Sanja Božić-Ljubičić, Sabrina Pluvinage, Branko Čakarmiš, Pavel Stantchev, and Adrian Ježina
Señal News is again attending NEM Dubrovnik, but this year is a special occasion due to the ten anniversary of the must-attend event in the CEE region. This edition is held from June 5 to 8, 2023, at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. It is the biggest yet, with 12 keynote speakers giving valuable insight into the complex and ever-changing TV industry alongside panel discussions, presentations, premieres, and networking among participants and guests. The first day was a tribute to ten exciting years of building the New Europe Market (NEM). During the panel 10 Years of NEM sponsored by Mediavision, Sanja Božić-Ljubičić, CEO of Pickbox, Mediatranslations, Mediavision, and NEM, gathered long-standing supporters and friends of NEM like Sabrina Pluvinage, Video Sales Director Europe, Eutelsat Branko Čakarmiš, General Director, Pro Plus Pavel Stantchev, CEO, TV2 Media Group and Planet TV, Adrian Ježina, CEO, Telemach Croatia, and Telemach Slovenia, reminisced over the past decade, remembering various anecdotes and unforgettable moments shared at the TV market to which they all gladly return each year. "It's amazing to see how this event grew up. It is the only event where you can see your competitors and exchange ideas. This closed circle is so full of energy," said Pavel Stantchev, and Branko Čakarmiš added: "NEM started with a small idea which turned into a world-class event for our industry."
The initial panel of the second day, moderated by Jonathan Broughton, Head of Strategy at EBU, discussed the main strategies of CEE public broadcasters and their initiatives to continue being relevant in the current landscape. Jan Maxa, Director of Content and New Media at Czech Television; Katarina Pavlović, Program Director at Prva TV and B92; Marek Solon-Lipiński, Director of International Relations at TVP; Rahela Štefanović, Editor in Chief at Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) and Iza Piotrowska, Director of Affiliate Sales and Business Development at ducktv have shared their experiences and strategies to get it. Štefanović mentioned that they commission and acquire content that is educational and entertaining at the same. "It is sometimes most difficult to acquire and commissioned content for kids that for a general audience, the kids change daily habits," she admitted. "As a public media, we have to educate the audience, that is our main goal, but we have to get content that became popular also," she said. Piotrowska affirmed that ducktv has a particular audience: "our target audience is younger kids, so we produce particular content for them, and it's educational, entertainment, and safe; parents have nothing to worry about the content." Regarding the strategies to reach digital and linear audiences, Pavlović commented they create a bond between the audience and the content, "our digital and linear audiences feel attracted to the same content, so we don't separate them," she said. The key is to create transmedia content, that we do so that we can reach both targets audience, the digital and the linear," added Štefanović.
As the most extensive edition ever, NEM Dubrovnik 2023 stood out for the number of its keynotes. On June 6, Sony Pictures Television, United Group, Movistar Plus+ International Division, Deutsche Telekom, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Viaplay Group had the time to expose their news and strategies. From significant studios, Mark Young, EVP Distribution and Networks in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Sony Pictures Television, featured four new shows that were featured at LA Screenings 2023. The first is "The killing kind," based on the latest novel by Jane Casey. The thriller centers around Ingrid Lewis, a London-based criminal barrister whose life is ostensibly destroyed by John Webster, a client she defended against a stalking charge. When one of her colleagues is mown down in an apparent hit-and-run, Lewis suspects she was the intended victim until Webster turns up at her door, claiming only he can protect her from the natural killer. The second show is the Arthurian drama series "The winter king" from SPT's Bad Wolf, based on Bernard Cornwell's novel series "The Warlord Chronicles" and starring Ellie James and Eddie Marsan. The series was sold to SonyLIV, BeIN, Stan, and MGM+, who had joined the UK's ITVX as a co-commissioner on the series. The third show is "Ten Pound Poms," a series co-ordered by the BBC and Stan, launched in the UK and Australia on May 14. The show follows a group of Brits in 1956 who emigrated down under for just £10 ($12) under the promise of a prosperous new life to find Sydney a far cry from what they were sold. The series was sold to SonyLIV, TVNZ, and France's OCS. Lastly, Young presented "Twisted Metal," based on the classic PlayStation game and starring Anthony Mackie and Stephanie Beatriz. The series has gone to SonyLIV in India, TVNZ in New Zealand (TVNZ), Stan in Australia, BeIN (the Middle East); Warner Bros Discovery (Central and Eastern Europe), and MNET's Showmax (sub-Saharan Africa), and It will be launched on Peacock on June 27. "We are expanding our production capabilities and acquiring many wonderful production companies because great stories can come from everywhere. As an independent studio, the partnership is essential for us; we have great IPs, brands, and a lot of TV shows with very international potential," he said.
