I was all set to see James Cameron talk about 3D. However, not that keen, that I would stand in a 4 person wide, 200 people deep line for 30 minutes, so instead of that report, you get this….
Meet The Digital Content Buyers.
Niko Chauls, Director of Original programming at msn.
Tim Wesley, Head of Programming, Blockbuster.
Anna Robertson, Head of Yahoo Studios, Yahoo!
The overview stated that the panelist would be discussing; the challenges of finding or creating the right content for your platform. Identifying the type of content they have on their wish list.
Sounded good – but I ended up with the feeling, that they do not really care about Indie Film and would rather move toward producing their own internal content, around niche audiences.
Niko Chauls, MSN: Niko was the best of the 3 speakers by far.
He explained that MSN’s content strategy is focusing more on original content. They are moving from being an aggregator and licensing content, to original programming.
He did admit that he and other panelists did not know much. He said “this is a new space, what’s true today, may not be true tomorrow. There are so many changes that you as producers and content creators should not seek answers from us, as we do not know. Its all new freaky crazy medium”. (or something like that, I was typing on an iPad so that might not be an exact quote).
He strongly believes that X-box Kinect has the potential to fundamentally change the way we tell stories. They want to push forward with an Open SDK and really involve developers in this exciting new territory.
Anna Robertson, Yahoo!
Yahoo are focusing on Event experiences. They are also strongly targeting Female and Comedy content. She stated that the Digital audience is discerning and will quickly tell you when you get it wrong. Like Niko she agrees the landscape is rapidly evolving “The space is transforming right before our eyes”.
Yahoo are seeing Tablet consumption at 1/3rd of all views, on many of their clips.
It seems for Yahoo that long form content to them is 7minutes.
Tim Wesley, Blockbuster.
Poor old Tim, got asked 1 question from the Moderator, then was never spoken to or heard from again. Actually I do not even think he got asked a question – This might have just been his introduction.
Blockbuster Digital has a broad depth of content. With over 100,000 movies. They are working on creating transactional VOD abilities inside of Facebook. Along with having the Blockbuster locker, accessible from any Blockbuster app across devices.
Do you want to get your film, short or web series picked up by MSN or Yahoo? Do not hold your breath.
The takeaways here were; MSN rarely purchase programming or acquire smaller Indie Films, both seem to be moving away from licensing.
On the flip side they stated that the barrier to entry is low. However to attract their attention you need big proof before they would look at it.
Pitching to Yahoo
If you still want to pitch your concept or content to Yahoo!, then use this dedicated Pitch email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best way would be to find an entry point or introduction via a Yahoo staff member. So if you know someone that works there, a friend of a friend even, then reach out. By using this direct channel you will get past the initial gatekeeper and email spam filters.
“A List” talent or no “A list” talent
Differing opinions here; MSN has more success not dealing with “A List” talent. Niko mentioned that the ability to sell advertising to brands makes little difference, with our without celebrity.
Yahoo seemed to be more leaning towards having a Celebrity aspect to their content (typical).
One of the panelist said “There will be over 230 million smart TV devices by 2014.” I am not 100% sure who said this, leaning toward Niko Chauls, as he said most of the good stuff.
The advertising landscape is changing rapidly and there is huge demand from advertisers for advertising on digital content. 2 years ago it was difficult to even convince a brand of the value of a Facebook like.
I was going to follow this talk up with the International distribution of movies and television panel this was on directly after. However we were made to leave the theater and line up again, I don’t do long queues
Whatever it takes to get the story.