As part of our Road to MIPCOM series, we have chatted with several top executives about their plans for the upcoming market. This week, we spoke to Starz’s evp, Worldwide Distribution, about emerging territories for the company and the Starz’s new slate of premium, high quality content.
VideoAge: Do you expect this MIPCOM to be different from last year’s in terms of a) results, b) number of buyers you’ll meet with and c) activities around the market (parties/events/etc)?
Gene George: MIPCOM is always busy for Starz, but the magnitude of that is generally a factor of what new content we are bringing to the market. This year, Starz has A LOT – two new series and three TV movies. Between the entire Starz sales team, we will field more than 300 meetings during the course of the market, and with the new product, we expect MIPCOM to be a huge success for us.
VA: Do you feel that MIPCOM is becoming too big?
GG: Starz accomplishes a lot at this market – it gives us an opportunity to present our new content to a significant number of buyers in a short time period. We naturally wish that we had more time with our partners there. Clearly, there is a lot more content available with the massive growth of original programming around the world, but since Starz is focused on high-quality, premium content, we are in a space where the content is highly demanded, as less is being created in this premium space.
VA: If you had a chance to see the conference program, which one would you attend?
GG: Unfortunately, due to our busy sales schedules, my team and I generally do not have an opportunity as a distribution group to attend the conferences. However, the buyer panels and conferences on new and emerging rights always seem to be very interesting.
VA: Are you bringing new shows? What are they?
GG: We will have two new series and three movies. On the series side, we will begin sales on The White Princess, an 8 x 1 hour limited series based on the best-selling novels from Philippa Gregory that is now in production and scheduled to air in the first half of 2017. We also will be distributing internationally Insomnia, a compelling, high-paced 8 x 1 hour action series where twenty strangers are forced to play a game of life or death while a secret group of billionaires gamble on their fates. In additional, we will initiate sales on three new TV movies: Destruction: Los Angeles starring Craig Sheffer, Cynthia Watros and Emmanuel Vaugier, A Christmas Broadcast starring Melissa Joan Hart and My Summer Prince starring Taylor Cole, Jack Turner, Lauren Holly, Marina Sirtis and Vanessa Hart.
VA: Which territories are emerging for you?
GG: We are actively distributing Starz content in virtually all territories in some way… But we are still seeing growth territorially with emerging SVOD platforms and the multi-territory buyers. This would include the key territories of Europe such as UK, Spain and Germany as well areas such as MENA (Middle East North Africa) and SEA (South East Asia).
VA: Which window is increasing in sales? (FTA, SVOD, etc)
GG: As mentioned, we see continued growth in SVOD in multiple regions. We also continue to expand our reach in the Free TV market, as many of our premium series and TV Movies have performed extremely well.