Andra Sheffer @ Transmedia Victoria


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"Lessons Learned: Best Practices in Collaboration, Quality and Business" was presented at, Jan 27th 2011

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  • Therefore, the Bell Fund funds television programs and interactive digital media content related to the tv program, for web, mobile, digital signage, interactive tv… |Bell TV = satellite service provider – all CDN cable and satellite companies must contribute to Cdn tv or digital media programming BUT, there are other platforms involved: books based on the project, music, merchandise sales, feature film, live events (which we do not fund directly)
  • Enhanced extensiosn = online, mobile, interactive TV, app’s, Facebook applications, digital signage
  • /
  • Minimum 30% from each country 2 of the following elements from each country: underlying property, creative lead, tech lead, project manager, lead performer (or animator), writer Ros Tatarka (Gen Mgr., Industry Development, Film Victoria) Amelia King, Manager , Digital Media Fund, Film Victoria
  • IPF – tv drama series to web series Learning process Ruby Skye
  • Tween mystery – 23 episodes 4-8 min. – online Rock/Paper/Scissors game, Facebook activities, blogs, etc.
  • Budgets range from under $100|K to up to $1 M (digital components) Average budgets are decreasing Kids have expectations and time… Adult drama big challenge – must be very focused and relevant – or casual games
  • Storytelling across platforms – enhance the experience when each medium makes a contribution to the story – using what each platform has to offer; Be CONFIDENT that there are benefits to extensions Multiple platforms require demands on audience – only 2 mass media have the impact: tv and gaming -- hard work!
  • Other platforms should not be an after-thought Design from earliest point with all platforms in mind Content is never finished – you can always update, refresh, respond to user feedback, expand, add on… be prepared for the ongoing process and for using your audience feedback to adapt your content to what they want FEEDBACK – eg web series – shoot 20 episodes, see what characters, storylines are working, focus on those for the rest of the series… Call to action – eg a contest – that will involve them = buy into project/return/participate/tell others
  • Strong coordinator – ensures development, scheduling, implementation, roll-out of the material Central source - for example, bible, style guide, database, animation, research materials
  • CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION – send audience/users to each different platform Approval process – record Promotion/marketing is a big challenge in this infinite content universe - your platforms are strong tools for you - design to promote the other content platforms; for example, tv broadcast includes the URL for website which includes how to buy the book and the music which in turn promote the website.. Know stakeholders – broadcaster technology, release dates of publishing catalogues, design to appropriate tech Delays – build them into your schedule Every content provider has creative pr and marketing ideas and knows how to access their markets – take advantage; don’t leave it all up to the broadcaster, for example
  • CREATE and DESIGN for BUILD at the planning stage for different downstream destinations; design modularly – database to manage assets – encoding – cataloguing…for ultimate destinations Value of a website = 1/10 th value of tv licence OR value of one episode = standard BRANDS – tv broadcaster limits it, BUT with original WEB CONTENT (no broadcaster) - sponsor who is incorporated into the storyline in some way… IPF WEB SERIES – moderation company, golf course, newspaper, POTENTIAL Be aware that revenues may be small amounts over long periods of time If you make 10% return on the dollar, you should be happy….in general… need more $$!
