Banijay Rights on changes in TV distribution
Toby Russell Chief Executive Officer
In this episode of ‘Inside Content - the TV Industry Podcast’, I speak with Cathy Payne.
Cathy serves as Chief Executive of Banijay Rights, setting and executing the business’ global distribution strategy for Banijay’s burgeoning catalogue of 110,000+ hours, which includes landmark brands, Survivor, Big Brother, MasterChef, Temptation Island, Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror, and many more.
Firstly we discuss Banijay Rights recent acquisition of Endemol Shine. Cathy explains that the integration of these two large companies with its global staff and extensive catalogues has been a large task. The Banijay Rights catalogue now stands at over 110,000 hours of content and growing each year - both from their own productions and third party relationships. Three quarters of content now comes from within one of their own production companies - companies they previously had relationships with, are now part of the group. Then the remaining twenty five percent of content comes from third parties.
Endemol and Banjiay have always been well known for their big entertainment franchises such as Master Chef, Survivor and Big Brother. Prior to the merger, Endemol Shine had had a stronger reputation in the scripted area than Banijay, in particular out of the UK. Whereas Banijay had a number of strong scripted labels in the non-English territories, particularly in the Nordics. She reiterates that the focus for the business as a whole is broad audience entertainment and she believes that the future will be in both non-scripted and scripted. Cathy adds that their catalogue covers all types of programming but they aren’t known for niche areas such as Fine Arts - broad appeal will always be their core focus.
Cathy explains that with the recent changes to the distribution market, it is important to be creative when making a deal and consider where you place programming to ensure long term success. She adds that it’s paramount to understand the content, have a sophisticated knowledge of the market and appreciate the needs of the people you licensing to. “I also think that when we sell content, you need to know the value of if you move a programme or the programme is on one channel compared to the other, what is the likely audience? What are the trends? What's the opportunity cost?”
One of the key topics discussed during the episode was the trend around D2C, as many Studios are now focussing heavily on vertical integration. Cathy discusses how she sees this development as a huge opportunity for Banijay Rights. The global OTT platforms not only require global brands but as they build their services internationally, they also need local content from territories. She explains that as a global production house, Banijay Rights knows all the smaller markets intimately as their production houses are established there. Additionally another benefit is that with such a large library, they have also retained the rights for local content in the home market - she adds that the retention of their IP is an important cornerstone of the business.
Cathy explains that Banijay Rights have been very public about being platform agnostic and wanting to work with everyone. She believes they will do deals with streamers where they will be seeking all rights, versus other deals where they are sold on a territory by territory basis. Their vision is not to be a producer for hire as a full time business model. “I think we’ll all see our business, more and more becoming a mixed economy”.
The TV industry is currently undergoing further consolidation and Cathy believes that this will only continue, with the large players further strengthening their position . “I think there will be the big and the boutique and it’s very hard to compete in the middle ground, especially if you don’t have an in house product supply”. In the last few months there has been consolidation of a number of OTT offerings and also the number of VOD services launching globally - she believes that further consolidation will happen in years to come. A key catalyst for this is that the Studio model has changed, as they premiere content on their services first and also there have been changes to their windowing structure.
The significant growth of AVOD and FAST channels as a revenue stream has been a key TV industry development. For Banijay Rights, AVOD has been a really important focus for over five years and they have experienced significant growth in that sector. They work with the likes of Pluto, Roku, Youtube, Facebook, Snap and Instagram to name a few - through licensing content on a revenue share model or self publishing. Whilst the sector is growing, Cathy explains that not all content will perform well and the shows that were successful in their linear initial licenses perform best in the AVOD world. She adds that it is important to consider the operational costs with AVOD and FAST. Whilst it is easy to get up and running, “there is a cost of having a title in circulation and collecting revenue, reporting revenue, so you have to focus on on that product that delivers the best and can keep those operational costs down because there are a lot of costs involved in in delivering channels and and operating it effectively”. She adds that the real growth in this area comes from local content in that territory and “that it doesn’t matter what platform you put it on, it has to have an editorial focus to reach the audience for that content to be successful”.
Other topics discussed during the episode including Banijay’s upcoming slate and new shows.
Here is a breakdown of the topics discussed in this episode:
[2:40] Banijay Rights and Endemol Shine’s catalogue and the merger
[4:41] Is your content coming from in-house or third parties, what is the percentage split?
[8:00] How has the TV distribution market changed in relation to rights, exclusivity, new services and windows?
[9:44] Does Banijay Rights see the new shift to D2C and vertical integration as an opportunity for the business?
[14:13] How important is IP retention to Banijay Rights?
[15:21] How do you see the TV distribution market changing in the next five years and do you think more consolidation will happen?
[17:51] Is AVOD and FAST a key opportunity for Banijay Rights?
[21:48] What are the key challenges of the AVOD market?