|INPUT Sydney 2012 (Gulliver Media)||| Print ||
|Monday, 21 May 2012|
Clare Thompson, of Gulliver Media Australia attended INPUT Sydney 2012 from 7-11 May 2012 in Sydney, Australia.
Overall INPUT was productive in terms of meeting many international broadcasters within a week, sharing ideas, viewing and discussing programs and also to network. The diversity of cultures present and the collaborative nature of the event make it unique and inspiring. It was a very friendly environment – probably due to the ‘pitching pressure’ being absent, so both commissioning editors and independent producers were more relaxed! There are pros and cons to attending a conference that covers the whole gamut of television - drama, comedy and current affairs, as well as factual. One advantage is that ideas can go ‘cross-genre’ and it opens up new possibilities, one disadvantage is that some sessions seem not so relevant, particularly for specialist factual producers. Thanks to Screen Queensland for the opportunity to attend, as well as the organisers, ABC and SBS.
Public television across the world faces the challenge of maintaining its quality, high value and appeal to its audience in times dominated by social media, convergent media and multi screens as well as increasing number of digital channels. INPUT sessions looked at programs that are paving the way.
From an Australian broadcaster and producer perspective, there are emerging opportunities to forge relationships with the growing Asia Pacific region – not just China but other SE Asian countries.
Below are notes from some of the more interesting sessions I attended:
Working with the Asian Region
Malaysia will have 30% production rebate similar to the Screen Australia one from January 2013, to attract foreign productions. There will also be post production rebates.
Media Prima is a SE Asia media house producing a whole range of TV, print, radio, outdoor and online (tonton, gua.com.my), with joint production experience eg. History Channel, Okinawa TV
Astro has 130 channels in HD and SD & 12 radio stations.
RTM Finas and Radio TV Malaysia is the main public broadcaster – 80% local content, 20% foreign
CCTV China Central TV – 140, 39 channels, 1.2 billion audience share, 10% growth
Foshan TV especially interested in drama and new media/cross media
BTV Beijing TV 12 channels, 2 across whole nation, 260 hours/day; looking for good formats and cooperation with production companies, in line with government aim to develop cultural arts/creative industry
2 million reach, eager to develop relationships with other broadcasters
Discovery Networks Asia Pacific, based in Singapore
Commercial network has done well based on shared content, they are interested only in the unique needs of their unique audiences, coproductions work well as they take rights only for their region.
KBS public service broadcaster with 2 channels and 7 radio. Interest in nature and documentaries is expanding. Talked about spreading 'Korean Wave' (fashion, k-pop, film, drama, food) around the world 'exporting positive feelings towards Korea'. KBS world channel has 5.3 million you-tube subscribers, mainly US females. They believe in continuous participation and communication, with more feedback equalling contribution to mutual cultural diversity. KBS aims to be the hub for Asian culture worldwide.
Deals with co-productions, they have a history of working with neighbours, eg. Japan, China, but are interested in expanding. They are interested in high quality science and wildlife and human stories with an innovative approach, with a story relevant to Korean audience.
RTHK sole public broadcaster. Interest in innovative, controversial documentaries. They are expanding to cope with digital broadcast era. They produce 700 hours annually. They look to coproduce with partners sharing same belief/global vision.
PTS Public TV Service. Launched in 1998, has 150 channels. Interested in coproductions in childrens, documentaries and drama with international production companies – acquisition (no pre-buy), international financing and coproduction They successfully work with European prod cos currently (eg. Typhoon Island (BBC, ORF,WDR), Black Butterfly (ZDF, Arte), In Focus Asia – Birds without Borders (a group of ex BBC DOP's and producers now based in Asia), The Sixth Sense (WDR, Arte) – earthquake prediction science.
They are interested in working with partners who fill the following criteria:
- production house with key access to broadcaster or distributors
- experienced in coproductions
- Chinese or Taiwanese stories with different perspectives or wider appeal
- flexible mindsets/problem solving (not treated like Royal Family (!))
Things they consider in pre-production:
- editorial issues
- different working habits
- equipment, formats
- treatment and style of story
- style – their storytelling style is quite different
- universal appeal
NHK – funded similarly to BBC license system, reaches 50 million households. Big in-house production (75%) so competition to coproduce is high. They have ad hoc demands for international co-pros. They look for things that NHK cannot make – exclusive access, with bigger picture, while still relevant to Japanese people.
