Reaching out to your online audience.

Mobile devices will slowly take over traditional TV, becoming the new platform to reach out to your audience.

Creating online content quickly to reach out to your audience daily is critical in this new market. Nowadays, more and more new facial captured systems are out in the market. Some of them uses image recognition and a web cam. This makes it  affordable and easy to set up. It helps you to bring out the content quickly and also bring down your cost of production. You can create a CG standup comedian and entertain your audience daily.

Once you have established your fans, very quickly you may start looking at licensing and merchandising opportunities.

So you see, the strategy of IP creation has changed. You no longer need to create a TV series to reach out to your audience.

This is a good case study:
Barbie is now a youtube Star. You can read about it here.

This is a cool technology that is affordable and easy to setup. Do check it out.


Has Animation Distributor’s Business Model changed? What causes the change?

Has Animation Distributor’s Business Model changed? What causes the change?

(A question posted on our Facebook group)

As the TV Licensing fee continue to drop, producers have difficulties raising money to create new content for TV. As a result, this affects the business of some distributors. Sometime back, I heard some executives lost their jobs as distribution companies start to cut back on their overhead.

Producers are also getting more and more savvy these days. With their government support, many are going to markets on their own now to build relations with the broadcasters. They no longer depends solely on distributor’s assistance for distribution. In Asia, I do know a few production companies that has the ability to self distribute their own content. This is another reason how it affects the distributor’s business.

Though producers have the ability to speak directly to broadcasters, this does not completely change the whole distribution model. Some broadcasters buy content in bulk for their channels. And they prefer to talk to distributors who has a huge catalogue than dealing with producers one by one.

Now that OTT (Over the top like Hulu, Netflix) is slowly catching up, many producers still depend on distributors to reach out to them. Example: Base on our own experience, it is not easy to reach out to Netflix on your own. They will never talk to you if you are a new producer with no track record. A few years ago, I manage to seal the deal and build a relationship with Hulu when it first came out. I was told by some Korean producers that it is no longer as easy as before. I heard YouTube talks to content aggregators. Content aggregators practically serve like distributors to get bulk content for online platforms. They will never talk to individual producer unless you have the relations with them or you are a reputable one.

All in all, things are always changing in the market. Some distributors I know have started to produce their own series and self distribute it. Once the series get popular, they will start to make money from licensing / merchandising. With this change, they no longer depends solely on distribution fee of others content.

Think Global. Not Local.

Producing an animated TV series can be a costly and high risk process. Never rush into producing a series and ended up having difficulty to find a buyer later.

Making an IP successful does not mean that you must produce a TV series first. The media platform is changing very fast. Over the years, it has opened up many new ways to engage the audience. An IP is just the source. It can spin-off into many platforms (TV Series, Feature Film, Games, Books, Comics etc) to engage the audience. TV Series is not the only way.

In some countries, the domestic market is small, weak and pays little. Some companies jump into production and rush to finish it in low quality. Thinking to reduce cost in this way so that the local broadcast license fee can cover their cost. Hoping that one day, when the company becomes bigger. It can produce TV series of higher quality eventually. The danger is the reputation of the company maybe tarnished by then. And the company might never reach that stage as it gets stuck in its own domestic market forever. And the fee paid by your local broadcaster might not even cover your production cost at the end. Do the maths carefully first. (Price Guide)

In my experience, I say “Think Global. Not local.”

If you want to start with a series. Start by creating a good concept. Don’t worry about the money first. When I said good concept, I mean

i) a concept with an appealing and engaging idea to capture the audience.
ii) a concept with good designs, good merchandising and business opportunity.

Seek distributors’ or if possible broadcasters’ feedback first. Or you can test the audience reactions on social media platform. Producing a TV Series is a very expensive process. Do it step by step. (How do you manage your risk during the process of developing an animated TV series?) Do it with care. If you have a good response from the social media platform, you can use the result to raise money from your government, investors or distributors. Your fans are your greatest assets. Or if the distributors or broadcasters like your concept, request for a letter of intent. This will help you look for finance to produce a teaser or a pilot episode.

Remember this – “Think Global. Not local.”

Various Types of Licensing Rights to Broadcasters

When you license the rights to distributors or broadcasters, it is important for you to know what is it. Additional rights can generate additional royalty for you.

Free TV or Free to Air (FTA)
Channels and broadcasters providing content with no subscription. Most National Broadcasters are FTA.

Pay TV

Pay television, subscription television, premium television, or premium channels refer to subscription-based television services, usually provided by both analog and digital cable and satellite television, but also increasingly via digital terrestrial and internet television.

VOD (Video on Demand)

Systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content when they choose to, rather than having to watch at a specific broadcast time. IPTV technology is often used to bring video on demand to televisions and personal computers.

Television VOD systems can either stream content through a set-top box, a computer or other device, allowing viewing in real time, or download it to a device such as a computer, digital video recorder (also called a personal video recorder) or portable media player for viewing at any time. The majority of cable- and telco-based television providers offer both VOD streaming, including pay-per-view and free content, whereby a user buys or selects a movie or television program and it begins to play on the television set almost instantaneously, or downloading to a DVR rented from the provider, or downloaded onto a PC, for viewing in the future. Internet television, using the Internet, is an increasingly popular form of video on demand.

Some airlines offer VOD as in-flight entertainment to passengers through individually controlled video screens embedded in seatbacks or armrests or offered via portable media players. Some video on demand services such as Netflix use a subscription model that requires users to pay a monthly fee to access a bundled set of content. Other services use an advertising-based model, where access is free for users, and the platforms rely on selling advertisements as a main revenue stream.

Catch up TV
A growing number of TV stations offer Catch up TV as a way to watch TV shows though their VOD service for a period of days after the original television broadcast.
Subscription models

SVOD (Subscription VOD )
Subscription VOD services use a subscription business model, where subscribers are charged a monthly fee to access unlimited programs. These services include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go.

AVOD (Advert-supported video on demand)

Viewers are allowed to watch content for free, however they must watch advertisements at various points throughout the film. A portion of the ad revenue is then returned to the content provider.

Example: Youtube, Hulu (US)

Launching a PR Campaign for your company

Launching a PR campaign is very important for the overall reputation of the company. (No matter how small your company is.) Hence building relations with the press network is crucial. It doesn’t mean that once you send a press release to the press, it will get publish. A lot still depends on your relationship with them. If a company has built a good reputation, i) it helps you to get service work ii) broadcaster’s will pay attention to your series iii) it helps you in terms of recruiting good people for your company. Targeting the right press is important. For the animation industry, you need to reach out to the right audience. Below is a list of publications you should reach out to. They are the ones that has the most outreach to most executives in the industry. Kidscreen and Animation Magazine have a huge daily outreach. 1) Kidscreen 2) Animation Magazine 3) AWN 4) TBIVision 5) C21Media 6) WorldScreen 7) Variety 8) Hollywood Reporter 9) Toonbarn These are not so easy to reach out. But worth the try. 9) New York Times 10) LA Times 11)) Wall Street Journal 12) BBC You should make good use of the social media which includes professional facebook groups, linkedin groups etc.