A Note from the Editor: The Great Reset (Again)


It hasn’t been that long since it felt like everything was changing all at once. This has shades of those weird early days of Covid-19, all of us flocking to Zoom and other platforms to see each other again as we figured out how to keep businesses functioning amid a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing event.

And while we were doing that, consumers everywhere were flocking to screens to find ways to entertain themselves, and that boom is part of how we ended up here, isn’t it? The mad rush to direct-to-consumer, of course, predates the pandemic. Still, the viewership surge had everyone doubling down on content spend, ramping up originals and, as we all know, wanting to own everything everywhere for as long as possible. The Hollywood majors shifting their outputs to their own services ended up benefiting a lot of independents internationally. Everything got bigger—but peak TV did have to peak eventually, inflation was bound to happen, and now everybody is course correcting, restructuring and recalibrating, trying to figure it all out again, with the added complications of AI and TikTok and whatever other technology-driven new game-changing service that will show up to disrupt the business again.

Preparing for what’s next is top of mind for all of the executives I spoke to in preparing the April/MIPTV edition of World Screen. In Germany, Bert Habets, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media, is strengthening the company’s local content output and scaling Joyn while still building its channel brands as it anticipates further viewing shifts and gains in the ad market. In Canada, Sean Cohan, the president of Bell Media, is keen to build the profile of Canadian content globally, drive multiplatform ad buys and boost Crave’s ranking domestically. Jonas Engwall, CEO of Bedrock, highlights the company’s streaming technology solutions as broadcasters invest in their AVOD platforms.

The rise of AVOD came up in my distributors’ survey in the April/MIPTV edition, with many executives excited about the continued expansion of connected TVs, especially internationally. FAST remains a vibrant opportunity, but the U.S. is well past maturity, with a market culling expected soon. License fees worldwide have been under pressure, but distributors are optimistic about a bump in acquisitions as broadcasters and platforms rethink their original content spend. Top line? It’s rough out there, but if you have good content, know how to monetize it effectively and are present across the value chain, you can weather the 2024 storm.

In all the news about tough decisions that need to be made as companies streamline and adapt, the headlines I find hardest to take are the ones about the content that got pulled for the sake of tax write-offs. One of the pleasures of my job is talking to the people who make the great art that entertains us. The World Screen edition features my chat with the delightful and funny Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph, stars of the BBC One and Amazon Freevee crime caper Boat Story. Jack and Harry Williams had written the roles with Haggard and Joseph in mind, and their passion for the show was palpable. A passion for capturing iconic images led Jimmy Chin and his wife and creative collaborator, E. Chai Vasarhelyi, to document several acclaimed photographers in National Geographic’s Photographer. They love what they do, and it comes across in every episode. I find it gut-wrenching that in this time of being able to watch pretty much anything from any era at any time, anywhere, great pieces of content that so many artists put their hearts and souls into will never see the light of day. I’m rooting for Coyote vs. Acme, although things weren’t looking great for that film at press time. Known IP helps—but it won’t always save you.

There will be much talk of known IP this year as broadcasters and platforms opt for safer bets. But that may not be the best way to lure new audiences. AVOD service Tubi recently teamed with The Harris Poll to release The Stream 2024: Streaming Insights for Marketers. It found that Gen Z and millennial audiences are seeking diverse, original content from independent creators, with 74 percent preferring originals to franchises. Plus, 71 percent want to see more TV shows and movies on streaming that are independent or from smaller creators.

Meanwhile, as viewership trends, financing models and streaming strategies evolve, the markets were also bound to. The annual calendar is busier than ever and shifting; some events are growing, and others are getting smaller. Those of us convening in the south of France will be sharing intel on what’s reshaping the business and getting through what looks to be as unusual a year as 2020 was in so many different ways. At least this year, we have the Olympics. And the UEFA EURO 2024. And if anything can bring audiences to screens at any one time, it’s a great sporting moment. This year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched U.S. broadcast since the Moon landing. So, amid the chaos of this year, we’ll get to cheer around a TV screen; is there anything better?