Output deals from Hollywood studios are things of the past’. ‘Quality local content is what matters’ were some of the key messages from Nordic channels’ TV executives who took centre stage at Tuesday’s ‘Focus on the Nordics’ Conference day at MIPTV in Cannes.
In the panels ‘Reinventing Broadcasting’ and ‘Reinventing Content’, both Casten Almqvist (pictured – CEO TV4 Group in Sweden) and Anette Romer (TV2 Danmark Head of Acquisitions & Formats) clearly outlined their companies’ strategy to retain audiences in a highly competitive market.
“TV4 is a super content-driven company. We invest heavily in drama and sports and at the same time pour money into technology,” said Almqvist to the packed Auditorium A of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. “We are re-shuffling our company now to refocus on local product and particularly on scripted content because of its longer shelf life. A good idea on linear TV will most certainly expand on digital,” he noted.
Romer gave her own vision of TV programming of the future: “Danish viewers’ interest in TV drama seems to grow and grow, and the average viewing for local drama series is often around 1.2 million these days. It’s like a rising tide. At the same time, quality drama tends to spill to other genres. At TV2, we therefore bet on local products and commission more local drama. “She continued: “Output deals with Hollywood studios are things of the past because Hollywood films don’t work anymore on linear TV and we need to schedule them elsewhere and look at different business models.” She urged US studios to work hand in hand with TV2 to offer ‘more flexibility in rights exploitation’.
For Mikko Pöllä, Group Creative Director at Finland’s giant entertainment group Rovio Entertainment, ‘the key is to make content big locally to then expand worldwide’. “Today, broadcasters have around 45 minutes to get people hooked on a show. In the App world, you have 1cm by 1cm to engage the audience. That’s a huge challenge in today’s fast-paced world. You need to create something that stands out. That’s where big brands have a clear advantage”.
Other ways to retain audience’s attention is to keep innovating and taking risks with content and storytelling, something at the heart of DR’s Drama strategy. “After too many procedurals, I felt that it was getting boring and time to move to serialised drama with The Killing to tease our audience, “said Piv Bernth, Head of DR Fiction who sat on the panel ‘The Hottest Dramas from the Cold’. After Borgen’s success, I told my writing team: ‘smash it and move on!’ The key for us is to continue to do original stuff and to use new talents.”