Time for the weekly predictions post!
Every subscription service needs content, so that it can differenciate itself. Because why would people add your service to their monthly credit card bill, if they get the same content from a competitor? Netflix has of course been the posterchild for this kind of trend, as noted by Jason Hirschhorn yesterday:
Back in 2013 at Rovio, we launched ToonsTV to much excitement. From the start our programming strategy was clear: Yes, we would bring in third party content, but given the placement of the video player inside our gaming apps, we’ll need to meet and exceed our audience’s expectations by giving them exciting Angry Birds content. And the strategy worked.
Youtube Red, Youtube’s paid subscription service, did not wait for long to unveil an original slate of projects, generated out of the huge talent pool that uses Google’s video platform for distribution and fan engagement. Here in Finland, telco Elisa has made forays into original content for their ‘Elisa Viihde’ OTT product, garnering a slew of TV award nominations. And now even Apple is rumoured to be entering the fray, cementing the fact that you cannot have a viable SVOD product without your own anchor content.
I see all of this as a remarkable development for animation producers world wide. The proliferation of financing options is great news for any content creator. As long as you remember to slice your rights the right way, and are able to negotiate your windows effectively, there’s a whole lot to gain from all the new entrants into the distribution game.
A very good example comes from Amazon. Their original series have been a strong contender alongside Netflix’s, both for audience appeal and awards. But their January announcement to build a slate of movies that they will distribute both threatrically as well as through Amazon Prime, coupled with attaching respected indiefilm player Ted Hope, sent cheers through the independent film community. It might turn out to be a real game changer for that part of the industry.