After 10 successful days, LA Virtual Screenings (LAVS) has completed the official market days on Friday, May 21, however, the platform will stay open for two more weeks, closing on June 4th. The platform includes the marketplace, educational conference sessions on-demand, and other networking tools. LAVS was very well attended, as with the previous VS events, (4000 people, 8400 screenings), but the difference from previous VS events was a more intense usage of the platform: the buyers entered more times and viewed more screenings; many of those viewings being binge-watching. This reaction underlines how the VS format, which makes a focus on content and has no commitments for buyers, is strongly preferred by buyers.
The behavior stats further shows the favorability of the platform by the buyers: more than 50% of them visited 50% or more of the booths, with many visiting 75% or more. On average, buyers visited 12 booths (60 pieces of content). It is also interesting how the buyers spent time not only at the VS Market but also in the other sections of the event. VS Billboard was one section seeing the largest amount of growth. Buyers often opened four to five of the 10 recommended pieces of content per visit. With the VS Figures rankings and the content lines at VS Market, 3,000 screenings were generated outside the booths, while 4,000 inside. In previous VS events, these synergies were much weaker.
The Top 15 countries of attending buyers illustrate that LAVS is a fully global event. It generated amazing interest not only in America but also in the major territories of Europe and Asia. Germany, France, and Japan surpassed their previous buyer delegations. VS Next, the educational conference portion of the events, was again a great success and provided insight into market trends beyond the content screenings. The conference covered a variety of topics including big OTTs, the streaming business, and eSports as some of the new topics.
During the first week, there was a very strong desire for Latin American content suppliers, following the tradition of LA Screenings. In the second week, European distributors (Germany, France, Spain, and Turkey) placed behind the leaders (big US brands and big Latins). In regards to the content demand, on the last day ViacomCBS International Studios’ "Parot" took the lead, in a close race with "Once we were six! from Globo (Brazil). The binge-watching buyers first visited the big brands, then second-tier options, and third entered as many booths as they can.
Regarding genres, the drama was clearly the leader, but with the pandemic, it was a bigger demand for thrillers/suspense, as well as documentaries/factual and kids programming, which are easier to produce with safety protocols. Docs are the new trend in OTTs. To conclude, LAVS 2021 has proven that virtual events can be a good experience, if companies make focus on what works in digital: screenings, panels, and ‘inbound’ marketing: the interaction with buyers surges from their preferences and requests, not before.