Former SVP at Lions Gate Entertainment Corp
- International content demand trends and audience growth developments
- Local production capabilities for Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD), Paramount and others
- Content strategy, distribution and licencing arrangements
- Outlook for 2023 and beyond, highlighting content budget dynamics
Could you highlight 2-3 trends that you’re seeing in content development from major studios and streamers today?
You highlighted that, when it comes to content, the world is perhaps becoming a bit flatter. Could you expand upon that, in terms of examples of what you’re seeing? How does that translate to a different approach or perspective from the major studios?
Regarding international production, who do you highlight as the biggest players when we’re looking at studios and streamers?
You highlighted that some of the US studios are perhaps retrenching. What exactly are some of the dynamics at play there? What does this look like, in terms of how that’s changing their approaches? How does that affect dynamics with some of the players you mentioned, such as in Europe or the Nordics, that are continuing to have that sort of local footprint?
Looking at residuals, you highlighted the US, and it’s certainly one thing that another country has to think about when looking at shows or productions from the US. You mentioned that there is variation when looking at other countries. Could you give some examples of what that may look like, either for those that have similar residual structures or slightly different approaches? What are some of those differences and how is that impacting regions outside the US where production is predominantly taking place?
You mentioned co-production and assorted treaties. How are those generally structured? You highlighted that this is not necessarily as much of a thing for the US, whereas other countries have certainly embraced it.
You highlighted that you are increasingly seeing some walls being put up in some countries and markets. Could you expand on what this looks like, and how that development has been taking place?
You noted that it’s unfortunate to see a number of US players retrenching and that international content is the future. Could you walk through some of the reasons you would put behind that?
Looking at the idea for the type of shows that companies are looking to make, you highlighted that there might be a focus on shows that don’t need to travel – not every single one has to have the global resonance of Squid Game. At the same time, the streaming platforms’ – Netflix, Disney and HBO – subscriber growth is increasingly coming from international markets. They have to consider how to continue to get that international growth while also focusing on shifting market share dynamics within the US. How is that affecting the calculus for a show that resonates within a local market – such as parts of Europe – but doesn’t work internationally as much vs shows that might be slightly higher-budget but are more appealing to different markets? This isn’t necessarily a ROI calculation, but how might a player such as Netflix or Warner Bros Discovery think about this? There is certainly a bit of give and take over the budget for a locally produced show vs one that has a global audience.
You mentioned the pivot to IP for a lot of studios and streamers. How exactly have you been seeing that play out, in terms of some of the deals and how those change? How has that been affecting the licensing dynamics for shows in different markets and over different time frames?
Looking at native shows and some remakes of local shows, could you walk through some of the dynamics around remakes and the decision to take a show from one market and see success in others? What are some of the factors at play there?
Looking at the sort of content that has resonance, what are your thoughts about the trends we’re seeing from a genre perspective? This is certainly getting increased scrutiny from a lot of players regarding whether they are getting bang for their buck and which products are getting green-lit. What sort of content is playing well internationally, or what are different players focusing on?
You highlighted a couple of trends in international markets. Particularly for the US audience, there’s increasing openness to foreign-language content, such as material that is not necessarily a remake but has subtitles or dubs. Looking at box office trends, the sort of titles that have had international success are traditional superhero movies such as Disney with the whole Marvel franchise, etc. How do you see the near-to-mid-term dynamics of this ongoing, increasing trend towards the big blockbusters – which are by and large the superhero films – alongside this appreciation for other content that is not necessarily within that genre? As you highlighted, there are a couple of other types such as dramas and perhaps some of the darker ones but with some silver linings. What’s working in different markets now vs historically? Can you discuss this, given the increasing trend and considering the scrutiny on where content budgets are going and which projects are being green-lit?
Another dynamic to look at is unscripted vs scripted content. With Warner Bros Discovery’s new leadership and CEO David Zaslav, there seems to be a renewed focus of looking at the value of unscripted content. It’s cheaper to produce and seems to have an audience. Discovery certainly had a lot of success with it. How are you thinking about the dynamic when prioritising one vs the other, particularly considering production costs, as unscripted content is normally a lot cheaper than most scripted shows?
Whose approaches would you highlight as stronger or better when looking at production – either internationally focused or just more generally in terms of the mix – of the major players such as Disney, Amazon or Netflix? Are there major differences in how these companies are positioning themselves for the future?
What is your view on the number and type of productions in the pipeline for 2023 vs 2022 across some of the major players – Disney, Netflix, Amazon, etc?
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