The year 2019 saw US$177 billion spent on global TV and film production expenditure, and the last eighteen months have seen an explosion of new SVOD and AVOD platforms. Post-Covid, the demand for content has never been greater, and great content can come from anywhere and travel everywhere. But in today’s fractured global media landscape, it is not easy to be aware of all of the content out there. That was the topic discussed during a free webinar from Gruvi and Vuulr.
“In today’s new normal, consumers are increasingly expecting a lot of content accessible at any time, in any place and in a format that best fits their needs. That is the new paradigm the world has to get used to,” commented Ben Johnson, CEO of global marketing technology platform Gruvi, who spearheaded the first part of the webinar providing interesting data.
Then, Johnson presented some graphics showing how global content production is booming to meet consumers demands. According to him, one of the major drivers of that are local productions, and he assured that Netflix was a pioneer in that aspect. “Viewing of foreign-language content on Netflix was up 50% in 2020. These titles have a huge impact in the global market, driving significant audiences around the world. That is because great stories are universal, and they can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere,” he said.
With the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount+ and HBO Max spending billions of dollars on the development of their own content, the question that came up was who the buyers are. According to Johnson, niche interest and cult streaming platforms will continue to grow and seek out appropriate global content. “Budget for TV & film content is set to reach US$66 billion by 2026,” he mentioned.
Regarding films, the executive explained why mid-budget movies are finding new audiences and leveraging this current landscape. “The streaming platforms’ insatiable appetite for content has seen them offer mid-budget studio titles a new route to market and a successful way to reach significant audiences,” he commented. As an example, he talked about Netflix movies “Outside the Wire,” which was seen by 66 million people in the United States; “Yes Day” and “To All the Boys: Always and Forever”.
In terms of theatrical windows, Johnson believes studios are still experimenting with their releases. For example, Paramount offers a 45 days window for select titles, prior to debuting on Paramount+. Warner Bros is testing some simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases for all 2021 titles, although is going to replicate Paramount’s model in 2022. Disney is algo taking some similar approach, while Sony is relying on shorter and flexible windows.
Lastly, convinced that SVOD and AVOD services are definitely the future of entertainment, the CEO of Gruvi pointed to the discovery of shows as the biggest problem faced by anyone wishing to acquire content. “The global industry spends US$240 billion per year on buying content, growing at 10% per year. Acquiring content takes 4-5 months and involves huge amounts of manual effort. There is a cost in attending trade events and expensive middlemen taking commissions. Exclusive contracts and complex content rights managed in incongruent, decentralized spreadsheets are the norm. As a result, 35-40% (likely more) of the value is lost to the friction of the transaction,” he assured.
By Federico Marzullo