Natpe Miami 2018: content hub for a changing industry

Natpe Miami 2018 has come to an end with growing business on original content and co-production deals, in line with the digital booming.

The perception of less attendance at the Fontainebleau lobby and its market floor could be attributed to the fact that some companies decided to take suites at Soho House and Eden Rock, transforming the people traffic at the resort.

According to Prensario, there were about 4500 executives, from which 45% represented the domestic U.S. market, 30% from Latin America and 25% from other regions. There were 1100 buyers, from which 25% were digital (300 executives). All the big titans were present: Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, as well as Apple, Roku, Facebook, and all the regional and Latin American OTT community, which is bigger year to year.

In spite of the rumors about changing the city next year, JP Bommel, CEO, and Andy Kaplan, chairman of NATPE, confirmed Miami for 2019. The city is a great business hub to join the Americas, Europe and Asia, allowing international buyers from France, UK, Belgium, Nordics, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, Korea, Japan to go deeper on their content searches in both segments, finished content and formats, but also co-productions. New business formats and digital developments have taken place, as well.

Buyers testimonies? Andrea Zaras, head of content management, TV2 (Hungary): ‘We become leaders of the prime time after 15 years because we innovated with fresh contents. We decided to come to NATPE for that reason: to look for new providers, which can’t be seen in other markets. We are mainly seeking for daily shows and big shinny-floor formats for the prime time’.

Milagros Mayi, head of acquisitions, RTVE (Spain): ‘We are looking for new co-production opportunities for fiction projects in the Americas. Then, movies, documentaries and entertainment formats’. Johanna Salmela, acquisitions executive, YLE (Finland): ‘I really like NATPE. This year we are particularly interested in Latin content, which is warmer and with more feelings. Series like Los Serranos (Imagina, Spain) have been very successful in our country’.

Trendy concepts? Mike Beale, EVP development, ITV (UK): ‘The OTTs are taking the entertainment format business very seriously, but slowly as it forces them to generate new routines and production processes’. Herve Michel, president, TV France International: ‘18 French companies assisted NATPE Miami, which allows us to connect with America but also with Asia. French fiction is gaining recognition in the market place: it works well in Europe and globally’.

Vanessa Shapiro, president, distribution, Gaumont (France): ‘Many European companies are investing in America, producing original content in English. The American market is more open for foreign ideas and co-productions to refresh the offering. We are very successful with Narcos, which is a referent from Netflix to all the market’. One of the biggest announcements of the market has been the USD 32 million-budgeted co-production between Sonar (USA) and Bavaria Films (Germany), Das Boot (8 eps.) about the WW2. David Ellender (Sonar) and Moritz Polter (Bavaria) agreed: ‘It is fundamental to be authentic, and to combine fresh with original. If you are able to have the best story with the characters that people can relate to, you have a new hit’.

Michel Rodrigue, from The Fomat People (USA) about Asia: ‘Successful business models? Americans and Europeans are co-producing and co-developing with Asian. This former ones keep the IPs and sold the content to the global market on a revenue-sharing model’.

Digital? Roku and Facebook had suites at NATPE. While the first one is preparing a strong launch all across 10 key Latin America territories, offering different kind of platforms, channels and content, the second has announced three new productions for its OTT platform, Watch, and plans to expand globally.

There were innovative digital buyers as VEWD, which generates channels for SmarTVs that can be acceded by paying a fee or advertising; at NATPE Miami, it bought content but also discussed for alliances with key brands. And Future Today, which produces apps for OTTs and platforms as Roku.

Latest developments? Companies like Magic Leap offer VR/holograms contents: laser lens that allow creating characters and stories of the day-to-day life. Mediapro (Spain) production company Flipy and Sony PlayStation announced an alliance to launch videogames and educational VR contents, and NHK (Japan) announced the very first 8K channel in the world. Amazon plans to reinforce globally its Amazon Prime subscription service (attending 80 millions in USA, and very successful in UK, Germany, India and Japan, among others) and to offer with it the Prime Video service as a free-of-charge complement.

Apple announced during the show that it will invest USD 350 billions in five years, including 20000 new jobs and generating USD 38 billions in taxes. The rumor about the company acquiring Netflix resurged. Is it possible? Netflix is valuated in USD 700 billion. Today it is the king in almost every market in the world, but Disney has bought FOX and is about to launch two OTT services (one for sports in 2018 and the other in 2019), leaving Netflix platform forever. Everything is about to happen. Keep tuned.

Nicolás Smirnoff, Fabricio Ferrara, Rodrigo Cantisano, Alejo Smirnoff