Long reads

Q&A: Solange Attwood, Blue Ant International

Solange_AttwoodSolange Attwood, SVP, Blue Ant International talks about the company’s Digital Studios initiative and growing demand from consumers for short-form digital video content.

Why did Blue Ant add the Digital Studios category? What is its purpose and what kind of content does it specialise in?

In a world of digital disruption, Blue Ant International continues to broaden its catalogue and look for great content across many categories. Key is we are always looking for premium content that appeals to all customers on both linear and non-linear platforms. The key attribute of our Digital Studios offering remains good storytelling but run times, talent and categories of most interest do at times differ.

Since MIPCOM 2016, we have expanded our Digital Studios offering with a variety of new genres, including comedy, animation and paranormal. Highlights include The Brief (4×6’HD), Night Sweats (26×30’HD) and 360° video entertainment offering, Paranormal Survivor: Evil Surrounds You (6×1’ 360° & HD). As the largest distributor of 4K natural history content globally, we have expanded this library to include digital titles such as Wild Moves (6×3-5’ 4K & HD) and Casey Anderson’s Wild Earth (6×3’ 4K & HD).

How big is the market for this type of content and how fast do you expect it to grow?

The short-form strategy was initially developed to target non-linear platforms, but we have already seen an increase in demand for this type of content to fuel all platforms, including linear. Whether its short-form content to add value to an existing brand or a stand-alone series with a great storyline, Blue Ant International is always on the lookout for great programming with engaging storytelling.

What kinds of platforms are in the market for short-form and complementary content and how are they packaging it for their users?

The appetite for short-form content is coming from around the world. There frequency of new stories in the trades of new content viewing platforms launching globally is certainly increasing. These new non-linear services are often the ones on the lookout to purchase new programming in scale to fill their slate. Blue Ant International can provide all types of buyers, linear and non-linear, new and exclusive short-form content and help any brand discover untapped audiences.

What do you need to do to create high-quality short-form content from long-form content?

At its core, high-quality short-form content comes from great storytelling. Blue Ant International works closely with top-tier producers and provides them with market intelligence on what will be commercially viable. In the end, what’s important is the vision and approach to creating short-form content. If the short-form series is created with the same integrity as a full-scale project, you’ll likely end up with a great piece of content with a compelling storyline.

What kinds of additional content – linked to longer-form programmes – can be used to attract audiences and how does content on digital platforms complement the linear channel.

360° technology has proven to engage with audiences in a meaningful way as it allows the viewer to fully immerse themselves into a story without having to use a Virtual Reality device via Smart TVs, desktops and mobile. One genre that does fairly well in this space is paranormal content. Cult-classic Our House Media series, Paranormal Survivor (30×60’HD), will return to MIPTV with a new season, complemented with new short-form digital content via 360° technology. Paranormal Survivor: Evil Surrounds You (6×1’ 360° & HD) is a short-form series that features different scenes of re-enactments of relief paranormal encounters. The viewer is able to experience this content by clicking around on their desktop screen, swiping around on a mobile device or using a remote to navigate a smart TV to see different viewpoints as the scene unfolds in front of the viewers eyes.

Solange Attwood oversees the strategic direction of Blue Ant Media’s global distribution arm, a leader in premium 4K natural history content.