Iacono, the managing director of international television.
“Our focus is always to broaden our current partnerships and foster new relationships.” —Peter Iacono Chasing Life 20 World Screen 1/14
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Mission Pictures International • Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio • Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming • Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon The Love Finds You franchise is a popular 50-book series published by Guideposts featuring strong female stories taking place in each of the 50 states in the U.S. Mission Pictures has adapted this franchise with the production of Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, which is in post-production for a planned March delivery. There are two other features coming down the pipeline as well: Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming, which heads into production in March, and Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon, starting production in late 2014. “With the strength of the book series, we believe these films will be the launch of a smash series of films that will be loved the world over,” says Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, the president of Mission Pictures International.
“We have a precise and effective strategy for tapping into the family demographic and the 25- to 50year-old demographic, which is extremely important to our buyers.” —Chevonne O’Shaughnessy Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio
Multicom Entertainment Group • John Paul II: A Man, A Saint • Golden Age of Television Series • Gangster Mob Features
The feature John Paul II: A Man, A Saint tells the true story of a friendship born on the mountain peaks in Northern Italy between the late Pope John Paul II and his private ski instructor. The 90-minute movie, which stars Aleksei Guskov and Giorgio Pasotti, is currently in production. Multicom Entertainment Group is offering the title, along with more than 700 hours of programming from the Golden Age of Television Series package. Among the titles in this package are Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, The Invisible Man and Decoy. Multicom also has two movies that are part of its Gangster Mob Features offering: Send No Flowers and The Night Never Sleeps.The company also has a package of factual, history, biographies and documentaries, which boasts more than 3,000 hours of programming.
John Paul II: A Man, A Saint
Nippon Television Network • AHA! Experience • Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! • The Easygoing Police Nippon Television Network co-developed the format AHA! Experience with Dori Media. “The original program has been earning top ratings for many years in Japan,” says Mikiko Nishiyama, the director of international business development at Nippon Television Network.“This easy-to-understand entertainment quiz show can be adapted for the afternoon or prime time.” Nippon also has in its catalogue Hajime no Ippo:The Fighting!, an anime series. “We believe this series will be appealing for this market since boxing is a popular sport in Latin America, and the series has already been successful in Japan and other countries around the world,” says Nishiyama.There is also the romantic dramedy The Easygoing Police, which, Nishiyama says, “has a universal theme and appeals to all ages.”
“We plan to focus on further co-developments with production companies and distributors from outside of Japan.” Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! 22 World Screen 1/14
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Peace Point Rights • The DNA of GSP • Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure • Food Truck Face Off The Mixed Martial Arts champion Georges St-Pierre is the focus of the documentary The DNA of GSP. “Given that MMA was born in Latin America, we expect to do some brisk business on this project during NATPE,” says Les Tomlin, the president and CEO of Peace Point Entertainment. Peace Point Rights is also presenting Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure, a home-makeover series; the culinarybased Food Truck Face Off; and Frontier Vets, a lifestyle show about students at an animal clinic. “Food Truck Face Off is a new competition/elimination series with a food angle that appeals to a broad audience,” says Tomlin. “We expect to close some deals on the finished series, as well as the format, at NATPE.”
“As Peace Point Rights celebrates its second anniversary at NATPE, we are building upon our already great relationships with international channels by offering them more top-quality programming.” The DNA of GSP
Starz Worldwide Distribution • Black Sails • The White Queen • Category 5
Just before the official kickoff of NATPE, the new Starz original series Black Sails makes its U.S. debut. “There is much anticipation and excitement for this series, and although we have sold it heavily throughout the world (and several territories will be launching around this time), we are still finalizing a few remaining deals,” says Gene George, the executive VP of Starz Worldwide Distribution. “Our other exciting show is a Starz limited series, The White Queen, which was nominated for three Golden Globes. We also have a new action/disaster film, Category 5, which has been doing very well for us.” George says that there are plans to expand the amount of original programming on Starz from 36 hours in 2013 to around 65 to 75 hours in the next few years.
“Starz original series travel extremely well internationally and have provided a tremendous boost to our business and larger relationships.” Black Sails
TANDEM Communications • Sex, Lies and Handwriting • Crossing Lines • Pirate’s Passage TANDEM Communications has partnered with Lionsgate on the new one-hour drama series Sex, Lies and Handwriting (working title). “The series is not only a crime procedural, but also has a lighter, wittier side, too,” says Rola Bauer, the president and partner at TANDEM. “Procedural series of high quality are always in demand around the world, especially when they give a fresh angle to the crime genre. With Sex, Lies and Handwriting, we hope to build on the success of our current series Crossing Lines.” A second season of the global crime drama Crossing Lines is in production. The company is also offering Pirate’s Passage, a new animated film that was written and produced by Donald Sutherland and Brad Peyton.
“Creative, fresh and well-written story lines with original and compelling characters are the basics for any successful series.” Crossing Lines 24 World Screen 1/14
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in the news
Ryan Kavanaugh By Mansha Daswani
Last year, Forbes dubbed Ryan Kavanaugh the mostwatched man in Hollywood. In just a few years, Kavanaugh has made Relativity Media, which he leads as CEO, a major force in Tinseltown with his “risk-mitigated” approach to moviemaking. The studio, which received a cash injection from billionaire investor Ron Burkle in 2012, has been involved in the production, distribution or financing of 200plus feature film titles, among them David Fincher’s The Social Network, Limitless with Bradley Cooper and Luc Besson’s The Family. Its recently established television division has developed a roster of unscripted offerings, most notably the MTV hit Catfish: The TV Show, and it now has a number of scripted titles on the way, beginning with Act of Valor, based on the movie of the same name, with TANDEM Communications for National Geographic Channel. It also operates a music division and a sports agency. Kavanaugh recently met with World Screen to talk about using movies as pilots, cord-cutters and giving consumers one platform to access a broad range of content.
WS: Tell us about the expansion into scripted TV content. KAVANAUGH: We are more known as a film company.
One of the things we’ve always done within all of our businesses is find the inefficiencies that exist in a 100-year-old studio system and try to change the model. That’s what we did in film. One of the issues we had as we looked at the scripted television model was, there were really three ways people were doing it. You spend millions of dollars on a pilot and you 26 World Screen 1/14
throw it on the air and it doesn’t work and then you’ve wasted millions of dollars, plus advertising. You skip the pilot and make ten episodes and spend tens of millions of dollars and if it doesn’t work then you cancel. Or you go to some third party to try and write that check and they lose tens of millions of dollars. With the TV model you don’t have data, so you’re taking effectively unlimited risk in the piloting model. Even on the [scripted shows] that work, it takes so many years to start making money. It was a model that was extremely hard to crack. The reality model worked really well for us. It was riskmitigated, with a nice continuous profit margin. Catfish is actually what led us into the scripted model. One of the things that frustrated me was, movies would come out that didn’t quite perform and it seemed like people would tell me they loved those movies more than the ones that did perform. When Catfish the movie came out it did $3 million—we didn’t lose money but it wasn’t the success we wanted it to be. But again I was hearing all over the place, I saw Catfish, I loved it. The one thing that was unique about that particular group of people was, it wasn’t banker friends, it wasn’t actors or directors, it was 15to 23-year-olds. I had this epiphany. Movies are made for a broad spectrum. You spend tens of millions on marketing, so if you only hit a small segment, they might love it, but that correlates to a number that doesn’t really make sense in the movie business. When
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Feeling the love: Relativity’s 2011 action thriller Limitless, which stars Bradley Cooper, is now being adapted for TV as a series.
