Insight #1 – No new formats. There was no definite hit this market, and the only trend emerging is a quiet acknowledgment that we have a system in place that’s not conducive to creativity. There is a lot of money, a lot of brain power and a lot of time invested in a process that yields derivatives of early 2000s breakthroughs. It seems like the industry increasingly sees the shortcomings of a minimum risk policy, but keeps acting according to it.
Insight #2 – Broadcasters can’t be the only answer (part 1). Following the money leads to a sensible conclusion that broadcasters have the power to get us out of the creative rut, because it’s their decisions that shape the industry. FremantleMedia’s Rob Clark said: “I don’t think that broadcasters have got the same balls that they used to.” This all might be true, but broadly agreeing on it won’t move us forward. We are the creative industry. There must be other ways.
Insight #3 – Israel is no Black Swan. With no formats to speak of, one of the most buzz-generating moments was Shine’s Gary Carter’s Black Swan speech. Carter concluded his thought-provoking presentation with an examination of the hype behind Rising Star and, through association, the hype AROUND Israel itself. Now, Rising Star is a big enough phenomenon to earn both praise and scrutiny. BUT the Israeli TV global success story didn’t start Rising Star; nor will it end with it.
Insight #4 – Broadcasters can’t be the only answer (part 2) “Israel is an IP consumer, not an IP creator” said Carter (meaning that the most-watched shows are bought formats and not original ones). This is true and Israel is an IP consumer, but it’s the Israeli TV industry that is the subject of the hype. A big enough chunk of that industry’s formats never aired or were even pitched to Israeli broadcasters. Thus, the firm base of the Israeli industry has a lot to do with overcoming the notion best described by Banijay’s Marco Bassetti: “A big hit has to be a big hit locally first.” Now, “big” is relative and elusive, but as far as “successful” goes, you don’t have to succeed locally first.
Insight #5 – Digital dollars aren’t rolling in the streets. Another ongoing hype is that of the digital element. Many are still waiting for the buzz to result in simple answers: how do we do it? How does it make money? Well, Digital is not a niche, it’s as varied as life itself and there is no reason that simple answers will be the only answers we should seek (is there a simple answer for how to make a successful format, one that you can follow and make a successful format?). Digital should be sought after because the world has changed. It already happened! Now, new opportunities are there to explore and discover. How? It has to do with strategy and being there for the long run. We are the creative industry. There are ways.
Insight #6 – Broadcasters can’t be the only answer (part 3). The search for simple digital answers has led to a feeding frenzy whenever such an answer seems to have risen. This explains the inflation of second screen social TV apps a year ago (many of which have closed since then) and an inflation of VOD platforms this time around. What both have in common is that they are geared to respond to broadcasters’ perceived wishes. However, the digital revolution is a (relatively) democratic one and it opens up opportunities for everyone. For example, the new must-have shopping item for super-indies is an MCN (multi channel network) which gives them access to alternative broadcasting platform (such as YouTube) where people already are.
Insight #7 – Scripted rules and we need to see what we can bring from its golden decade to infuse with entertainment and make something new.
Insight #8 – The next big hit can be designed. It needs to be different creatively, meaning no judges, eliminations and bubble heads yet it should also be designed from a marketing perspective to answer industry’s low risk profile.
Insight #9 – Broadcasters can’t be the only answer (part 4). They are a great answer and in fact responsible for most of the things we love about TV, but we can all enjoy a bigger variety of choice and course of action. ‘Times are a changin’ indeed; but if viewers no longer see broadcasters as the only answer, why does the industry?
Insight #10 – No one ever had a bad MIP. Maybe it’s the meetings being so quick that there no time for rejection. Maybe it’s the strong sense that there’s a place for the new, maybe it’s the fact that everybody drinks at the end of the day, maybe it’s the amount of meetings and the sense that the world is listening, maybe it’s the coming together of television people and yachts and old school grandeur, maybe it’s the big success stories and the sense that anyone can potentially come up with similar stories. Whatever it is, no one ever had a bad MIP (regardless of how many leads actually turn into business) but soon after MIP, everyday life takes over and we go back to the familiar. The energy that innovation requires is being consumed by survival. Is that a must? I don’t think so. After all, we are the creative industry. There must be other ways.