Welcome to the latest in a series of posts from selected industry influencers — producers, distributors and buyers — who’ll be sharing their insights in the run-up to MIPCOM and MIPJunior 2017!
MIPBlog: Could you please introduce yourself?
Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos: My current role is Director of Disruption and Platform Distribution at TFO, a Franco-Ontarian public broadcaster. TFO is a premium destination for children and audiences seeking educational and innovative content in French. Its content is consumed by anyone looking for francophone programming close to its home base in Ontario, in markets across Canada and the world through partnerships and digital platforms. We also have 20 YouTube channels and Idello, our educational platform and our new virtual reality studio, LUV (Virtual Universe Laboratory).
> What do you think is the most innovative thing in TV now, and why?
With the likes of Netflix and Amazon the quality of TV series today is exquisite, competing with and surpassing theatrical movies. Also, augmented reality in the childrens’ space is becoming more popular. At MIPCOM, we are launching our new in-house series called Minivert. Filmed entirely in our LUV virtual reality studio, it offers a mix of live-action, rich 3D backgrounds and animated characters.
The 4K screen is also taking over from the HD screen, which TV manufacturers are slowly replacing. It is still expensive to buy, but costs are coming down due to the quality of the offering, which priceless.
Finally, we are launching our new smart series Maxi (a co-pro with Frima) this fall digitally and on our linear channel. However, the app to accompany the series will be launched 3 weeks prior on the Android and Apple store. This is a first, and is all very disruptive!
> What is the biggest single way the content distribution business is changing today? How are you dealing with those challenges?
It is all about multi-platform distribution. SVOD/VOD is now taking the first window, and traditional TV takes the second one. When we produce content at TFO, we make sure the content will work on all of our platforms. We want our content to be found anywhere and at anytime. The luxury with SVOD/VOD platforms is you can tailor your content to your needs and choose when to watch. Our Idello platform, which focuses on digital francophone educational content, offers exactly that niche for teachers and students.
> Is the playing field more level in the digital age? To what extent is the ‘traditional’ system (pitching to a Commissioner) still important and how do you see that system evolving?
Linear TV is still alive and well respected. Young families still enjoy watching preschool content together. The co-viewing experience is the key for linear survival. Of course, our viewing habits have changed and we now have many screens to indulge in… but the bigger screen is still here to offer us a great 4K experience and I believe it is here to stay and to adapt even further to our needs.
> What is your favorite TV show/IP today and why?
Breaking Bad was one of my favorite TV shows. The quality of the writing, the casting and the unpredictable stories made you binge watch; a totally new way of watching content. In childrens’ programming, Phineas and Ferb is still my favourite, as it brings together the family in a co-viewing experience.
> How will TV’s golden age continue post-Game of Thrones?
There will be more series like Game of Thrones as TV series are surpassing feature films in quality. It is about connecting and enhancing your viewing experience on your many screens. I had a friend who only watched TV series on his laptop… well, my friend recently bought a TV screen because here, in this context, bigger is better. So family rooms are here to stay because the bigger screen connects us all outside of our busy schedules.
This is the latest in a series of posts from MIPCOM 2017’s MIPBlog Ambassadors, a group of industry experts coordinated by consultant Debbie Macdonald, who’ll be sharing their insight here in the run-up to MIPCOM this October. Stay tuned for more!