  • Think global! Canadians have small market (like Australia), but that is no longer an excuse! Marketing budgets are there for a purpose – resist temptation to pay for new design, coding labour, etc. out of marketing budget Audience – can promote – virally – blogging, etc. --- but also add to the storytelling experience No one ever has enough $$ or time to do the marketing they would like to do - be aware and plan for this – need knowledgeable social media marketers – who actually do it, not just tell you how to do it! Full-time job…for as long as the project is viable - some things to consider in the marketing/promo world today: social media – Facebook page(s), twitter updates, multiple portals to host your content need their own promo; awards events – site of the daty… blogs, push email marketing, membership updates, traditional media, press releases, swag, posters, Audience – blogs, establishes websites, comments, tweets, and VIRAL promo – all-powerful
  • Particularly challenging in transmedia with multiple platforms, multiple stakeholders, multiple creative partners, many potential sources of revenues, small amounts over long periods of time… Canadian broaacasters want all rights to all platforms for the duration of a licence (at least) - they want to share merchandising revenues internationally (even if they do contribute to the financing of various platforms!) Terms of trade big issue We designed Rights Principles – try to control so that producers and investors (like us) could recoup in our own territory (Canada) – Establish satisfactory answers to these questions before you enter into any agreements – or you may be cutting off potential revenues, creating lawsuits between partners… Biggest unresolved issue facing the industry Back against the wall – ready to go into production and get a take-it-or-leave-it contract from your clien
  • Online and on television and on mobile – all have their analytic programs to measure audience participation Take the results with a grain of salt -- baseline only -- relativity Not comparable – tagging issues – done differently, home pages are different between coders, flash, sections versus pages, online, you can measure number of visitors, where from, how often they return, what pages they go to, how long they spend, the order they do things, watch them live…where they get blocked, how they navigate… Judicious use of audience stats will allow you to improve your content, make it more accessible, respond to audience interests, Example – a site getting 0 visitors – we flagged – news to producer (who did not pay attention once delivered) and broadcaster who moved on to other projects - WHY? – turns out registration wasn’t working, so no one could get onto the site -- valuable audience feedback! Watch the trends = analyze the peaks and valleys FEEDBACK – what content gets the most page views? – create more content that users want
  • - multi-platform, relative ease of content development = niche markets/audiences – OK!
  • Quel impact votre projet aura Pour votre compagnie Pour l’industrie Pour le Fonds Bell
  • Andra Sheffer @ Transmedia Victoria

    1. 1. Transmedia Victoria: Best Practices for Cross-platform Success <ul><li>Andra Sheffer </li></ul><ul><li>Executive Director </li></ul><ul><li>Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Overview of Bell Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships and Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Business models </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic measurement </li></ul>
    3. 3. Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund 1997-2010 $94 M invested in 580 cross-platform television and digital media projects
    4. 4. Bell Fund <ul><li>a government mandated private, independent Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporated as a non-profit organization </li></ul><ul><li>Governed by an independent 9-member Board </li></ul><ul><li>Receives annual contributions of 1% of Bell TV revenues = $13M annually </li></ul><ul><li>Niche mandate “to advance the Canadian broadcasting system by funding excellent interactive digital media projects associated with Canadian television programs” </li></ul>
    5. 5. Cross-platform <ul><li>Core story = television program (usually) </li></ul><ul><li>“Enhanced extensions” through interactive platforms provide immersive and engaged experiences for audiences </li></ul>
    6. 6. BF examples
    7. 8. Bell Fund Programs <ul><li>Provides grants of up to 75% of the production budget of the digital media component to a maximum of $250,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Plus matches broadcaster cash contributions </li></ul><ul><li>Plus provides a grant of up to 75% of the broadcast licence for the TV component to a max of $75 K </li></ul><ul><li>Development grants up to $50 K </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Development training, research, conferences, publications, templates, etc. </li></ul>
    8. 9. Evaluation Process <ul><li>3 annual deadlines for applications </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for “wow” factors </li></ul><ul><li>Industry experts evaluate </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations go to Board of Directors </li></ul><ul><li>Final decisions made by Board </li></ul>
    9. 10. Evaluation grid
    10. 11. New Media Co-production Framework <ul><li>Canada-Australia agreement (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Producers from each country </li></ul><ul><li>Creative and Financing elements from each country </li></ul><ul><li>Eligible for Bell Fund support </li></ul>
    11. 12. Web series funding <ul><li>Drama series created for the web </li></ul><ul><li>Generally 10-30 episodes of 3-8 minutes each </li></ul><ul><li>Budgets average $2-3,000/minute </li></ul><ul><li>Transmedia platforms include online interactive activities; games; character blogs; Facebook pages, books, action figures, clothing, </li></ul>
    12. 13. Web series: Ruby Skye P.I.
