With a catalogue of more than 4.700 half-hours, Nelvana is one of the leading international distributors of kids content. Julia Dodge, who has recently been promoted to Director of Global Strategy & Distribution for the company, described Nelvana’s strategy, explained its “video on-demand territory” approach, analyzed the current needs in the market, and advanced the firm’s intentions to heavily invest in live-action shows.
● How would you describe Nelvana’s global strategy?
“We have a wonderful sales team which divides by territory. Besides region, we also consider video on-demand as a territory, which is something many companies not do. For us, essentially any VOD platform that crosses a border becomes kind of part of the ‘video on-demand territory.’ As streamers get more and more broad and expand globally, it becomes much easier from a client perspective to have one person responsible rather than having maybe three agents working on that. VOD is a different world and it deserves its own strategy, specially now that it is such a significant part of the industry.”
● Are streamers demands the same in every territory?
“I think the demands are similar, because it is kind of borderless. Streamers are so global right now. Obviously, not everyone has the same programming priorities, and every platform has its own editorial focus, but I think they are all about having the volume of content to keep the platform new and fresh, to differentiate from other services and also to retain subscribers. That is a universal thing.”
● What needs do you observe in the kids’ segment?
“First of all, I think clients need volume. Now is less about the actual titles but more about the quantity of content you need in order to launch a service and sustain it. From the volume perspective, we are positioned really well to meet the needs of a lot of new streamers and even the old ones which are looking to sustain their catalogue. Another key thing about our catalogue is that we have some legacy brands, which streamers are also looking for. Legacy IPs are the ones which will bring people to services. However, we also offer fresh content, something new and different. There are lots of streamers in the market right now, so when we look at new content, we think about the differentiator that is going to bring one consumer to a VOD service.”
● Is linear still one of the company’s main focus?
“Absolutely. Sometimes is either streaming or linear, but most of the times we do not see that way. Many times are both, as there is such a strong audience for both and there is enough space in the kids industry for strong partners in both spaces. Therefore, linear still is a massive part of our business. We still actively look for partners on the linear side as well.”
● What are you planning for the future?
“Nelvana is going to make a significant investment into the live-action space, which is new for us. It is a new business model in terms of the content we are creating and the partners we will be looking for. It will be really different, but we are really excited about it, as it is going to be something Nelvana has not done in years and years. We started a few years back with ‘The Hardy Boys,’ which recently premiered its second season in Hulu in the United States and Disney+ in the rest of the world. That was such a fantastic experience and such a great partnership that we are doubling down into live-action. In fact, we are going to bring a full slate of live-action properties to the market in the next years.”
By Diego Alfagemez