you translate that to TV, it becomes a very interesting model. I can look at any movie now, and from the exit polling, the research, we have 15 times the data on movies as any pilot would ever have. I know what audiences liked, what they didn’t like, almost scene by scene. What characters they liked. Was it too dark, too light? I know the exit polls by age range, by demographic, by genre. Movies are the greatest pilots ever known. We’ve got the story line, we know what the audience wants, we know what we can change to make it better. Catfish was our first trial on that. The first episode [of Catfish: The TV Show] had 2.7 million viewers. There were 6 million or 7 million people that invested in the franchise [by watching the movie] and a third of them liked it enough to continue on with television. That’s what led to [plans to make TV series out of ] Limitless and Act of Valor. Limitless has 20 million people invested in the franchise. I can understand everything [audiences] liked about it. Did they like the love story? Do they want him to have a girlfriend or be a single guy? Do they want him to be more of a superhero or do they like his intellect? We can take all the data [we have from the feature] and drive a series with millions in marketing already spent on the brand. 28 World Screen 1/14
WS: Can you take what you know from audience
research in the film world to try and get better data on TV shows? KAVANAUGH: I don’t think you can, and that’s why it’s unique that we can do this. One of the reasons we can get this data is because we have people who are physically walking into movie theaters and buying tickets and we have people who are physically buying it on iTunes or on DVD—anything that’s not free or pay TV, we get all the data. The problem with TV is, you know who is subscribing, you don’t necessarily know who in the household is watching. The only way to poll is to call up homes randomly and ask, “What did you think?” That’s not the best way to do a market study. So it puts us in a unique position. We have that data and can use it to launch multiple successful shows. WS: How do you take a 90-minute story and start thinking about how to extend into an 8-, 10-, 13-part series? KAVANAUGH: You can’t do it on every movie. We’ll probably do five or six a year. I think Limitless is really simple—a guy takes a pill and it unlocks 100 percent of his brain and he basically has supernatural powers. You have a bad guy who wants the pills and a guy
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Ready for action: The first scripted series to come from Relativity’s TV division is Act of Valor, which is being produced for National Geographic Channel.
who wants to use them for good. Act of Valor—we’re taking real stories that happened to Navy SEALs and weaving in a fictitious story line. I’m not going to be able to make Mirror Mirror into a series. But Immortals I can definitely take into a series. The Family could be a great series. You have to be discerning. There are certainly going to be four to six every year that we can spin off. WS: How important is the international co-production model for you? KAVANAUGH: It’s important but not that important. Normally in this model, when you’re going to a network or a cabler or a co-financier, you’re saying, We’ll put in half, you’ll put in half. Because we already spent $50 million, $60 million, $70 million on worldwide marketing, because the brand already has value, we believe that our contribution of the IP is equal to or greater than a 50 percent contribution. The movie has already covered its risk. We’re contributing value, they put up the cash—it becomes a partnership where we don’t need the international co-productions. Having said that, international co-productions make it more profitable for everyone, so if we can do them and it makes sense and it doesn’t hurt the content, then we’ll do them. WS: Tell me about the “theory of everything” you
talked about in your keynote at MIPCOM in Cannes in October. KAVANAUGH: With TV Everywhere, it’s not about if it’s coming, it’s not about if the cord is being cut, it’s right here. Nine percent of homes have never paid for television in the U.S. Eleven percent have cut the cord. So 20 percent of the U.S. audience is already off of those [pay-TV] boxes. Forty-five percent of Americans say that they think cable and satellite are too expensive. Every study says 30 percent of the current subscribing audience is at risk of turning it off. At Netflix, half of their audience doesn’t pay for any other form of television. The writing is on the wall. 30 World Screen 1/14
We have ten-plus movies a year, 30 series on the air, we’re the second-largest sports agency, we’ve been putting out five to ten hours of original sports content every week, we have a music business, we own a fashion agency. We’ve set ourselves up to be what we believe is the only place that has created a 360-degree content platform. People have to go to numerous places [to consume content]. We’re setting up a “theory of everything,” which is one screen, you’ve got it all. Your movies, your TV, your scripted, your unscripted, your sports programming, fashion programming, horror programming. We think no one else is ready to do this. One of the important things to take away from this is, the debate doesn’t need to happen. If 50 percent are going to be cord-cutters, 50 percent are not. When you look at the dynamics of those two audiences, they’re a little bit opposite. Those who will continue to pay for cable or satellite, they want to be able to watch The Bachelor at 8 o’clock on Thursday. They want it right then. The 50 percent that’s cut the cord doesn’t care about first run. They’re binge-consuming audiences, so they’ll wait until the entire season is done. The two worlds can coexist. WS: But those who are cutting the cord are also not watching live sports. KAVANAUGH: That’s where it’s interesting for us. Number one, the cablers and satellite do hold sports hostage. When you look at what’s out there today, you can watch the games or pre- and post-shows. The people who are cutting [the cord] are making the decision that it’s not important enough for them to pay the $100 a month to get the sports. They probably want it, but they can’t get it. We’re the second-largest sports agency in the world, so part of the reason that we’re putting ten hours of sports content out a week is that we will give audiences, rather than the games, a connection to be able to interact and see their sports idols or icons in action.
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in the behind thenews scenes
Andie MacDowell By Anna Carugati
As a feature film actress, Andie MacDowell is known to her fans for the movies Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Groundhog Day. With the Hallmark Channel original series Cedar Cove, MacDowell has reached a whole new group of fans, viewers who were searching for a show that was less dark than many of the serialized dramas on television today. In Cedar Cove, MacDowell plays Judge Olivia Lockhart, considered the guiding light of the coastal town’s community, who struggles to balance her career, family and love life. MacDowell talks about the series, which set audience records for Hallmark Channel last summer and has been renewed for a second season.
