TBI Weekly: Five key takeaways from the Media & Entertainment Leaders Summit

From TikTok overtaking the advertising revenue of Meta and YouTube combined, to Vice’s expansion in FAST and a call for clarity over the future of UK pubcasters from Banijay’s Patrick Holland, this week’s Media & Entertainment Leaders Summit (MELS) provided numerous talking points. TBI reflects on five key stories.

The week kicked off with news that social media giant TikTok is set to attract more than two thirds of online video advertising revenue by 2027, more than both Meta and YouTube combined.

The findings, which were revealed at MELS, indicate the direction of travel for advertisers as they seek the maximum bang for their buck. Reseach powerhouse Omdia, part of TBI parent Informa, revealed that 37% of all online video ad revenues would come from the Byte Dance-owned app.

Meta and YouTube, meanwhile, are predicted to take just 12% each, while SVOD market leader Netflix will take only 2%.

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Last month, TikTok leapfrogged Netflix to become the second most popular app in the US, with only YouTube retaining the crown for under 35s viewing, according to Omdia

Speaking at MELS, Maria Rua Aguete, senior director at Omdia, said that online video advertising is predicted to generate more than $331bn in the next five years, with the short-form video hosting service taking the biggest slice of that pie.

In the US, TikTok has already already overtaken other social media platforms as the place to watch video content, with the service’s rapid growth making it an appealing platform for advertisers seeking to reach wide audiences.

In particular, the platform appeals to young consumers, which is a highly sought after demographic by advertisers and has proved hard to reach via other channels such as traditional linear TV and other social networks, like Facebook.

Bea Hegedus

One particular brand looking to leverage its youth-skewing audience with relatively new tech is Vice Media, which is set to expand its FAST bouquet with a new channel dedicated to content from its Vice World News brand.

The new channel, revealed by TBI at MELS, will launch “very soon”, according to the group’s exec MD of distribution, Bea Hegedus, who said that the service would roll out in the US first.

It will offer programming that is “adjacent” to breaking news and will build on Vice’s heritage of factual content, which has grown consistently over the past five years.

Speaking during a FAST session at MELS, Hegedus said that the new channel would offer shows that provide in-depth explorations of current affairs subjects.

“[Vice World News] is producing authentic deep dives into the news around the world – they are doing really amazingly well on TikTok and they are doing amazingly on Twitch, too,” Hegedus said.

“We have these teams making incredible documentaries about news events around the world, so the idea is to launch a [FAST] channel in the US, first, where you can watch all of this.”

Patrick Holland

While Vice is looking to FAST for its future, Banijay’s UK chairman and CEO Patrick Holland urged the UK regulator to provide “greater clarity” over the future of public broadcaster duo the BBC and Channel 4 to ensure the country’s production industry to flourish.

The UK government has been exploring plans to scrap the BBC’s licence fee as well as to privatise commercially-funded Channel 4, although several rapid changes in prime ministers and cabinet in recent months has left these decisions up in the air.

Speaking at MELS, Holland, who heads up the Survivor and MasterChef rights holder in the UK, said that the inability to provide a clear regulatory future for the broadcast sector would impact confidence of the sector.

“The most important thing that we need to do in order to protect and propel the industry is to give much greater clarity to the BBC and Channel 4 in terms of public service, in terms of that next step.”

Holland, who worked at Fremantle and was the BBC’s director of factual, arts & classical music – as well as channel controller of BBC Two – before joining the production powerhouse earlier this year, said that “a confident public service core” made the British broadcasting sector “unique” and was vital to ensure the UK production sector’s future.

The UK remains an attractive co-production destination for global streamers, with numerous partnerships on shows including Chloe, which was produced by recent Banijay acquisition Mam Tor Productions. It was funded by the BBC, which took UK rights, and Amazon Prime Video, which took rest of world.

“The reason why the streamers love us and the reason why there is such great content being made by them is because of that ecology,” said Holland.

However, the Banijay exec, as well as fellow pannelists Caroline Cooper, COO at Sky Studios, and Alex Jones, Red Planet Pictures co-MD Alex James, all pointed to the ongoing skills shortages behind the camera as an increasing problem for producers.

Maaz Sheikh

While the UK grapples with skills shortages amid surging demand for its domestic content, Dubai-based Starzplay is looking to tap into Arabic scripted shows as it looks to expand its growing subscribers.

Starzplay co-founder and CEO Maaz Sheikh said that the MENA streamer is particularly looking to appeal to the “17 to 35-year-old segment”, while speaking to TBI at MELS.

Sheikh revealed that the streamer is spending between $40,000 to $200,000 per episode, noting: “It’s a big range, but it depends on the quality as well as scripted vs non-scripted.”

The first two originals headed to Starzplay are horror series Urban Legends, which will launch on the streamer in January 2023. Sharing details of the project, Sheikh said: “It’s an eight episode horror anthology. The idea is that each episode is set in one of the parts of the Arab world and it’s telling an urban legend or folklore from that part of the world but set in different time periods. Some are set in the 1970s, some in the ‘80s, some are going back to the ‘20s.”

The second show, which will launch later in 2023, is a local adaptation of the unscripted Million Dollar Listing real estate format set in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh told TBI that Starzplay is looking to strike co-production partnerships, noting: “We’ve always been keen on co-productions, we did one with Discovery+, Say Yes To The Dress, which is a Discovery format that we localised in the Arab world.

“So we’re always looking for co-production partners, someone to share the cost, but also to establish that show as well. You can have the best original, but if nobody knows about it, it’s not going to take off.”

Talking of the best originals, TBI celebrated an array of shows and the people behind them at the annual Content Innovation Awards, which took place on Wednesday night.

Irvine Welsh’s Crime, Once Upon a Time in Londongrad and The Masked Singer were among the stand-out shows celebrating success at the eighth iteraiton of the event, with companies including YouTube, Cineflix Rights, Banijay Rights and BBC Studios taking home prizes.

Special Award winners being honoured this year included Viaplay CEO Anders Jensen, Viaplay EVP and Chief Content Officer, Filippa Wallestam, Creative Diversity Network’s CEO Deborah Williams and Banijay Rights’ VP of Digital Shaun Keeble.


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