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#NEM2018 day three: The more local, the better
 14 Jun 2018
The third day of NEM 2018 dealt mostly with local production and it pointed out that the CEE region is missing quality scriptwriters.

The first panel of day 3 tackled one of the hottest topics out there just a day before the start of the football World Cup: football rights. Moderator Ivica Blažičko went in search of a mystery man or a mystery mechanism that is keeping the price so high, but to no avail – it turns out that the prices are a result of a multitude of factors: agencies, broadcasters, telecoms, advertisers and football federations are all looking for ROI and, above all, there is a huge demand for this type of content.

The two panels dedicated to local production showed that local content seems to perform best with the audience for most of the FTAs. Matthias Settele, General Director of Markiza, summed up the situation for FTA broadcasters in small markets: “The news is the backbone, daily series are creating stability, and reality formats are giving it a bit of gossip and some controversy. Drama series are much more challenging in terms of production. Humor is the most local category and so far we’ve been creating it ourselves.”

Henning Tewes, CEO of RTL Croatia, mentioned the adaptation of The Biggest Loser as one of the recent challenges in this respect: “We decided to make it as a program for self-improvement and participation in the show was a way to accompany candidates on this way” The main drawback of local production is its price and the risks that come out of it when discussing younger demographics and digital trends. Dražen Mavrić, Head of the Management Board at Nova TV, confirmed that advertisers play a big role: “As long as our market is such that the majority of advertisers are targeting the same core audience between 20 to 54 years of age, we are not changing this.”

Another conclusion that emerged from the two panels tackling local production is the need for quality screenwriters in small markets across the CEE region, but also in the ones outside of it, such as Israel. Taliah Shahar, Head of International Business at United Studios Israel, said that writing is key to local production. Gabriella Vidus, CEO of RTL Hungary, confirmed that writing talent is missing and that this is the main reason behind importing foreign content. Pete Smith from Antenna International explained that they had to hire an English screenwriter to train the staff for the Croatian/Serbian co-production they are working on. Kim Moses, Executive Producer at Sander/Moses Productions, strongly believes that co-productions are the future of content.

The case study by Steve Mathews, HBO Europe’s VP of Drama Development, was a natural extension of these panels. He presented another locally produced show, the first HBO Adria drama series produced in the CEE region called Success. “The more local, the better” is Mathews’ motto, so it comes as no surprise that he tried his best to get the region’s finest when choosing the script among more than 400 submissions. He opted for the script written by Marjan Alčevski, and the series production was finished just last week under the direction of Oscar-winning Danis Tanović.

One of the most interesting presentations of the day was surely the one by Arash Pendari on applying AI in the TV industry. Unlike the traditional shallow metadata, Arash’s team at Vionlabs worked in a completely new direction using emotional audio data to provide an advanced user experience for the consumers with individualized content and AI-generated movie trailers.

Another look into the future was provided by LG Electronics which gave insight into a whole new era of television with a presentation by Gyorgy Takacs. The endless possibilities of this amazing TV as well as the best viewing experience make LG OLED TV the leader in premium technologies with ultimate picture quality, ultimate design, and smart artificial intelligence AI ThinQ, which offers easier control with natural voice and an intelligent viewing experience with content information – just ask your TV and your TV can be the brain of your home.

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