Media C-Suite Week No. 45, Issue No. 31

The Media C-Suite Issue 31 Week 45

A Week in the Media C-Suite

It’s Sunday, the 5th of November, 2023.

As if made for the movies (or perhaps TV), today marks the commemoration of the Great Gunpowder Plot, colloquially referred to as Guy Fawkes Night or simply, Bon Fire Night across the British influenced world.

This conspiracy is a compelling tale of political intrigue, economic disparity and daring do, wrapped within legend where the hero and the villain are one and the same.

So too, seems to be the lesson that can be drawn from the issues of Guy Fawkes to the conflicts we face today. That is, if one group of people makes another group of people desperate enough, those desperate people will do desperate things.

Just Catching Up?

It’s a never-ending journey. Embrace it.

Today we compose our weekly briefing from Los Angeles. London was yesterday and Cyprus was a few days before that.

Know Your Audience

A common theme we are perceiving from multiple sources on our travels is the power of the audience. 

It was once far more important for a film-maker to tailor their creative content to the minds of distribution and acquisition execs who control distribution than to cinema-goers and TV audiences who would watch. That strange truth has put a lot of creatives under a great deal of professional and financial pressure while placing massive corporate and financial power in the hands of the distributors.  The audience simply didn’t factor in.

But highly experienced voices are telling us that times are changing.  Look at sport.  It is clearly the fans that matter most in the financial equation. However, it has been the television broadcasters that paid the money to sporting clubs and sporting leagues that have become multi-billion organisations as a result.

Today, the fans have much more choice on how they view their sport, spend their time and spend their money. The same is shaping up for the whole of Media & Entertainment.  Giving the audience (not the middlemen) what they want is now an essential component to success across our industry. As one of our sports rights gurus told us:

“If you understand the fans, the ultimate customer, then you can give them what they want. If you don’t, you can’t.”

– Philipp Grothe 

For a great read on this, check out Philipp Grothe’s answer to the Big Question:

A Small World

Cyprus

While in Cyprus, we worked on the plight of fellow publishers and media organisations as they reconsidered regional bases of operations.  With Isreal and Hamas both in the process of utterly destroying Gaza and every country in the Middle East trying desperately not to intervene, news groups are growing increasingly desperate about their journalists and staff in harm’s way.

Cyprus is a stone’s throw from the conflict zone, but worlds away from the conflict. It is relatively protected from wayward incursion by membership within the European Union and a uniquely strange physical relationship with the UK, the US and Turkey. It is also, now, an increasingly appealing location for the staff of media types covering the downward spiral just a few hundred miles offshore.

London

Why London? Well, its London! 

Everything these days touches London in some way. 

At least, we find that to be true within the global Media & Entertainment industry. Global deals are structured and financed as much in London as in New York and content is increasingly produced from London as from Hollywood.  

The Media C-Suite goes where the work takes us.

Los Angeles

LA. The City of Angles and the beating heart of Hollywood. This is where everyone who is anyone in entertainment eventually travels on pilgrimage. Great to be back.

If only that meant back in business.  But, alas, all is far too quiet on the Western front. The “Producers” of the AMPTP are still in conflict with the performers of SAG-AFTRA. The writers of the WGA may be back to work, or at least able to work, but the issues that sparked this dispute continue. The principle is the same as for all others:  If you push a group into desperate circumstances, they will resort to desperate measures. 

In this case, its strike action. But what may feel like desperation may be a matter of perspective. The AMPTP represents the distribution businesses of the major “Studios” as much as they do the average film or television producer.

What is there to produce, and distribute, without performers? So, it follows, that performers have as much power as any distributor.  This fact may not have always been true, but with every member of any consumer audience anywhere now available to anyone with access to an internet connection, performers are everything. 

Perspective:  it may be the Studios that are in the desperate position.

To read up on this perspective, take a look at these articles that we prepared just for you.

And

Looking Forward?

It’s the only direction time allows us to move in.

It Takes Money to Make Money

It’s a crude statement. 

We all need it to fund our businesses, and to feed our families.

So, we’ve prepared a few articles to help you prepare to go out and hunt for it.

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Media C-Suite Week No. 46, Issue No. 32