WS: What appealed to you about the
project? MACDOWELL: I just think the
world is such a hard place, and there’s nothing on television that makes me feel good. There’s so much on television—and I’m not putting it down, because there’s a lot of creative stuff—but it’s all really dark and edgy and I watch it and I can’t sleep and I don’t feel good, and it’s almost like the cells in my body are upset. Plus, the news is very depressing. And there’s no way to just feel good: to watch TV and be intellectually stimulated; go to a place that’s beautiful, go on a journey with these people, and when I finish watching [an episode], I’m in a good mood. That is Cedar Cove. When I read [the script, I felt] I would love to be in this place, and if I work in this place, I get to go to this place all the time. WS: What do you like about Olivia? She’s strong but she certainly has a soft side as well. MACDOWELL: Yes. I really liked that she’s a great role model for women and for 32 World Screen 1/14
girls in general; that she is the pillar of the community. I liked that a lot, that everybody’s turning to her for guidance. And I love the relationships between her, her mother and her daughter—these three generations of women— and that the focus is a lot on women. We have wonderful male characters, but I liked that there [were strong] females and that I could be pulling the cart, in a sense. WS: Looking at the craft of acting, do you exercise differ-
ent muscles when you jump into a movie, which shoots in a couple of months, as opposed to exploring a character on television for multiple episodes? MACDOWELL: Yes, it’s been really interesting for me. And it’s great to be growing in my craft. It’s fascinating because I don’t know where Olivia’s going to go quite often. So I might make decisions and think that this is how she is, and then I have to bend a little bit and I might be uncomfortable bending. But I also found that I was opinionated about what she would and wouldn’t do. Sometimes I would say lines probably different than they wanted me to, but just because I was adamant that this is how she felt.When you live the person, you know this person; you’ve got to be sure you’re on the same page with whoever’s writing the material. That’s been interesting. And the hours and the pace and the lack of preparation, that’s been interesting. But I’m OK with it. I like it and I like the opportunity to actually live with somebody and see how I can improve. WS: How closely tied to the books’ plotlines are the story lines of the TV episodes? MACDOWELL: [The show is based] on Debbie Macomber’s books, and she has a huge fan base. In the beginning, we were worried about how strongly they were going to feel about sticking to the stories. But we have discovered from the process of making the first season that people are open to the idea of balancing creativity with what happened already in the books. So it gives us a little bit more wiggle room to make creative decisions. In the first season, there is this enormous attraction between Jack and Olivia. There are some issues because of their jobs: he being the reporter and she being the judge.They have to respect each other, yet still be true to their vocations. And then Olivia’s husband comes back for the first time (he had left after the death of their son). His way of dealing with the death was just to avoid any feeling whatsoever, and he left. He comes back to tell Olivia that he’s really ready to try to deal with this and he would like her help. She so much wants the opportunity to go through that, because she never had it. It was a huge part of her life. But is that really what he wants? Is that really all he wants? Maybe he’s having trouble seeing Olivia move on. He might be one of those men who want a little bit of everything in his life. But we’ll have to see.
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Cecile Frot-Coutaz Prior to being named CEO of FremantleMedia in 2012, Cecile Frot-Coutaz had spent seven years at the helm of FremantleMedia North America, where she oversaw the company’s three biggest franchises—American Idol, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent—in the world’s largest television market. Managing those mega-brands, she saw firsthand the importance of incorporating digital and sponsorship into the production of shows. As she tells World Screen, she used that approach to television production when she recently restructured the company and reorganized its production and distribution activities under two large units: FremantleMedia and FremantleMedia International.
WS: What are the advantages of FremantleMedia’s new setup? FROT-COUTAZ: We used to be structured in two big parts. We used to have our production businesses on the one hand, and then we had one division called FremantleMedia Enterprises, which was our distribution company, our kids’ company, and then digital, sponsorship, live events and consumer products. That was managed as its own business, separately from the creation and the production of the shows. In today’s day and age, you need your digital people and your sponsorship people to be close to the people who are creating and producing the shows. When we had structured the business that way some ten years ago, it was the right thing to do—we could not be where we are today if we hadn’t separated [digital from production] because we needed to start that [digital] business. But now that we are in the digital business and we have the capabilities, it was time to move the people who know about digital and know about sponsorship close to the creators of the shows. The reason being, if you’re either managing an existing franchise, for example The X Factor or Idol, as the person who manages that franchise you need to have the holistic view of the whole picture, not, Oh, I’m just doing the production; somebody else is doing the rest. It all needs to be together and to work hand in hand. And likewise, if you’re creating a new show, today you can’t create a new show without thinking about digital in particular, and brands, and how brands might fit into the show. You need to have a holistic view of your market and you need all the people who work in the company to be pointing in the same direction and to have one goal. If you have two different bits, they tend to go in different places, and in today’s world, that doesn’t work anymore. WS: Is there shared know-how or shared best practices and creativity among FremantleMedia’s network of production companies?
FROT-COUTAZ: Our network is
our life and blood. Fremantle is really about those people who are on the ground every day, who run [the businesses in] local markets: we have local distribution people, we have local licensing people—that’s what it’s about. And really what makes the company what it is is the connection between those people. One of the things that make us who we are today is connecting creativity. We do that at the markets twice a year, we do that outside of the markets; we have global teams who make sure we share best practices, who make sure we share the IP, and who make sure that we stay close, as a company, to what’s happening on the ground. Our creatives on the ground need support from time to time, around specific shows, around specific bits of IP. So that network is absolutely critical, and so is making sure it’s strong and supported, at any given point in time. WS: Are you seeing any trends in the market that are
different from a couple of years ago? FROT-COUTAZ: We’re in a cyclical business. As TV
producers, I don’t know if it’s because we lack originality, but when there’s a trend, everybody embarks on that trend. It’s like, Oh, this is working, then everybody says that’s what they want. So we’ve seen a time when game shows were big, then they went away and now they’re coming back a little bit. But the big thing today is scripted; it’s having a resurgence in a number of markets. That’s quite exciting. In the end, we’re all storytellers. With film talent moving into TV, it’s really elevated the quality of the storytelling. Scripted is having a bit of a golden era. And with new platforms coming on board that are prepared to fund scripted shows, people have been willing to take creative risks, and there’s been some amazing programming that’s come out of not just the U.S., but the U.K., Scandinavia, Germany—absolutely fantastic programming. So, from that standpoint, we’re going through a very exciting time creatively. 1/14 World Screen 35
By Anna Carugati
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in the spotlight news
NBCUniversal’s JoeUva When Joe Uva was named chairman of Hispanic enterprises and content at NBCUniversal last year, he took over a portfolio that includes the broadcast network Telemundo, the cable channel mun2, production studios, a distribution arm, a news operation and digital assets. Uva, who was president and CEO of Univision Communications from 2007 to 2011, has considerable experience with managing media targeted to U.S. Hispanics. He is tasked with keeping Telemundo on its path of producing quality programming, increasing its ratings and diversifying its schedule, as well as overseeing efforts to share content and find opportunities between Telemundo and mun2 and the English-language brands and channels within NBCUniversal.
