All is quiet on the Western Front, perhaps because it’s summertime and the living is easy…But come September, reality will set in and all the problems will come to a head.
If one could make a list of all the issues facing the industry, the first item on the agenda would certainly be the difficult time facing small production and distribution companies, especially with cash-flow problems due to the unfinanced gap between money advanced to producers and distribution costs, with late collections. These gaps could be anywhere from two to four years.
Big companies aren’t immune, either, with the changing exploitation windows. And in the middle there are mid-size groups that tend to grow by acquisitions, and now that there is little to acquire, are either looking to go public or to themselves be acquired in a financial environment that is not conductive to either solution.
Second on the list are the new challenges facing TV networks, which result in lower license fees and reduced local production, directly affecting production and distribution companies. Another hidden problem is management, with some stations holding on to ossified executives and others bringing a new crowd wanting to reinvent the wheel. Plus, each TV outlet is facing its own set of issues. For example, the main issue for FTA is how to deal with the fact that it still delivers the critical mass to advertisers and yet is losing out to niche media. Cable-satellite channels are risking unbundled prospective, while premium channels are facing online VoD services.
Third could be the increasing cost of attending trade shows (which include accommodations and airfare). For trade show organizers, the problem is how to give more ROI to participants. Plus, some are struggling with calendar dates and others with locations.
For countries that depend on state subsidies, the problem is mainly with a political landscape that is either corrupt or incompetent and tends to bloat public companies with patronage, removing initiatives that work and keeping those that are ineffective.
All of these challenges and more will be analyzed in the MIPCOM Issue and Daily of VideoAge.