Content explosion an opportunity for TV

CANNES: “It is all about opportunities and it isn’t simple. Opportunity involves risk and in many instances, feels threatening,” said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Named ‘Personality of the Year’, Katzenberg was delivering the key note speech at Mipcom. “If one person seizes a new opportunity, then someone else has to lose ground,” he added.

Speaking about the evolving television, film and online video markets, he said: “Over the next two years, there will be an explosion of content on the web. In the 40 years I’ve been in the entertainment industry, I don’t think there’s ever been a time filled with so much new and unique opportunity for the world of television.”

After a successful stint in the film industry, DreamWorks has expanded its footprint to television production and distribution. The production house recently struck a deal with Netflix for providing more than 300 hours of original content, acquired the YouTube multi-channel network AwesomenessTV and partnered with RTL Disney Fernsehen. 

Dispelling fears that the era of TV was coming to an end, Katzenberg said, “Linear TV will do just fine, even with the internet explosion.”

Taking the audience through historical advancements since the invention of the printing press in 1445, he said, “Throughout history, it has never been seen that one form of media was replaced by the other newly launched technology.”

A firm believer in the concept that each technology imparts a new role to that which has come before it, he said: “Because there are so many emerging distribution options, there will inevitably be more demand for content.” 

Regarding the AwesomenessTV acquisition, Katzenberg said: “The deal gets us directly in touch with our teen audience in a way that we simply can’t with movies or TV shows. Just like an additional layer in a parfait, the entire media experience simply becomes richer and more satisfying.”

He pitched for mobile entertainment as a solution to the problem of ‘waiting’ saying: “Up until very recently, we literally twiddled our thumbs while we waited. There was nothing else to do. Now our thumbs have a higher purpose than to twiddle. Through touch screens, we actually now can touch the world. Thanks to these devices, ‘waiting’ as we know it, is dead.”

“Mobile has become an asset to traditional TV, rather than a threat. There is a crossover phenomenon happening in the relationship between mobile and linear TV. For instance, AwesomenessTV created a show by compiling the best clips from its YouTube channel and airing it on Nickelodeon. Mobile serves as an incubator of talent and concepts, driving additional traffic to traditional TV.”

Katzenberg concluded his keynote by expressing a need for great storytellers. “Storytelling – in any medium - is very difficult, and great storytellers are difficult to find. Whether the media is old or new, content continues to reign as king. And this is because - like all royalty - it is rare. Once the touch of great storytellers is added, touch screens can take us anywhere and everywhere,” he rounded off.

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