If the financial world venerates family scions, Hollywood reveres family pedigrees, and Gina Brogi has one, having grown up on various studio lots (with a mom who worked at Paramount and a grandpa at MGM).
After growing up around studio talk, and with 20 years of her own personal involvement in the entertainment business with various Hollywood studios, Brogi is now president of Global Distribution for Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution (TCFTVD).
Brogi’s understanding of the intricacies of VoD windowing in its various forms — SVoD, AVoD, and TVoD, among nine or so others — did not escape Mark Kaner, TCFTVD’s overall president. Kaner saw to it that Brogi would, for the first time in the history of the Fox studio, be the only executive responsible for overseeing the sales of all TV series and feature films across global Pay-TV and SVoD services, as well as international free and basic TV channels.
Brogi entered the entertainment business from the financial side, having graduated with an MBA from the Anderson School of Management of the University of California in Los Angeles. She quickly became an expert in forecasting content sales for various platforms. “I love forecasting,” she said during an interview at the recent MIP-TV. “I have always been good with numbers,” she added.
And, as for the differences between forecasting and the ultimates (a topic discussed at length in the Hall of Fame feature in this Issue), she explained that, in her experience, while forecasting takes the whole sales division into consideration, the ultimates project figures for each individual show or movie.
VideoAge met Brogi at the recent MIP-TV in Cannes to review how TCFTVD has reinvented itself to address the changing global media landscape.
At the outset, before scheduling an in-depth review at a later date due to time constraints at the MIP market, she summarized her belief that the VoD business will eventually become a direct-to-consumer service, but stressed that the linear market will continue to exist.
And indeed it has to, thanks to a continuously evolving and craftily developing windowing process. This will continue to exist until a new business model — one that doesn’t create the type of negative cash flow experienced by Netflix — is found. Currently, linear television pays up to 40 percent of a series’ production costs upon delivery, and the deficit is recouped in the international market. With direct-to-consumer, all production costs are upfront and take longer to recoup. To be paid upfront, a studio producing only for Netflix and the like generally won’t get profits that are generated by back-end sales.
Because of her expertise with sales figures, in 2000, just a year after she joined TCFTVD as director of Finance, Brogi was asked to move to the sales team, where she became involved with global Pay-TV and SVoD sales.
Prior to entering the entertainment business, Brogi worked in Los Angeles as a senior associate with Coopers & Lybrand Securities, the investment-banking arm of the public accounting firm. She also previously served as an associate at Pathway Capital Management, a venture capital investment management firm.
She then joined Universal for a short eight-month period before moving to TCFTVD. At Universal, she was involved with the PolyGram merger.
Before heading TCFTVD’s sales division, Brogi served as EVP of Worldwide Pay-TV and SVoD. In this role, she finalized deals with the world’s premium Pay-TV and SVoD services, including HBO, Sky in the U.K., Germany, and Italy, as well as regional and global over-the-top streaming SVoD services, including Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
Globally, Brogi has served as an advisor, representing Twentieth Century Fox’s interest in premium television services such as Telecine in Brazil, and in developing the nascent stages of SVoD channels in territories such as India and China. In her current role, she has worked to establish office openings in Milan, Munich, and most recently, Singapore and Beijing.
Picking up from where VideoAge had left off at MIP-TV in Cannes, the conversation with Brogi continued from her base in Los Angeles.
VideoAge: With the advent of different types of VoDs, how has your sales process and sales team been impacted? How have you adapted to the changes?
Gina Brogi: Whether SVoD, AVoD, or TVoD, the consensus is that consumers want to watch content where, and most importantly, when they want it. Over the last few years, we have seen more free-to-air or ad-supported services offering on-demand experiences to their customers. Our job is to meet trends in consumer demand, but it is also to make sure that there is programming value in making content available on these VoD platforms via stacking rights.
Our sales executives are excelling at being creative and strategic with our content in regards to rights and windowing, which have become more complex in the last few years. As a result of this complexity and change in the market, we’re becoming more flexible around windowing because the old windowing models are not necessarily what works best for our content these days.
VA: Has the level of content that is out there in the market today — available to consumers across free, pay, basic, or SVoD platforms — changed how you do business?
GB: The amount of content out there today has definitely affected how we conduct our business. But it hasn’t only changed how we do our business at Fox — the massive amount of content available to consumers has changed the global distribution business altogether. It’s a challenge that I’m proud to say we’re rising to as an organization by combining cutting-edge technology with more nimble and innovative sales strategies. In a new world of virtually unlimited choices, which can be overwhelming to consumers, we are hyper-focused on getting the right content to the platform where the right consumer is watching.
VA: How would you say the Fox content differs from competitors’ content?
GB: We are fortunate to be licensing a catalog of content that is unparalleled in depth and breadth. This has allowed us to become experts at licensing this vast array of content from widely appealing tentpoles and arthouse films, to broad television dramas and comedies, to premium programming and nonfiction programs, to both family-friendly animated films and adult animation series.
We’re recognized around the world for distributing iconic award-winning films to recent arthouse Academy Award-winning films to fan-favorite franchises. Our studio has created hit series, and we have the distinction of having the longest-running primetime scripted series in the history of television, The Simpsons.
(By Dom Serafini)
Audio Version (a DV Works service)