WS: In what ways are you increasing
By Anna Carugati
the presence of Telemundo’s programming on NBCUniversal networks and platforms? UVA: It’s not just taking Telemundo content and putting it on other NBCU properties. It’s also about looking at brands, content and properties that reside on other NBC networks and seeing which can be adapted to Telemundo or mun2. Let’s take a property like The Voice; it’s a megahit for NBC. La Voz Kids [The Voice Kids] is a megahit for Telemundo. We’ve taken the same basic program and adapted it to resonate with a younger demo. Doing La Voz Kids is a way for us to connect with the Hispanic community, and the beauty is that there is only 10 percent audience duplication between The Voice and The Voice Kids and that’s from the bilingual community. Another example is Top Chef. It has been a wonderfully successful franchise for Bravo. We’ve made a deal with Bravo and in the first quarter of 2014 we will be debuting a celebrity version of Top Chef on Telemundo on Sunday nights, called Top Chef: Estrellas. And Telemundo is working with NBC. Our second most successful telenovela of all time, El señor de los cielos, is being considered for development at NBC as a prime-time series. WS: Has Telemundo’s advertising sales force been
working with NBCUniversal’s to get more Englishlanguage advertisers to address the Hispanic market? UVA: The 2013-14 Upfront market was the first time the NBCUniversal portfolio of networks, including Telemundo, went to the advertising market as one. Telemundo benefitted from being involved in discussions 36 World Screen 1/14
and negotiations much earlier than has been the historical practice, which also led to a record take for our network. At the same time, Telemundo remained focused on those agencies that only deal with multicultural budgets and Hispanics, to make sure that we covered the entire market. What has really turned advertisers’ heads is that NBCUniversal reaches over 90 percent of the U.S. Hispanic market in any given four-week period, regardless of language—that is a total of 53 million Hispanic Americans in the country. The second closest competitor is 21st Century Fox; they reach 68 percent. Univision is third, roughly tied with Disney and Time Warner. We are the only media company that can truly provide a one-stop shop to reach the U.S. Hispanic community.
WS: What types of programming is Telemundo focusing on in order to increase ratings? UVA: Univision has a very unique programming pipeline and business model for content acquisition through its agreement with Televisa. We, on the other hand, are producing our own content in Miami and in Mexico, and we are working with third parties to tap into programming that we think will resonate with the community. Let’s just talk about one hour of prime time, which is probably the best example of where there has been a pretty big shift—the hour from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. In 2012, in that hour, Telemundo’s share of adults 18 to 49 was 22 percent. In 2013, we grew it to 32 percent, an increase of 10 share points. Univision, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., had a 66 share and fell 8 points to a 58 share. UniMás lost 1 share point. The difference is we have made an investment in what we refer to as super-series that have fewer episodes than a classic telenovela, which usually runs 120-plus episodes. Our series at 10 p.m. are much more action-oriented, faster-paced, high-impact, and run 65 to 70 episodes. The quality is very good. We have significantly increased what we spend per episode. This year we had some great success with this new format.They attract a younger, more upscale audience than Univision’s 10 p.m. novelas. A gain of 10 share points over the course of a full year is pretty good growth. We have also invested heavily in our 9 p.m. telenovelas, which are more of a classic nature, but we have increased their production value. We have attracted very wellknown talent. In 2013, we aired the telenovela La patrona, starring Aracely Arámbula. It did extraordinarily well and has become an international success for us. That helped drive a 5 percent share increase year-on-year among 18 to 49 versus 2012.That 5 point increase came directly out of Univision and UniMás. Univision lost 4 points, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. in 2013. UniMás lost 1 share point. By providing an alternative with programs that are more contemporary, by tying in multi-screen opportunities and really focusing on scripts, talent and adaptations that we believe are right for our audience, we are showing that we can have consistent growth.
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in the latin beat news
Jonathan Blum Jonathan Blum was recently appointed president of the newly created Cisneros Media, a division of the Cisneros Group of Companies (CGC) that encompasses all the media and entertainment businesses of one of the world’s leading concerns focused on the fast-growing worldwide Hispanic market. Cisneros Media includes Venevisión, the largest broadcaster and content creator in Venezuela; the distribution company Cisneros Media Distribution (formerly Venevision International); cable networks throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as publishing, record labels and the Miss Venezuela Organization. Blum was the general manager of Venevisión prior to taking the helm of Cisneros Media, and he reports directly to Adriana Cisneros, the CEO of CGC.
By Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari
WS: Tell us about the recently formed Cisneros Media. BLUM: A huge challenge that we have right now [is
that] we are managing in one unit all the media and entertainment businesses of the Cisneros Group of Companies, which range from free TV, pay TV, production companies, a distribution arm, a music label and beauty contests. The truth is, it’s a wide portfolio of businesses. I will be relying a lot on the current leadership of the organization. We are making some changes; we are starting to produce television series in our studios in the U.S. One new initiative we started last year was the reality show surrounding the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant. It gave the audience the opportunity to interact with the content in a 360-degree manner, on free TV, pay TV and also digital platforms.
up with a product that has more value, that helps you expand your brand and has the potential to travel. That was the case with what we did last year, particularly with Miss Venezuela; we associated ourselves with three different co-producers for three different products. With Sony Entertainment Television we produced the reality show Miss Venezuela, todo por la corona [Miss Venezuela, Everything for the Crown]. It aired on Venevisión in Venezuela, and on the same evening it aired throughout Latin America on Sony Entertainment Television, and the same week it aired in the U.S. Hispanic market on Univision. We are also co-producing a documentary with the BBC that looks behind the scenes of the pageant: the lives of the different contestants, where they come from and their families. The documentary isn’t finished yet, but I’m sure that it will be very interesting. In addition, the night of the pageant, we did a coproduction with E! Entertainment Television where, for the first time, we covered the red carpet, in the same way E! covers the red carpet for major awards ceremonies like the Oscars. We did this for the first time in Venezuela and it was very interesting. In the area of drama production, we are also looking to form co-productions with big players in the region because this allows us to enrich our story lines and make product that can travel to other countries.
WS: How are you modifying your internationaldistribution business to accommodate today’s digital, multiplatform world? BLUM: In growing our distribution effort, we are relying not only on the content that we produce but we are also broadening out our portfolio with thirdparty content. In terms of digital, for all of our current productions we are also producing exclusive content for digital platforms, so our audience can not only watch our content on TV, they can also go online and see exclusive content. WS: The company has been involved in a number of
co-productions, including ones with the BBC, Sony Entertainment Television and E! Entertainment Television. Why are these deals advantageous? BLUM: I believe that co-production allows you to join forces with people that complement you, and you end 38 World Screen 1/14
Love connection: Cisneros Media Distribution represents a broad catalogue of content, including the novela Sweet Thing.
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Global Agency’s Keep Your Light Shining.
