Walking the corridors of the Palais is always a battle for attention. Every step you take, you will find a message directing you to exciting new and fresh content. Stickers, banners and light shows will lead you to the most distant corner of the Palais, in the search for that ‘perfect’ content.
So what is this perfect content? What makes a great deal? Let’s put on the buyer’s hat for a moment and see…
1. Marketable content – At the end of the day, the content I’m buying will have to serve two purposes; fill the needed hours to maintain the channel and increase the rate of the channel, by adding subscribers (Pay TV) or increasing ratings to sell more commercials (free-to-air). When we buy, we always envision how the billboards or promos will look, and how this content be presented in a given territory. Will these titles serve the goals and growth strategies of the channel? If so, what is unique in the content we are buying? Is it newsworthy in our territory?
2. Great price – Some producers use sales agencies and some sell their content directly. Obviously, a buyer will always want to pay less, but there are a few things besides pricing that can make the deal very lucrative: exclusivity, payment terms, number of runs, licensing period and extended rights for VOD or OTT are just a few points that can make a huge difference. The producer should understand the buyers’ needs and try to accommodate as much as possible, sometimes adding non-exclusive VOD rights will make the deal happen.
3. TV events, or water cooler moments – As a buyer, I need to bring home a big TV event, a title that will get the whole territory talking the day after we present it. As viewership trends shift and change, it is important to find a titles that will define your channel, and will play great in linear, as well as having a long tail in VOD.
4. Think international, sell local – Every territory has a unique flavour. Cultural differences will distinguish each market form the other. Research the markets, learn the ratings, learn the scheduling of the major players and see where your content fits. What added value your content brings? How is your genre doing in that territory? Are there similar titles in that territory? What ratings do they get?
5. Tap into Hollywood trends – The biggest marketing push a title will receive is once it’s premiered. Buyers like to tap into this promotional buzz, and will look for ‘trendy’ content. For example, I would expect that spaghetti westerns will sell well this market, following the success of Django Unchained.
A producer will create his or her next TV show or movie because he or she believes in the story. It’s impossible to predict what buyers will want to buy in 1-2 years; but I think that studying the market’s trends and looking at the deals from last market helps to place your content in the right perspective in the international TV landscape.
Lior Sasson is an experienced TV buyer, and VP of business development for Jasmine TV, a consulting company that helps platforms create and launch film and VOD offerings. Meet him at MIPTV!