Volume II of International TV Distribution Hall of Fame honorees will be out in print in December 2017, and will be ready for distribution at NATPE Miami in January.
This second volume, which will also be available online, is unique for two reasons. One, it introduces a pair of female pioneers. And two, it features four non-U.S. TV distribution executives (out of 10 total).
Neither task has been easy to achieve, but we at VideoAge are proud to have been able to do it — especially considering the overwhelming number of American and male candidates there were as compared to female and non-U.S. pioneers.
The TV distribution sector has changed drastically in recent years, having both a large number of female, as well as non-U.S. executives. Many of them are “veterans.” (At VideoAge, “veterans” are considered those executives who came into the picture in the late 1970s and early 1980s. “Pioneers” are those who started even earlier.)
However, the biggest change that VideoAge has observed since it began reporting on the international TV distribution field 36 years ago is not the digital revolution, the OTT, the new TV windows, or the 80 rights popping out all over the world, but the fact that it seems like international TV distribution executives from the U.S. have finally stopped longing for a Big Mac from McDonald’s after spending a week in Cannes!
All kidding aside, no other magazine except VideoAge publishes historical references, even though other trades that dealt with international program sales not only survived, but, in the case of Latin America, multiplied. But for them, it’s as if 55 years of the international TV distribution business never existed.
And yet, international program sales are what made commercial television viable and fostered its growth outside the U.S. If it weren’t for American international distribution, Canada couldn’t have supported its first commercial TV stations (which later formed the CTV network). If countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil hadn’t started exporting telenovelas in the 1950s and 1960s (first selling scripts, then kinescoped versions and later two-inch videotapes), Latin America’s TV industry couldn’t have developed as it did. If not for content sold internationally, Italy couldn’t have introduced commercial TV in Europe. And yet, very few records remain of these milestones.
In addition, great broadcasters came from the distribution area (e.g., Les Moonves, CBS; Haim Saban, ProSiebenSat1 and Univision; Herbert Kloiber, TMG; Bruce Gordon, WIN). Some successful producers also started as distributors (e.g., Paul Talbot, Don Taffner, John de Mol and Sandy Frank). The International TV Distribution Hall of Fame wants to recognize and celebrate these pioneers.