The U.S. is becoming increasingly open to adapting international formats, most recently with scripted and interactive programs. By Kristin Brzoznowski
or a long time, the U.S. has been one of the most coveted markets for format distributors— and also one of the hardest to crack. But things are beginning to change in the country often referred to as the land of opportunity. Many sales executives are reporting that the U.S. is becoming increasingly open to importing and adapting international ideas. This newfound openness has been spurred by a string of wildly successful hits over the last decade. Among the early movers in this space was Endemol, whose Big Brother had a major impact on the
TV landscape when the series launched in 2000.Today, 15 seasons in, the show has proven to be one of the most resilient concepts of the reality-TV era. Just a few years after the launch of Big Brother, the U.S. market was again shaken up by a format import, this one from FremantleMedia. American Idol burst onto the scene and became a ratings juggernaut for FOX and a top title for FremantleMedia.According to Thom Beers, the CEO of FremantleMedia North America, “2002 was a seminal year for the company: for it to crack that big format in the U.S. and for the show being such an enormous hit. Between
that and America’s Got Talent and The X Factor, they are three of the biggest entertainment formats in the world out of one little company.” Talent-based competition series gained massive popularity in the States, and countless iterations began to pop up on American TV, to varying degrees of success. And just as audiences were beginning to moan “Not another talent show,” along came The Voice, which reinvigorated the genre. The format, from the Dutch outfit Talpa Media, introduced a simple twist, the blind audition, and the audiences went wild for it. That same year, in 2011, Homeland debuted on Showtime in the
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U.S. While it was an instant hit with viewers and critics alike, few at the time realized that the show is based on an Israeli series, Prisoners of War, from Keshet. The drama has racked up countless awards and accolades, and its success helped to break open the scripted-format market in the U.S. SCRIPTING SUCCESS
“We can accord Prisoners of War and Homeland—and I need to give props to In Treatment as well—for paving the way for Israel as an industry,” says Keren Shahar, the head of distribution and acquisitions at Keshet International. “It
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As the U.S. continues to scout for ideas from further afield,Turkey has emerged on its radar. The Istanbulbased Global Agency is looking to capitalize on this. “Our formats business has made good inroads into the U.S. in the last two years,” says Catherine Stryker, the head of sales at Global Agency. “We have built excellent connections with many of the top production companies in the country and we are on everyone’s radars now. We have built good connections with cable channels and broadcast networks, and it’s only a question of time before we get something on air.” OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
helped to give us an open dialogue with the U.S. Homeland made the U.S., and the world, stand up and pay attention to this little country in the Middle East.” Avi Armoza, the CEO of Armoza Formats, also an Israeli distributor, has been encouraged by this trend. “The appetite for scripted formats in the U.S. has grown hugely,” he says. “The successful series Homeland has of course had a positive effect, opening the door wider for Israeli dramas and giving broadcasters the confidence that Israeli formats can and do travel well.We are currently working with U.S. partners on several of our scripted formats, and the adaptation
of our scripted drama format Hostages aired in the U.S. on CBS to a great response.” Armoza Formats has also had success in the U.S. in the non-scripted space, with its game show Still Standing having aired on NBC. “This was a key entry point into the market for us,” Armoza says. DRG, meanwhile, has done both scripted and non-scripted sales with U.S. broadcasters. Over the last couple of years, Don’t Tell the Bride has been made for OWN, Mad About the House for TLC and Secret Fortune was piloted for CBS. In the scripted space, The Inbetweeners was remade for MTV and Shameless for Showtime.
Most recently, DRG did a deal with LMNO Productions for Slow TV, which follows a journey or a particular event minute by minute. “We look to work with both network and cable broadcasters in the U.S.,” says Andrea Jackson, the managing director of acquisitions and formats at DRG. “It can be a challenge to find an international format idea that can scale up to be big enough for a U.S. network broadcaster, but at the same time, we can see that U.S. channels are open to looking at ideas that may come from anywhere. Strong creativity and distinctive ideas are coming out of smaller markets like Norway, Finland and Belgium.”
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Global Agency has optioned several of its formats, including Perfect Bride, Shopping Monsters and the new quiz show Catch the Answer, and has high hopes for its recently introduced talent show KeepYour Light Shining. Stryker says that she’s also noticed a surge of interest in Turkish scripted formats in the last nine months. “As Turkish drama emerges on the world stage as a serious player, heads are turning in our direction for fresh sources of stories.” She adds, “Scripted formats from Turkey tend to have story lines with a central romantic interest, and many themes are concerned with relationships within extended families. The U.S. market is very interested in crime shows and high-concept dramas. These can be sourced in Turkey, but there are not so many of them.” Endemol, too, is optimistic about scripted remakes in the U.S. “Low Winter Sun for AMC, which is based on the award-winning British miniseries from Endemol-owned U.K. production company Tiger Aspect Productions, and Red Widow for ABC, based on Endemol’s Dutch series Penoza, both converted successfully from development to pilot to series order,” says Charlie Corwin, co-CEO and chairman of Endemol North America. “The Endemol scripted team is working on a number of projects in development, both Endemol-owned formats (Spirited, Prisoners’ Wives, My Mad Fat Diary) and third-party acquired formats (Kingmakers, Spiral, The Source).” Corwin also mentions how getting a format on air in the U.S. can have enormous advantages for a
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Armoza Formats also has experience with rescaling Israeli programs for U.S. audiences. “The U.S. TV culture, mainly because of Hollywood, has viewers who are used to high-budget, fast-paced productions,” says Armoza. “On the one hand, this can add to the excitement and glamour of the show, and on the other hand, it can sometimes take the adaptations to a more unrealistic place. With viewing trends moving toward the very real and gritty, it is important to know when to make these adaptations.” OBSTACLE COURSE
Forming a bond: The U.S. treatment of Shameless, an acclaimed British dramedy represented by DRG, recently debuted in its fourth season on the premium cable channel Showtime.
company’s overall business. “The U.S. is the biggest market in terms of audience and influence, so when a format works here, it tends to drive success around the world,” he says. DRG’s Jackson agrees. “A format on air on a U.S. broadcast network is the best possible platform for international format sales. DRG sells The Singing Bee, and when this show became a hit on NBC, it led to an extraordinary wave of momentum, enabling us to sell the format for production in 32 different countries.” Stijn Bakkers, the chief creative officer and executive producer at Talpa Media USA, gives a nod to the production quality as well. “Production standards in the U.S. are among the highest in the world, and the language is accessible to all, so having an American adaptation of any format is a big plus for international distribution.” Bakkers goes on to explain that there is a prospect for tape sales on that finished American version as well. “There’s a strong and evergrowing demand for Englishlanguage content around the world,” he says.“There are about 100 countries that air a ready-made version of The Voice.”
Armoza has encountered some other issues that have made navigating the American format market somewhat difficult. He explains, “As the U.S. market is still fairly new to the international formats industry, there are several challenges that tend to crop up that can complicate and delay the process. These are definitely improving with time, as both sides learn about each other through these new partnerships. When we first started working with the U.S., it was expected that they could get an option for free. Now it is understood that there is a commercial value to holding a format option, which we’re thrilled about!”
Sales of finished U.S. treatments the episode and the chase and the have also translated into big busi- big CGI. We’re storytellers, and ness for FremantleMedia.“Our tape also we don’t have the budgets to sales are massive,” says Beers, noting blow up cars and helicopters that American Idol is in approxi- every five minutes in a drama. For mately 190 territories, the U.S. American television, it’s usually X Factor in around 190 and America’s about figuring out how to cut to Got Talent in 180. the chase quicker.” According to Beers, the key to adapting a format for the U.S. is to always keep in mind the motto “Bigger is better.” He says, “It’s got to be shinier, louder, bolder, brassier, with bigger prizes. If you’re going to do a format in the U.S., go big or stay home!” When it comes to scripted, having the wow factor is important, and so is getting the pacing right. “You definitely have to up the pace for U.S. television,” says Keshet’s Shahar. “Israeli dramas tend to be a bit slower, because we’re more about the characters and the story and the image than about the big payoff for Long-distance call: The American adaptation of Hostages, a scripted drama from Armoza Formats, the viewer at the end of recently aired on CBS in prime time. 42 World Screen 1/14
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U.S. success: The Israeli drama Prisoners of War, sold by Keshet International, was the basis for the Showtime series Homeland, which has garnered numerous awards and accolades across its three seasons.
