By Leah Hochbaum Rosner
With the annual Los Angeles Screenings approaching, international television executives are busy readying themselves and their slates for what they hope will be a productive and prosperous market — the economy notwithstanding. Armando Nuñez, Jr., president of CBS Paramount International Television gave VideoAge a candid studio perspective, with insight into attendance numbers, the seemingly sudden disappearance of parties, and what industry folks really think about having to work through Memorial Day, one of America’s most revered holidays.
VideoAge International: How many buyers are you expecting at the studios’ Screenings this year? How does this compare with last year? Why are numbers up or down?
Armando Nuñez: While all of our clients will be in attendance as in previous years, there may be fewer executives attending from each group. The overall attendance numbers may be lower, but not by a significant amount.
VAI: Why are there so few studio parties this year?
AN: There have been fewer studio parties in recent years, not just this year. We did away with the annual concept of parties years ago but continue to engage our clients on a smaller, more targeted basis.
VAI: Are you satisfied with the new crop of pilots this year? Do you want to see more of any particular genre? Is there any one pilot you’re betting on?
AN: As one of the most successful and prolific studios in the business we are always excited with our development slate and pilots for both dramas and comedies. The studio is already betting on all of its pilots by making the type of financial investment required.
VAI: What are your thoughts about working through the Memorial Day holiday? Will this help or hurt business?
AN: As our international clients are already scheduled to be in Los Angeles that weekend, we made a strategic decision to screen on and during Memorial Day weekend. I don’t think it will have any impact one way or the other.
VAI: Do you expect buyers to purchase more finished product since many places are cutting back on local production? Are you expecting prices to stay the same or change? Will they be higher or lower?
AN: Our buyers are savvy and they will license programming that they feel will work in their territory and that they can sell to advertisers. Generally speaking, acquisitions are more cost efficient than local production, which may present some opportunities for us, but it is very much territory dependent. Pricing will vary according to territory and program, but we always want higher pricing.