Jamie Cooke, GM CEE, Baltics, Middle East, Mediterranean, Turkey and EMEA Pay TV and Creative Agency, Warner Bros. Discovery said that the company not only creates high-quality and original content but also they have brought the team together to understand people and figure out what people are interested in. Regarding the strategy of Max's streaming service in Central Europe, he said there is space for three or four streaming services. "We can place in the third or four positions because we offer a mix of global content cover and localized content," he mentioned.
Vanda Rapti, EVP & Chief Commercial Officer for North America and Viaplay Select, Viaplay Group, mentioned that Viaplay is of the top streamers in the northern countries with Nordic storytelling. "We have two sides of our story, one is the objective growth we had in the current market, which is successful, and the second one is the current adjustments we are doing in our future strategies," she said. "We are using our strengths to satisfy our customer's needs and being flexible with partners worldwide," she affirmed. Viaplay is available direct-to-consumer in every Nordic and Baltic country, Poland, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, and Canada. By the end of 2025, the company will have at least 12 million subscribers.
Louise Pedersen, CEO of All3Media International, affirmed it is easier to find content nowadays than in previous periods. "Some of those content can feel generic and the same, but there are a lot of opportunities for writers to create great stories," The All3Media CEO also admitted that in the acquisition strategy, they pick up shows that are complementaries to the shows they do internally. Pedersen also noted the streamers are returning to previous successful IPs, so "we have seen a lot of spinoffs because people know that shows, so there are still opportunities to tell stories."
The big Telcos had their NEM time with keynotes of United Group, Telefonica (Movistar Plus+), Deutsche Telecom, and Eutelsat. "Social media is one of the biggest competitors because we compete for the time of our audience," affirmed Victoriya Boklag, CEO of United Group." "Our biggest advantage as a local player is the local content, so our strategy is to put our original content in platforms that young people consume, like TikTok, and use short-form content," she said.
Maria Valenzuela, General Manager, Movistar Plus+ International Division, stated that she is part of the Domingo Corral team, and Movistar Plus+ produces between eight and nine TV series annually. "When we create a show, we look for localized Spanish content, original but with international impact," she affirmed. Valenzuela mentioned that to succeed, the key is to be in contact with the industry very closely and consider the experiences and opinions of international partners. "We are very proud of the success of our shows, not only in terms of ratings but also about their presence in international festivals," she said. Movistar Plus+ has launched its international division recently, and Valenzuela said they had a hot welcome from the market. "We work close to the content creation department, and having an international arm is important to communicate what we do internally." In that line, the executive affirmed that Latin America is the territory where Movistar Plus' content travels very well. "The feedback we have from there is fantastic," she added.
Dimitris Michalakis, Executive Director of Cosmote TV and Member of the OTE Group Management Board (Deutsche Telecom), explained that Cosmote TV is the corporate name for two pay television services in Greece, owned by Greek telecommunication operator OTE. The two services are Cosmote TV via OTT and Streaming platform Cosmote TV via Satellite. The company has produced more than 160 original programs, like docudramas, reality shows, and scripted series like one about the Greek crisis that was very successful, and they are now producing the first series about a Greek serial killer. "It is a miniseries of six episodes, and we will finish the series at the end of the year," he mentioned. "Our main challenge is managing our position in the current market because the sports content is increasingly expensive, and it's a driven content for the youngest audience that we want to keep," he mentioned. On the other hand, he pointed out that traditional linear television is dead, "they are not relevant anymore, I'm not talking about the FAST Channels because that is another business, but now a day, people just want to watch sports, movies, and series," he admitted.