While scoring a slot for a format in the U.S. can provide a big advantage, Armoza points out that it could also have the opposite effect. “The U.S. market can make or break a new format; often the downfall of a great format can be the result of something as simple as bad timing. We tend to start with several other territories before going to the U.S., which makes them more open to the format, since it has already been proven, and also gives it more chance to succeed in the rest of the world.” FremantleMedia takes a similar approach. “What’s really hard is to try to crack a paper format in the U.S.,” says Beers. “That doesn’t fly. The advantage of a company like FremantleMedia is that we may come up with a great idea here and can sell it in the Netherlands or in Australia and test it there first.We’ll
then bring that tape back to the U.S. if it’s doing well.” Through its experiences with American Idol and other reality formats, FremantleMedia has learned the value of delivering interactivity for audiences. Beers says that the second-screen experience is becoming more and more common and that it’s a key element to the success of FremantleMedia’s live entertainment shows. VOTING RIGHTS
“The big challenge in the U.S. is the idea of going live with interactivity,” he asserts. “You’ve got different time zones, so it makes it next to impossible to work that way. Europeans have been perfecting it for years because [the countries] have a single time zone to deal with. That’s really the Holy Grail of this, to figure out how you incorporate East Coast and West
Coast into a single feed that gets you live voting.” Keshet International believes it has accomplished this with its new interactive talent show Rising Star, which is headed to the U.S. “This is a whole new TV experience for the viewer,” says Shahar. “It features instant live feedback. You have two minutes from start to finish of the song to decide in real time if this guy or girl is being cut or not. The viewers, the judges and the singers all get to see in real time how many people are voting. There is transparency and authenticity. This provides for a really new and different experience. Our technology has allowed us to develop a very dramatic show, and it’s dramatic whether you’re the one voting or not.” While Homeland may be its largest claim to fame in the U.S. to date, Keshet International was
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active in the American market well before that, since roughly 2006. “The U.S. market has evolved a lot since we first entered it,” says Shahar. “There’s a change happening in the way of thinking from the studio execs and the network execs. They are becoming more open to the global market; we’re seeing more and more U.S. executives attending the international [trade events] as well, which we weren’t seeing as much of five years ago. “The market opened itself up to wanting to see what’s going on outside of U.S. borders, and saw that there are interesting stories being told in other countries,” Shahar continues. “With the transformation in the openness of the American executives today, they don’t really care anymore where the story comes from. That’s great for Keshet and that’s great for everyone in the formats business.”
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on the one-on-one record
hen Kevin Beggs joined Lionsgate in 1998, revenues from the television division amounted to $8 million. In 2012, that figure had jumped to $400 million. Today, not only is the Lionsgate Television Group, of which Beggs is chairman, making money, it is a favored studio within the creative community and among broadcast, cable and digital platforms as well. During his tenure as head of television, Beggs has overseen the development and production of scripted and non-scripted programming. The list of shows he has shepherded is long and diverse. In the early days of the company, because of limited resources, Beggs focused on the U.S. cable market, whose budgets were lower than the broadcast networks’. Lionsgate Television’s first shows included The Dead Zone for USA Network, Wildfire for ABC Family and The Kill Point for Spike TV. Maintaining disciplined production cost efficiencies and pioneering innovative financing models, Beggs and his team took on Weeds, Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, each a genre-bending and critically acclaimed series that
signaled loud and clear that Lionsgate welcomed new and original ideas. The successes continued: Orange Is the New Black marked another hit for Netflix. Nashville has not only performed well on ABC, but sales of its songs continue to be strong. Working with Debmar-Mercury, Lionsgate offered the TV market the 10/90 syndication model for comedies, whereby a network must take 10 episodes upfront and if they reach a certain preagreed rating level then the network must commit to 90 more episodes. Anger Management, a 10/90 comedy for FX starring Charlie Sheen, was the first, and will be followed by Saint George, with George Lopez, and a still-untitled sitcom featuring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence. Under Beggs’ leadership, Lionsgate Television is reaching out to international partners. With the Mexican broadcaster Televisa, it is producing the series Chasing Life for ABC Family. With Munich-based TANDEM Communications, Lionsgate is working on the series Sex, Lies and Handwriting. Even in the U.S., Lionsgate is forging collaborations, such as the one with HISTORY for the mini-series Houdini. Beggs talks to World Screen about working with talent, digital platforms and new ways of producing television.
Lionsgate Television Group
WS: Lionsgate was one of the first companies to work with Netflix and Hulu. Creatively, how have those working relationships been? BEGGS: It’s been fantastic. We’ve had a long relationship with Netflix as a studio.They were early buyers of Mad Men and Weeds. So of course we were excited when word started to leak out that they might be interested in originals. We’ve been banging on their door for years, saying, Are you going to do originals? And then they were. Orange Is the New Black has been a great experience. They have created an amazing creative environment; Jenji [Kohan, creator of Weeds and Orange Is the New Black] has spoken to this publicly. They gave her and us a lot of freedom to make the show she wanted to make.The show has worked and we are deep into season two. We love working there and look forward to doing more. Hulu has focused for now on different programming needs—more comedies and a little more young-skewing, and more subversive and maybe aligned with what’s working with their partners. But they have been equally fun to work with. We’re doing Deadbeat, a really subversive funny idea about an overweight exorcist. That one has been an adventure. We’re shooting it for extremely low money in New York, on location. It is equally interesting because we put together an amazing cast, as we did on Orange Is the New Black, and one of the reasons we were able to do so is because it was a new platform. These actors might have passed on it if it were on a more traditional [outlet]. 1/14 World Screen 47
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they come and go, but they are not enough to create that vast library that you want to have. But they are a good business if done right and they hopefully have a lot of ancillary value overseas, digitally and in packaged media. If you play it right, it’s probably a good business for everybody. WS: Does the 10/90 model con-
tinue to be a good model for you? BEGGS: It’s a great model, and I
Arresting viewing: Lionsgate worked with Netflix on the original series Orange Is the New Black, which comes from Jenji Kohan, the creator of Weeds. WS: These new platforms are also very interested in limited series— 8, 10, up to 13 episodes. BEGGS: What’s happening is that there are a number of places that are saying, Let’s forgo the pilot process, because when you start thinking about shows that are streaming, shows that are delivered in a nonweekly way, that whole feeling that everything has to find its way into the pilot and the pilot must be perfect and it must answer everything for all people, is inapplicable for those platforms. And when you can start rolling out stories slowly, in the streaming environment, there may very well be a regular cast member that is not in your first episode. That is really antithetical to how it goes in traditional piloting for broadcasters or cablers that do pilots because they are going to test that, they are going to know if that character is going to be likeable. It’s very difficult to do pilots. I applaud everyone who has ever done one, including the ones that we have done. It’s extremely difficult because you are being asked, usually, to set up a premise, which requires a fair amount of exposition, and deliver a story that would be a typical episode. It’s a Herculean task
and you usually only have 44 minutes to do it. And sometimes pilots suffer from not being very good at either, what we call “pilotitis.” They didn’t want to rely on a premise pilot because it doesn’t tell you what the show is every week. On the other hand, you can’t just set up a scenario for somebody without explaining why they happen to be there. Every now and then there is the magic of, say, a Modern Family, and family and cops and legal and medical procedurals are usually easier to get into because you don’t have to explain what police do.You’re in the car on a ride-along and there is an arrest and a burglary, and so on. But other shows that are more nontraditional, like Weeds or even Mad Men, with worlds that you haven’t been in, require a fair amount of setup. And it doesn’t necessarily happen all in one episode. So the beauty of streaming, if you ask the creators that work in that medium, is that you take your time, novelistically, spread it out and draw an audience in.And where you begin may be very different than where you end on a season—that is atypical of TV.
