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'There is significant increase in competition from companies and countries from Asia and LA' : Iatas president and CEO Bruce Paisner

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The International Emmy Awards have been growing in strength from year to year. These recognise the best in television from around the world. This time around The International Academy of Arts and Sciences (Iatas) wants India to be a bigger part of the awards and the Academy. With that aim in mind Iatas president and CEO Bruce Paisner is coming down to India next month to meet with the top television industry professionals. He will be assisted in this by Anil Wanvari a member of the Academy.

In an interview with Indiantelevision.com, Paisner talks about the role the Academy plays in recognising the best of global television, country participation, the importance of having digital media awards.

Excerpts:

 What role does The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences play in facilitating awareness of global television programming?

We award International Emmys in ten categories as well as digital and news categories. During the year we run panels and forums to stay at the cutting edge of developments in international programming. We set the standard for excellence in television programming. Performances and nominations and wins are carefully followed by industry professionals, television fans and the media at large.

We pride ourselves in offering every year, a unique cultural showcase of the best television currently produced around the world. When a producer or broadcaster enters a programme or performance into our competition, they open themselves up to many wonderful opportunities: being nominated or winning an Emmy of course, but also, having their programme watched by jurors from all over the world.

Additionally, our network of over 600 Members from 50 countries who represent all sectors of the television industry including mobile and Internet, plays a major role in promoting our activities and the importance of entering into our competition.



In light of this, we are doing more activities with our Members and more international outreach.

How has your flagship event, The International Emmy Awards, grown over the past five years?

The International Emmy Awards Gala has grown in both prestige and attendance. It also has grown in the number of countries represented that night in the room. Last November, we had over 50 countries represented. The International Academy’s goal is to make the experience in the room better for our guests every year. People convene to New York for the International Emmy Awards and The International Emmy World Television Festival and we strive to offer them a full 3-day programme which includes both business and social events.

The buzz around the awards has grown. Last year we gave Special Awards to Lorne Michaels and Simon Cowell. Past award recipients in the last five years have included Steven Spielberg, Al Gore and Oprah Winfrey. The global publicity and excitement around the event is rising every year and we are thankful to our Gala Partners, Phoenix Satellite Television, TV Globo, Microsoft, Dori Media Group, Ascent Media, Ernst & Young, Variety, Mip TV and Sofitel Luxury Hotels for their continued support.

How does the selection process work? Has country participation increased?

It is important to understand that The Academy does not select programmes; the producers and broadcasters need to enter their programmes into the competition. All the rules and entry information are on our website www.iemmys.tv.

We have a total of 15 programme categories. Nominees are selected through a lengthy and rigorous judging process which takes place over a period of six months and three rounds of judging. Over 720 independent jurors, who are selected because they are experts in their category, participated in this process in 2010. There are four nominees in each category that make it to the final round

Regarding increase in country participation, in the past five years we’ve seen significant increase in participation in the competition from companies and countries from Asia and Latin America. Entries from Latin America have doubled and those from Asia, the Middle East and Africa have grown by more than 50 per cent. Unfortunately, India’s quality programming is vastly underrepresented so far. We look forward to that changing.



 

 

What kind of marketing do you do to create awareness among broadcasters about the awards?

We have ad campaigns that run in trade magazines throughout the year, throughout the world. We are present at the leading trade shows such as Natpe, MIPTV and Mipcom. We distribute our publication, The International Emmy Almanac, at those events where we also advertise about membership and entries into the competition.

We also have a quarterly newsletter that goes to over 10,000 industry contacts worldwide and a Facebook and Twitter following. And as you know, since you have been hosting a semi-final round of judging for us for several years, we are present in over 15 countries every summer with local semi-final rounds of judging events organised by member companies. These events are strategic in creating awareness about the competition because they involve content producers directly. Once they see how the competition works, they are more likely to enter their programmes.

"India is such a prominent player in the television industry and unfortunately, this is not reflected in the International Emmy Awards competition. We hope more Indian television professionals will get involved with us"

You added the digital Emmys a few years back. Was that done to acknowledge changes happening in a rapidly changing media landscape?

Definitely, as The International Academy we need to reflect the developments in our industry. Multiplatform content is the norm now, and audiences’ viewing patterns are leading the growth in the digital sector.

The International Digital Emmy Awards recognise excellence in programming and content created and designed for viewer interaction and/or delivery on a digital platform (i.e. mobile, internet, interactive TV, etc.) originating outside the United States. We have three categories: Fiction; Non-Fiction and Children & Young People. The competition has been growing over the past five years and we’re looking forward to more entries every year.



 

The aim for you is to stay one step ahead of developments in the industry. What steps were recently taken to achieve this?

This is a very good question. Of course, we need to stay one step ahead so that our members can stay one step ahead. To that end we organise industry forums and panels that address the central challenges and opportunities our industry is facing.

Our competition also stays one step ahead. One example is the digital Emmy awards, with the three categories which have evolved over the years and the presentation of a Pioneer Prize, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of an individual or organisation to the field of digital entertainment. Another example is separating the news categories to News & Current Affairs and presenting them at a separate News Emmy awards ceremony presented by the National Academy in New York.

Also, the Telenovela category was created three years ago because of the global nature of the phenomenon and the need for our competition to recognise this important genre became imperative.



 

Could you talk about the scope The International Academy sees in India for content producers and channels to be a part of The International Academy?

First of all, we encourage Indian content producers and broadcasters to enter their programmes into the International Emmy Awards competition. The entry deadline for this year is February 20th, all the information is on our website www.iemmys.tv. It’s very simple to enter, and also important to enter as many categories as possible.

Also, if you are involved in international television, you should consider becoming a Member. Our team in New York will be happy to help with any questions regarding Membership, they can email iemmys@iemmys.tv.

India is such a prominent player in the television industry and unfortunately, this is not reflected in the International Emmy Awards competition. We hope more Indian television professionals will get involved with us and thanks to the wonderful platform offered by Indiantelevision.com and Anil Wanvari, we hope this will be possible.

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