SELECTED NEWS JULY 2021



GRAMMYS

The recording Academy Board of Trustees recently named Harvey Mason Jr. President & CEO. Harvey has operated in this capacity since early 2020 but was officially seated in June 2021. Son of a famous jazz drummer, Mason’s first task will be to modernize the Academy and bring changes to the Grammys voting process.

Musician himself, Harvey Mason has vowed to bring new voting members more involved with the music industry and representative of the industry diversity. Like with the film Academy, the recording Academy has been singled out for its lack of diversity. In its ongoing internal transformation, the academy has appointed its first CDEIO (Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer) with the objective of restructuring the organization. Harvey Mason Jr. recognizes the responsibilities and trust the Academy is placing in him. Along with Mason, the Academy named Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Panos A. Panay as co-Presidents.


SVOD WAR (suite)

When Netflix launched its streaming service in 2007, they were the first one. The move came from a survival instinct triggered by the decline of DVD mail orders. Since then, there are now more than 200 subscription services worldwide. The IT technology has improved and with a decent internet connection, most people can enjoy SVOD services. The launch of Disney+ in 2019 with 10 million subscriptions in a single day illustrated how important this industry has become.

At the end of 2019, there were 642 million SVOD subscribers worldwide. One year later, there were 100 million more and projections are anticipating reaching one billion by 2025. It is clearly a market major networks want to be a part of. While Netflix is still the leader in subscriptions, Disney's ambition to become number one has been clearly stated, supported by a global rollout of their platform and an impressive library of titles for all viewers. Netflix and Disney are the power houses of SVOD, but we need to watch what next steps for Amazon, Apple TV and the others. Stay tuned...


TELEVISION IN INDIA

With around 1.4 billion people, India is on the verge of overtaking China as the most populous nation.

In 2011, the size of the Indian TV market was valued at $5.25 billion. 10 years later, the size has more than doubled with a projected value of $13.7 billion for 2021. While this increase is impressive, it is estimated that only 70% of Indian families have access to a TV set with quality connection. The size of the country and infrastructure issues make access to basic television difficult for many, however, more than half of the TV sets sold the past 2 years went to rural India.

The success of Indian TV is based on multiple factors, beginning with the switch from analog to digital. The Indian government has made a push to promote digital TV and it should be the norm by 2025. Another reason is original regional programming. India is a huge country with a wide diversity in culture, so interests are different depending on regions. So far, the Hindi language channels are preferred by most Indians. The growing interest for television is also attracting companies to advertise on Indian TV to reach a larger share of the population than with other medias. It is also a growing market for content creators.


SHORT FORM FILMS

This trend which started in 2018 is still going strong for 30 minutes films. This format has been the "darling" of indie creators but how it is difficult to rise from the jungle of available content and be noticed? It turns out that presence in festivals and industry trade shows are indispensable marketing tools to promote shorts. The ideal media for shorts is the internet and finding the right space on the web is a strategic decision.

Today’s modern life with its multitasking and reduced attention span make shorts an ideal format while waiting to board a plane, commute on public transportation or as a companion in the kitchen during breakfast. Technology is now allowing production of all formats to find a commercial space online. It is easier for amateurs and aspiring filmmakers to be discovered and while subject matter and originality is essential, it has proven difficult to emerge from the ocean of content without a solid marketing plan.


DOCUMENTARIES: TOOLS FOR EDUCATION

Documentaries are teaching us through storylines. Stories are universal, connecting time, places, and cultures. When told with passion, stories bring to attention subjects we did not think about and are affecting our lives in various ways. Documentaries contribute to a better understanding of our ever-changing world. Films are the most influential art form because they are easy to access. Even if a subject may not be of primary interest, we are often learning as we watch and feel compelled to watch to the end. Today students with immediate access to the Internet are expecting to learn more from what they find online and from films than from traditional textbooks.

Teachers today are looking to reach students on an emotional level. Films have the capacity to trigger emotions faster, attracting viewers’ attention by moving them to a different world. It is the same as it always been but taught differently. This is the power of documentary films. As we have entered the 3rd decade of the 21st century, documentary films have become an important tool for teachers, as they require full attention compared to TV/films watched on smart phone or tablet while doing something else.


HOLLYWOOD LIVE

Los Angeles could not wait any longer to resume live productions. Whether working on feature films or TV shows, everyone seems happy to go back to work following specific protocols. The vaccines made available to all in the US has reassured many to go back to the life they had before the pandemic. Even with most Americans protected, there are still an important percentage of the population reluctant to get vaccinated.

North America is ahead of the rest of the world in its Covid vaccine response. Our lives have become part of a global environment based on the health of the entire world. Regarding the entertainment industry, international co-productions continue to be affected as long as COVID remains a threat. It is the direct interest of the United States to help the rest of the world with vaccine distribution and vaccine marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, Hollywood TV studios are back to work.


MERGER & ACQUISITION

In the media space, the bigger the better. Traditional TV networks have completed several big mergers, CBS with Viacom, NBC with Universal but CBS and NBC feel a little weak in front of the competition. Disney, Netflix, and Amazon are aiming extremely high with production investments unheard of until now. Viacom CBS would likely welcome a merger with Warner Media as soon as the deal with Discovery is done.

A merger of NBC Universal with Lionsgate would make sense for both parties. At a time when SVOD content catalog is a determinant factor to subscribers, CBS and NBC do not have many options left to enlarge and diversify their catalog to fulfill their streaming ambitions. Another potential merger is Disney with AMC Networks. Disney does not need AMC but the prospect is of interest because of Disney-owned HULU licensing so much of its content with hit shows from MGM, which is merging with Amazon making the future of HULU with these shows uncertain. The web of M&A in the industry is complex!