WS: Even linear broadcast and
cable networks have been airing limited series. BEGGS: Hatfields & McCoys [a mini-series that aired on HISTORY in 2012] really reminded everybody about the power and the ability to aggregate a mass audience around an event beyond sports. For three nights in a row, Hatfields & McCoys delivered [huge] numbers and everybody’s heads turned to say, Wow, I didn’t know that was possible. When you are trying to deliver eyeballs and brand awareness to your network, or changing its direction, or [programming] off-cycle, for example in the summer, as CBS did with Under the Dome, or what FOX is looking to do with its 10- to 12-episode limited series, they serve a bunch of purposes beyond just ratings and create reasons to not just say, Oh, broadcasters, I’m going to forget about them all summer because cable is here. Under the Dome really sent that message and CBS immediately renewed it. From a supplier’s point of view, it’s fantastic. Long-running series, in success, are probably the most profitable thing you could do.You have to make economic sense of these limited series because you could just do those, and
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think we are going to see more companies adopting it if they can, but we were really the first movers because of the unique relationship we have with Debmar-Mercury. [Co-presidents] Mort [Marcus] and Ira [Bernstein] are really the experts on the structure and the business model. Now, working together with us, they can take advantage of our creative relationships with the buyers and [our] original production, so it’s one plus one makes three. We’ve had a fantastic run already with FX for Anger Management with Charlie Sheen. We are in post-production on Saint George, the George Lopez comedy vehicle. We are casting and in the final stages of getting our ten scripts in order to start shooting in January a show from Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence.We are going to do something with Kevin James. That is in the early stages; we are thinking about the right writers and concepts to bring to the market. Things have been great. WS: Lionsgate Television is also involved with unscripted shows. BEGGS: We never talk too much about our unscripted only because it’s been a bit of a smaller business for us, but it’s doing great. We have nine series on the air. We had a great success [last] summer with a show on TBS called Deal With It. It’s from a Keshet format. Roy Bank developed it for the U.S. market.With Roy, with whom we’ve had an overall deal in the nonfiction group, and with our overall deal with Eli Frankel, between the two of them, they’ve got
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Perfectly suited: Alongside its slate of comedies and dramas, Lionsgate has a catalogue of unscripted content that includes the docu-soap Tequila Sisters, about a wealthy and traditional Mexican-American family.
eight or nine shows on and some other big ones in the pipeline. It’s a fun business and of course you hope that out of any of these a Duck Dynasty might emerge.We are working to expand because nonfiction continues to be a huge business domestically and globally. WS: Lionsgate has announced a number of joint ventures and producer deals. How have you been casting the net wider when looking for projects? BEGGS: The idea of the JVs and producer deals and writer deals and pod deals, which have expanded over time, is simply to give ourselves more bite of the apple with really smart, talented people that are each driving their own businesses, and that benefit our TV group in the aggregate. Whether it’s doing something with Televisa’s South Shore, which has been productive so far (Chasing Life at ABC Family was our first piece of business); or a lot of the high-profile development we have with Sea to Sky Entertainment, a joint venture with Frank Giustra’s Thunderbird Films (Frank was our founder, he started Lionsgate in 1997); or even the project we are doing with Rola [Bauer] and Tim [Halkin] at
TANDEM [Communications], Sex, Lies and Handwriting—all of those are win-wins for everybody. Within these ventures, our partners focus on their business, and these joint projects become a big part of what they are focused on. We are focused on these partnerships in addition to our other core businesses, so it just feels like you can get more done. Our only limitation now—because there are so many buyers, so much opportunity to create amazing TV content in this second golden age of television—are the available hours of the day. WS: Tell us about some of the creative ventures with producers and how those relationships work. BEGGS: We have a whole roster. We have an overall television deal with Allison Shearmur. Alli ran our feature film group, as the head of creative for about four years, and brought into development and production The Hunger Games, and with that changed the entire course of the company. After the Summit transaction, she segued into a producing deal. She was a big TV fan and had been very involved with us on the TV side and introduced us to producers and writers. As a natural outgrowth of going independent,
she said maybe we can do some TV together and we thought that was a great idea. She has already sold the three projects she has taken out to the market. We have the American Psycho [sequel series] at FX; we have a project at ABC, The Thirteen; and a third one, and there are more we are working on. We have a deal with Roughcut TV, the U.K.-based comedy producer behind The Office and The IT Crowd. They have a huge hit in the U.K. called Cuckoo, which was on BBC Three and [also aired on] BBC One and stars Andy Samberg [from Saturday Night Live] as a zany hippie who marries into an uppermiddle-class British family and completely upends their world. As an outgrowth of our first-look deal with them in the U.S., the format rights became available on that project, which they produced in the U.K. We had a fantastic bidding situation and very soon we will be sending the script to NBC. We’ve had a great relationship with Jason Blum, the man behind Paranormal Activity, and have a couple of things that are very close to going forward. He has a tight relationship with our film group and he is the king of horror; we like him!
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We have a multiyear deal with Clyde Phillips, who ran Dexter for the first four seasons and has been running Nurse Jackie for the past two seasons for us. He is also a prolific developer and one of the great showrunners in our business, who incidentally, and it’s rare, has done both comedy and drama. We are in business with Dee Johnson, who is the showrunner of Nashville and also ran Boss for us.We have an overall deal with her in partnership with ABC Studios. Nashville has become a fantastic show and franchise for us, for the network and for our partners at ABC Studios. It has really come into its own this year with great ratings growth, and the music just continues to work like gangbusters. We have an overall deal with Evolution Entertainment, which is run by Mark Burg.They are the partners behind our Saw movie franchise, and they represent Charlie Sheen as a client and have all kinds of interesting actor, director and writer clients.We are in business with them, pitching and developing projects. We are in business with Jamie Foxx and his production company in a deal very similar to the one we have with Kevin Costner. We are nine years into the relationship with Jenji Kohan, who not only scored with Weeds but also has made Netflix appointment television with Orange Is the New Black. We’ve made a deal that has really paid off in a big way with Steve McPherson, who ran ABC for many years and has set up six or seven network projects in a very short time, and four or five of those are ours. We have an overall TV relationship with Matt Williams, who created Roseanne and Home Improvement and is doing the George Lopez 10/90 for us. That is a lot of activity and a lot of people working, and hopefully working toward the greater good of Lionsgate TV and the overall company, but it’s a lot to manage, so we are on our toes!