Aymeric Genty, SVP of Sales Europe, Video Business Unite at Eutesal, stated that the company has 40 years of experience in the space business, with 34 satellites for global coverage, with four satellites launched in Q4 2022 and ordering a new one called Fiexsat. "Eutelsat has 29 satellites for video services, is in charge of the broadcast of 7000 TV channels, more of 2000 in HD, gathering 1 billion TV viewers.". He also mentioned some current trends that are evolving in the market. "Video consumption is shifting to OTT and terrestrial streaming, with television and smartphones as the main devices. The global advertisement revenue is bouncing back on the linear segment. It will reach 153 billion by 2025," he asserted. Genty reminded that there would be more than 3 billion OTT consumers in 2021, and "AVOD and FAST Channels are to become the next big thing. They are already in the US." On contrary to Michalakis' opinion, Genty expressed that linear TV consumption remains strong. "The live broadcast TV viewing is still healthy, the linear television's reach extends to younger generations; terrestrial networks are unprepared for expected traffic growth, and there is an increased distribution cost of streaming and congestions problems on the terrestrial network," he noted.
NEM Dubrovnik was also the perfect scenario for the presentation of Lionsgate's new content featured by Angela Isojeh, Director, International TV & Digital Distribution, including "Burning Girls," a UK production available on August 2023 on Paramount internationally, and Roku is the US. The drama is set up five hundred years ago, when two eight-year-old sisters were burned at stake and now known as "The Burning Girls," their spirits allegedly haunt the village chapel. The series stars Samantha Morton, Ruby Stokes, Paul Bradley, David Dawson, John Macmillan, and Rupert Graves. "Northern Lights," a six episodes drama available on November 2023 on TG4 and ZDF. In the series, the worlds of two grieving strangers, Lloyd and Aine, collide on a rainy night in Dublin, leading to a weekend spent together that will change their lives forever. The series cast includes Stephen Jones, Elva Trill; Jennifer Heylon; Jay Duffy, and Susan Lynch. "Gray" is an eight episodes drama available on TBD. The US production tells the story of CIA spy Cornelia Gray who is coming in from the cold after twenty years in hiding. Patricia Clarkson; Lydia West; Rupert Everett; Wendy Crewson, and Shawn Doyle are part of the cast. "Pistol" is a UK production of six episodes available on Hulu, and it's based on the memoir of Sex Pistols' founding member and guitarist, Steve Jones. The drama series is directed and executive produced by Danny Boyle. "The Chosen" is 26 episodes drama available on TBD, and this fresh take on the Gospels follows Jesus as he gathers his disciples, heals the needy, and sacrifices himself for the sake of humanity. The cast list includes Jonathan Roumie, Shahar Isaac, Noah James, and Elizabeth Tabish. "Gaslit" is an eight-part drama available now in Starz and is a modern one that takes on Watergate focuses and the untold stories and forgotten characters of the infamous scandal. "Swimming with Sharks" is a thriller drama with six episodes available now on the Roku Channel—the series stars Diane Kruger; Kiernan Shika; Donald Sutherland; Thomas Dekker, and Finn Jones.
Isojeh also showed "Nacho," a Spanish series of eight episodes produced in Spain by Atresmedia. The series starring Martiño Rivas is available on Lionsgate+ and AtresPlayer. Other Lionsgate new titles are "Wong & Winchester," a Canadian production available on CITYTV, the docuseries of six episodes of "Paul T Goldman" available on Peacock; and she also brought details about Starz content for CEE Region like "The white princess"; "Dangerous Liaisons"; "Black Sails"; "Ramy"; "Party down," and "Blindspotting."
By Romina Rodriguez from Dubrovnik