The global boom in subscription video-on-demand does not automatically mean boom time for independent producers and brings a number of new challenges as well as a new market, according to Lorenzo de Maio, head of TV advisory and partner at specialist finance and sales agency Endeavor Content.
Speaking at Series Mania in Lille, De Maio said that production companies faced “some big challenges” and noted that there was now “more competitive pressure than ever” in the sector.
“Even the SVOD buyers are starting to become more selective about their suppliers,” said De Maio. “They don’t want to deal with a hundred small production companies. It makes the supply chain unreliable. They will look to trusted partners that have the capability to sustain their customers.”
De Maio said that navigating the SVOD providers’ rights requirements presents additional challenges to producers, with distributors now insisting on retaining rights long-term, which can have an impact on the viability of production companies as ongoing concerns.
“Just getting your show made does not necessarily provide a benefit in terms of the longevity of your company,” he said. “You need to be more thoughtful and ask what is the IP that will drive [that future].”
De Maio said that producers also need “to be much more subtle” about understanding the needs of a local and global audience and advised that “making choices about the partners you go with will really affect how a project goes to market”.
As an example of the need to be open to new approaches, he cited Killing Eve, the UK-originated show that Endeavor Content had helped get made.
Originally conceived as a “fully British show” that had failed to find a taker, the producers had “decided to open up” to a more global approach, securing the support of BBC America, he said. Endeavor Content had then been able to secure finance to get it made within a relatively short timeframe.
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