Cross Media and Touchscreens for children
PBS Kids pbskids.org
96% of 6-10yo kids come looking for games above videos and shows. They can get video elsewhere.
They incorporate a lot of educational info of kids progress for their parents, eg. literacy skills.
As in any new technology, its changing rapidly. They are now blending video and games, using connectivity and mixing things up a little eg. putting an interactive layer on top of video. Also incorporating the user using the webcam – so they can see themselves catch things, etc on screen.
Huge secret agent game in 2 media in Finland based around a weekly game show, with online agent avatars
PBS Kids: kids and touchscreens are made for each other, and producing for touchscreen allows them to reach a large proportion of the population, it's the public broadcasters mandate to produce for new technology
ABC touchpad – Play School Art for iPad – first kids app from ABC content area. There is a huge appetite for this market.
Easy Ways to Deliver Environmental Issues
Toilets to the Rescue of the Earth - KBS Korea
Interesting to see the style of this Korean doco – it is slow for Western audiences, and shooting/editing as well as overall style is very different, more simple. It was targeted at non-environmentally interested audience, and it engaged them, with average ratings (5.9%) at 8pm as a Sunday Special.
The Light Bulb Conspiracy – Arte, Spain, Catalunya
This was easily the best program I saw at INPUT – very well made, with excellent use of archive and an unravelling mystery story mixing genres (environment, science, history, politics). Based around the premise that 'an article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business' and explains why our printers and ipod batteries are designed to fail after certain amount of use – it is 'planned obsolescence'. It has gone viral on the web, they are not making any money on DVD sales – internet piracy is an issue. Budget: EURO380,000, 3 yrs research & development, 10 month production, 1 month filming internationally.
This session looked at online documentaries –
Syria (Arte) – heart of project is online doco (also on TV) with extra context, presented in a news journal style, it is open and growing as things unfold.
In Situ (Arte) – a poetic essay about urban space based around a participative map and a very immersive and cinematic linear 90 min narrative
the Block (SBS) – virtual time capsule of history of the Block – the centre for aboriginality in Sydney – four streets over forty years. 360degree panoramic views night and day with soundscape, 15 core interviews with residents.
Afghanistan (Arte) – 10 years, 100 viewpoints. 13 hours of video content. A 52 min doco was made based on short pieces shot by locals.
Bear 71 NFB ONF http://bear71.nfb.ca/#/bear71
Very interesting format for an online nature/environment documentary. From 'Being Caribou' director it is the story of a real bear in the Banff area. It combines a 20 min continuous narrative from the POV of the bear as it recounts life in a park modified by roads and other human activity. As the user listens to the narrative, they navigate their way around the park as a geo-landscape graphic map with selectable night/day vision of bear activity/hotspots (rub trees, trains, night/day vision, cubs, a carcass) and other wildlife in the park, all with groovy music. It is held together by the very well written narrative, voiced by Mia Kirshner. The bear has to learn not to do what comes naturally in this wild/wired world. The vision was shot over many years in the park. The budget was Can$ 250-300,000, with 150,000 visits to the site so far.
You Should Have Stayed at Home a doco made from 48 hours of you-tube video from 35 sources, and 55 consequent interviews, made in five weeks on the victimization and police brutality during the G20 rallies in Vancouver. Solution to losing audience to you-tube? So more programs should be made like this. Excellent for sense of 'real' and immediacy, vs manufactured media. Nominal fees for rights to use the footage. [BBC have a dedicated UGC hub.]
Attending markets and conferences is always great for gathering intelligence and perspective and inspiration. Of particular interest and use were the sessions on working with the Asian region – including SE Asia, with the Korean and Taiwanese markets potential partners for documentary production. Attending the sessions on new technologies – touchscreens, web documentaries and other convergent media and seeing how these formats are coming together was invaluable.
Overall INPUT was great for networking and learning new trends, gaining knowledge of the current international and local factual/documentary public broadcasting industry marketplace and getting ideas.
It also provided an opportunity to meet in person with Karina Holden, ABC commissioning editor, and progress the program Wild Stakeout Australia.
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