The biggest challenge for broadcasters in content development is creating a balance between global and local: Andy Kaplan

The biggest challenge for broadcasters in content development is
creating a balance between global and local: Andy Kaplan

The second day of the ongoing 14th chapter of Asia’s foremost conclave
on Media & Entertainment – FICCI FRAMES 2013, saw a lineup of heavyweight speakers at its annual media trade event. One of the interesting sessions that took place today was a session on the ‘Future of TV’ by Mr. Andy Kaplan, President, World Wide Networks, Sony Pictures Television. The discussion touched upon varied topics like content development, distribution, web syndication network systems in developing nations and future of television in India.

The first part of the session delved deeply into content development and the challenges broadcasters are facing currently. This is an exciting time to be in the content business; viewers have moved away from loyalty to TV channels to loyalty to individual programmes playing on different channels. It is a free market environment where more and more new players are now in the business of content creation; the revenues are coming from different windows in the value chain. There are several new networks and there is an increased demand for programming content. There are more avenues to sell content and generate revenues and it is very important to get the right license fee for the content. Additionally, there is a need for increased expertise in the distribution network.

The biggest challenge for global entertainment channels in content creation is striking the right balance between global and local content. The content needs to be tailored according to the audience viewing habits and demands that are unique to each market. Mr. Andy Kaplan, President, WWN, Sony Pictures Television said, “Local programming drives higher ratings and global broadcasters like us need to pivot and adjust our content accordingly to survive in a competitive market. Moreover, lot of research is required to push the boundaries and have the latitude to localize but also retain the global flavor. There must be a constant dialogue between the two and one must remember single size cannot fit all.”

The second part of the session was a discussion on the potential that Web syndication network systems have in developing nations like India and Latin America. Non- linear television has a huge opportunity for distribution and grabbing eye balls in the BRIC nations due to the robust broadband penetration and growing economy. Moreover advertisers are keen to get into this space and reach out to consumers who do not fall within the purview of linear traditional television. Commenting on this, Mr. Andy Kaplan added, “Crackle is a non- linear network owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment. It consists of Sony’s library of films and television shows. But most importantly it is an outlet for original content. It is doing extremely well in countries like Brazil and Portugal and I hope it will become equally popular in India.
However it is important the content of Crackle is significantly designed not to cannibalise on Sony TV content offering.”

The session ended with a discussion on the future of television in India. India is a great market for global broadcasters; partly emerging, partly sophisticated. Digitization is expected to double the advancement of the market and will be significant for revenue systems. Non-linear tool is at a nascent stage in the country however there is huge potential in this space that needs to be capitalized. The youth in India are inclined towards social media therefore more and more broadcasters are investing in social media apps as part of their marketing efforts. Mr. Andy Kaplan summed up the way forward to this transitional phase by saying, “It is very important to co-exist. New outlets and networks will crop up in the days to come. We need to be nimble and flexible and open to all outlets and maximize output. India’s regional space is also growing and provides huge opportunity to reach out to newer audiences. In the past 17 years since our presence in the Indian market, India has grown exponentially and it is an ever growing market. Therefore it is very important to adapt to changing times and always remember our job as entertainment broadcasters is to entertain our audience, provide the right content that is tailor made to suit their taste.”

The session was moderated by R Sukumar, Editor in Chief, Mint.