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advertisers’ in conversation index
A+E Networks 9, 107 ABC Commercial 25 American Cinema International/Mission Pictures International 13 Andina Link 229 Argentina Audiovisual 209 Armoza Formats 220 Artear 119 Audiovisual from Spain 155 Azteca 99 Bandeirantes Communication Group 31 Beyond Distribution 27 Boomerang TV International 137 BRB Internacional 59, 187 Brightcove 44, 45 CAKE 173 Canal 13 Sudmedia 103 Caracol TV Internacional 143, 203 CBS Studios International 199 CDC United Network 84, 85 Cineflix Rights 81 Cisneros Media Distribution 74, 75 Construir TV 219 Cyber Group Studios 63, 70 Dentsu Entertainment USA 65, 169 Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic 71, 83 Disney Media Distribution 131, 161, 177, 179, 181 Dori Media Group 1 DreamWorks Animation 52, 53 DRG 93 Echo Bridge Entertainment 17 Endemol Latinoamérica 127 Entertainment One Family 175 FILMART 37 Filmax International 135 FOX International Channels Latin America 109, 129 Frecuencia Latina International 211 FremantleMedia Latin America 91 Gaumont Animation 69 Gaumont International Television 15 Globo 72, 73 Globosat 165 Hot Docs 49 International Academy of TV Arts & Sciences 46, 67 ITV Studios Global Entertainment 97
ITV-Inter Medya 4, 5 Kanal D 7 Keshet International 21 KOCCA 19 Lawless Entertainment 57 Ledafilms 95 Lionsgate 2, 3, 191 Mannam Media 151 Multicom Entertainment Group 243 NAB Show 33 Nerd Corps Entertainment 55, 185 Nippon Television Network 29 Polar Star 88 Pol-ka Producciones 163 RCN Televisión 123, 145, 205 Record TV Network 112, 113 Red Arrow International 101 Reed MIDEM 39, 226 RioContentMarket 223 Saban Brands 201 Shine International 87 Snap TV 133 SOMOS Distribution 117 Starz Worldwide Distribution 11 TANDEM Communications 244 Telefe 149 Telefilms 76, 77 Telemundo Internacional 78, 79, 138, 207 Televisa Internacional 115, 152 The Cable Show 34 Toon Goggles 51, 188 Toonmax Media 170 TNT Latin America 111 TV Chile 213 TV Film International 167 TV5MONDE 104 TVE 157 Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution 197 Universal Cinergia Dubbing 214, 215 Univision 193 Viacom International Media Networks 141 Warner Bros. Intl. Television 195, 238 WWE 23, 121 ZDF Enterprises 183
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on the world’s end record 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 party with Charlie Sheen and his porn star girlfriend? Every day, papers and magazines 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
Global distinction: Reality personality. Sign: Taurus (b. April 24, 1946) Significant date: December 18, 2013 Noteworthy activity: The Duck Dynasty patriarch
Global distinction: Former Disney Channel celeb. Sign: Leo (b. August 4, 1992) Significant date: December 15, 2013 Noteworthy activity: The seemingly innocent star of
offends the gay and lesbian community by implying that homosexuality is a sin in an interview with GQ magazine. Not only do Robertson’s remarks spark a great deal of debate between liberals and conservatives in the U.S., they also cause A&E to suspend him from the hit show for several days. Horoscope: “Whether or not you like it, your words and actions are being noticed by others right now. Make sure that you take the time to choose your words wisely.” (californiapsychics.com)
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody takes some super scandalous selfies that wind up being posted online. Shortly after the leak, the 21-year-old twin publishes a tweet that reads, “I messed up... but I’d be a fool not to own up to it. Got to move past it I suppose.” Horoscope: “A secret arrangement, clandestine liaison or romantic rendezvous may not be as private as you had thought. Be extra careful to protect your privacy.” (uk.astrology.yahoo.com)
Nick Cannon Charlie Sheen
sight occasionally prove prophetic.
Global distinction: Human train wreck. Sign: Virgo (b. September 3, 1965) Significant date: December 18, 2013 Noteworthy activity: The troubled actor halts produc-
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 signif-
tion on the FX series Anger Management by calling in sick due to an alleged case of laryngitis, which, sources say, is likely the result of excessive partying with his new porn star girlfriend. Sheen’s ongoing erratic behavior is also believed to have led to the recent resignations of his long-time manager, publicist and lawyer. Horoscope: “A surplus of confidence has ruined many good people and even during this time of high spirits, you are not immune.” (ask-oracle.com)
Global distinction: America’s Got Talent host. Sign: Libra (b. October 8, 1980) Significant date: December 31, 2013 Noteworthy activity: Cannon and wife Mariah Carey
snap pictures of their family all dressed up to celebrate New Year’s Eve.The 33-year-old star is captured on film looking captivated by his wife’s more than ample assets. Carey posts the pic of her hubby leering at her cleavage on Instagram with the caption: “Happy New Year!!!! ‘You like this and you know it.’” Horoscope: “Stick close to home and focus on giving attention to the ones you love.The attention you give them will be much appreciated.” (futuretocome.com)
icant dates, they could have avoided a few surprises.
these little pearls of random fore-
But rather than poring over charts
Britney Spears Global distinction: Pop princess. Sign: Sagittarius (b. December 2, 1981) Significant date: December 12, 2013 Noteworthy activity: During an interview with
Univision’s Despierta América, the pop starlet makes a comment about Latinos that some criticize as racist and stereotypical. “I’ve always loved Latinos,” Spears tells the interviewer. “They make me think of the typical ‘bad boy’ type that your father wouldn’t let you go out with.” Horoscope: “Think before you speak this month, Sagittarius; you could be eating your words, or at least rethinking things thereafter.” (passionsearch.com) 242 World Screen 1/14
Global distinction: Hollywood bad boy. Sign: Gemini (b. June 11, 1986) Significant date: December 17, 2013 Noteworthy activity: LaBeouf makes his directorial
debut HowardCantour.com available for audiences on Vimeo.Viewers quickly notice the striking similarities between the short film and author Daniel Clowes’s comic Justin M. Damiano. The actor takes to Twitter to respond to the plagiarism allegations, calling Clowes’s work an uncredited inspiration and ending his tweet with “I F***ed up.” Horoscope: “Today, try to give credit where it is due, and also humbly take the blame when it falls on you.” (glo.msn.com/horoscopes)
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