    13. 14. Measures of Success <ul><li>National and international awards </li></ul><ul><li>Provided Canadian content for Canadian audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing traffic numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Created multi-platform companies </li></ul><ul><li>Created extensive skills base </li></ul><ul><li>Created an infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Focused broadcasters and other stakeholders on digital development </li></ul><ul><li>Some growth in business models and monetization </li></ul>
    14. 15. Some interesting facts <ul><li>The median production budget for digital content is $370 K </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s tv, documentaries and lifestyle programming are the most successful interactive digital projects </li></ul><ul><li>Online audiences are online for short periods – 3 minutes for adults, 10 minutes for kids </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile is growing! </li></ul><ul><li>It is generally becoming more difficult to generate revenues on the web </li></ul>
    15. 16. Content that works <ul><li>Know your audiences/demographics </li></ul><ul><li>What platforms are they accessing for their entertainment or information? </li></ul><ul><li>What contribution will multiple platforms make to your story? </li></ul><ul><li>Own the IP so you can develop, protect, exploit, profit from all the potential platforms </li></ul><ul><li>Resist the “cool” temptation </li></ul><ul><li>Simpler is often better </li></ul>
    16. 17. Content for the world <ul><li>Development is critical </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of “tagging on” platforms to the primary platform </li></ul><ul><li>Content is never finished! </li></ul><ul><li>Use audience feedback to improve your content </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that all content for all platforms is approved BEFORE production </li></ul><ul><li>Include a “call to action” </li></ul><ul><li>It always takes longer than expected </li></ul>
    17. 18. Partnerships: the challenges of collaborations <ul><li>Multiple platforms = multiple stakeholders = multiple partners to keep happy! </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t do everything yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Establish the partnerships at the earliest stage possible </li></ul><ul><li>There must be ONE guiding vision to ensure consistency and enforce creative and business decisions </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s you, you must commit to being available </li></ul>
    18. 19. Partnership tips cont. <ul><li>A strong coordinator who is focussed on the “other” platforms is essential </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly define each partner’s role and responsibilities (at the beginning!) </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a central, accessible source of all information for all partners to ensure consistency across platforms </li></ul>
    19. 20. Partnership tips cont. <ul><li>Design each platform to cross-promote the others </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure there is an approval process from all stakeholders involved </li></ul><ul><li>Know the policies, technologies, objectives of each stakeholder </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared for “authorization” and approval delays </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage all partners to contribute to promotion and marketing </li></ul>
    20. 21. Business Models <ul><li>International licensing </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile revenues through downloads, sales, subscriptions </li></ul><ul><li>Merchandising </li></ul><ul><li>Content syndication </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing of underlying technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Localization, hosting </li></ul><ul><li>BRANDS </li></ul><ul><li>Check out </li></ul>
    21. 22. Marketing Tips <ul><li>The marketplace is the world </li></ul><ul><li>Design your content to re-skin and adapt for other markets </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t cut your marketing budget – or use it for contingency! </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion is an ongoing effort </li></ul><ul><li>Labour intensive, time intensive </li></ul><ul><li>Audience participates: take advantage </li></ul>
    22. 23. The battle for RIGHTS <ul><li>Who owns what? </li></ul><ul><li>In what territories? </li></ul><ul><li>For how long? </li></ul><ul><li>What is it worth? </li></ul><ul><li>Is revenue shared? </li></ul>
    23. 24. Traffic Measurement <ul><li>Don’t believe them! </li></ul><ul><li>Can theoretically measure everything your audience is doing </li></ul><ul><li>They are an invaluable tool for a content producer </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention on a regular basis </li></ul><ul><li>Use what you learn to improve your content or your marketing </li></ul>
    24. 25. Traffic measurements <ul><li>Smaller, engaged audiences provide great feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Develop loyal community who will migrate to other platforms </li></ul><ul><li>Tweak to extend audience engagement </li></ul>
    25. 26.
    26. 27. <ul><li>Be prepared for what comes next… </li></ul>