Mansha Daswani, the editor of World Screen, highlights what you’ll find in our May digital edition and the new initiatives we’ve launched that serve our readers during these times.
April used to be my favorite month. Frigid winter temperatures ease. There are trips to Cannes (for MIPTV) and Bali (for APOS). The May upfronts, when the U.S. networks unveil their upcoming schedules, are just around the corner, meaning lavish presentations in New York City and many, many hours spent building our very handy Fall Season Grid.
April also means “Summer Fridays” are around the corner, when we can leave work early for a couple of months before we start gearing up for our massive MIPCOM edition!
This April was unlike anything I could have imagined. It was full of fear and doubt, isolation and angst. My routines aren’t what they were. Days seem to bleed into each other when you’re home all day. Traditional work hours don’t make much sense. My usual cue that it’s evening is the daily 7 p.m. Clap Because We Care initiative, when New Yorkers clang pots and pans and yell out of their windows to salute the essential workers who are saving people’s lives and running the transport system and making sure we’re getting our groceries. A few weeks ago, a saxophone player joined in the nightly cacophony and his or her renditions of “Stand By Me” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” made me genuinely misty-eyed. One night the tunes stopped and I was left to wonder: Did they run out of material? Did they move mid-pandemic? Or did they get sick? Such morbid thoughts run through your mind when you can’t go out to dinner or see friends or catch a movie or a play.
Of course, mysterious sax players are not the only things consuming my time. I’m listening to podcasts and upping my cooking game and tuning into some fantastic “Quarantine Parties” on Instagram. And, I’m spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about how we serve our readers, and our clients, in unprecedented times. On that front, I’m so thrilled with what the entire World Screen team has been able to accomplish in the last two months as we, as an industry, negotiate the business of international television this summer without markets to attend. Our new WorldScreenings newsletter puts distributors in the spotlight, allowing them to showcase their new offerings to the global content community. We’re doing a similar initiative in Spanish with TV Latina Screenings. Launching June 1, TV Real Daily will cover all the latest developments in the non-scripted world, from factual entertainment to documentaries to game shows and entertainment formats. These are the segments we expect will bounce back the fastest once shutdown measures ease. And we’re doing a series of In-Demand reports this summer, beginning in June with TV Kids spotlights on preschool, comedy, action-adventure, live action and projects in development. We’ll follow those up with TV Drama In-Demand reports in July focusing on four key genres in the scripted business: crime, romance & family, Scandinavian and Turkish. And in August, we shift our focus to non-scripted, exploring true crime, lifestyle (food/travel/home reno), history, wildlife and science and technology. In the absence of conventions this summer, these new offerings present distributors the opportunity to virtually pitch their shows directly to the buying community.
And, of course, we’re still making beautiful magazines, like our May digital edition. We surveyed some leading broadcasters about how their acquisitions strategies have been impacted by COVID-19, and hear from two preeminent distributors: Lionsgate’s Jim Packer and ZDF Enterprises’ Robert Franke. This May edition of World Screen also includes Q&A’s with ViacomCBS’s Pierluigi Gazzolo and noted showrunner Chris Brancato.
We are also fully preparing for events to return. There has been much discussion about how COVID-19 has changed us forever. Will people still want to get on planes to attend conventions when they can make transactional sales online? From my view, I don’t think anything compares to the thrill of seeing a marvelous new series in a packed Grand Auditorium or feeling a salesperson’s genuine excitement about a show as they cue up a trailer or the creative magic that can come out of chance meetings between producers and platforms and distributors that really make attending these markets so worthwhile.
So, until we can reconvene this fall, when this scourge of a virus is hopefully under control, visit subscriptions.ws to sign up for all the fabulous daily and weekly newsletters we’re putting out to help you navigate these times.