This month, we speak to one of the top freelance media and tech journalists, Juliana Koranteng, editor-in-chief of MediaTainment Finance and TechMutiny, and one of the main feature writers for Reed MIDEM’s MIPCOM and MIPTV magazines. From digital content for kids to Apple’s US$1 trillion valuation, we hear what’s making headlines ahead of market.
What are you writing about at the moment?
I’ve just completed a series of features for MIPCOM’s flagship Preview magazine on investments in TV productions, diversity and inclusion, and digital content for kids. Now, I’ve embarked on a report for creative-industries tech journal TechMutiny, which analyses the pitfalls that ambitious tech start-ups could face if they want to list on the stock exchange – as Spotify is learning.
What are the headlines that everyone’s talking about at the moment?
In the media-and-entertainment sectors that I specialise in:
- iPhone maker Apple has become the US’ first publicly traded company to reach a US$1 trillion valuation;
- Although a universal problem, it is inside the media and entertainment workplaces that some of the worst cases of the harassment and bullying highlighted by the #MeToo movement have been exposed;
- Ireland’s team of amateurs reaching the finals of the Women’s Hockey World Cup
What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?
People’s universal trust in professional journalism, for communicating and examining all types of issues as fairly as possible, is being severely undermined by the rise and rise of fake news on the Internet.
What are you watching on TV at the moment?
I’m a sucker for high-end US legal and crime dramas: the Law & Order and NCIS franchises; fantasy thrillers like Wynonna Earp and Supernatural also work for me; and, to raise my spirits, I can’t think of anything better than repeats of comedy classics Frasier, Cheers and Only Fools and Horses.
This month, we speak to veteran media journalist and host of the Media & Marketing podcast, John Reynolds. From Martin Sorrell to the BBC, find out what’s making the news in the media sphere.
What are you writing about at the moment?
I work as a freelance general news reporter, so write about anything and everything, from transgenderism to Grenfell. On the media and marketing front, I am following what Martin Sorrell is up to and also interested in new news brands network The Ozone Project. The death of media agencies and problems of the big holding groups like WPP and Publicis are also interesting topics.
What are the headlines everyone’s talking about at the moment?
Everything from trans toilets in organisations to BBC staff being overpaid, and even the death of media agencies.
What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?
Getting stories. It’s become too hard to break stories now in the 24 hour news cycle. Journalists are simply tweeting exclusives with just a few words and not even bothering to substantiate the tweet with a story. It can also be frustrating having to hit up contacts all the time for stories and not getting much in return.
What are you watching at the moment?
The World Cup.
Content and creative sector PR experts acquire the marketing and media sector specialist
Franklin Rae PR today announces that it has acquired The Media Foundry, a PR agency that focuses on businesses working within the media and marketing industries.
The acquisition will see the agency move from its current home at The Cubo Group and brought under the Franklin Rae umbrella, allowing the company to expand its current offering in the marketing sector as well as further grow its footprint with media and brands.
Set up in 1998, The Media Foundry has a heritage in working with the great and the good of adland including Karen Blackett OBE, Annette King, Ian Pearman and Laurence Green. In recent years the agency has expanded its offering to become the PR agency for all media & marketing professionals – working with brand-side CMOs including Mark Evans at Direct Line Group, and adtech/martech companies.
Franklin Rae, a leading name in the content sector offers PR services to the production, distribution and creative industries, raising the profile of both businesses and the content they produce. Established in 2003, the company works with world leaders in TV, Film and the creative industries, including producers of BAFTA winning ‘People Just Do Nothing’, Roughcut TV, global content distributor, Keshet International, creative company Gravity Road and award winning creators of sporting content, Noah Media Group.
Franklin Rae CEO Tessa Laws commented, “TMF have a fantastic reputation in the industry, a great team and a host of exciting clients that align perfectly with our own strategy and ambitions for the future of Franklin Rae.”
Cubo Group CEO, Kerry Simpson added, “This is a great strategic move for both parties. TMF’s specialism is a perfect fit for Franklin Rae and they can be a formidable combination in their sector”
Following the acquisition the TMF team will continue to work in partnership with its current clients as well as developing a wider offering in conjunction with Franklin Rae.
So You Think You’re Funny?
It’s not a question for you, but the title of the prestigious annual stand-up comedy competition for new acts. I’m a big fan of stand-up and had the pleasure of some great contestants taking part in the competition last week at the Bethnal Green Backyard Comedy Club.
The big break
Speaking to a couple of the competitors it was striking by how easy it was to get started in comedy. But, as easy as it is to start, making a big break is notoriously difficult. One of the biggest challenges is getting noticed and building any sort of fan base.
An under-served genre
To me, stand-up is a massively underserved area in the TV industry. Broadcasters and SVoD channels could be doing so much more to help nurture the next generation of comedic talent.
The likes of Russell Howard’s Good News should be applauded for giving a platform to upcoming comedians – it was through his show that I discovered the brilliant John Robbins, and subsequently my now favourite podcast – the Ellis James and John Robbins Show on Radio X.
More needs to be done
It shouldn’t be a case of established comedians helping out their mates though. Broadcasters need to be doing more.
Netflix’s stand-up comedy is heavily skewed by big names, generally from America. It is also very difficult to separate the good from the bad. There doesn’t seem to be any editorial curation of the content. All of this combined makes discovering anything new and exciting, tedious and difficult.
The BBC has its Live At the Apollo series, which it uses to introduce audiences to new performers. It has a couple of other shows and also uses Radio 4 in particular to help with testing out new comics.
Issues with representation
But how representative of the world is the slate of comics the likes of the BBC uses? Its policy of ensuring the likes of Have I got News For You aren’t all male panels should say enough. There are plenty of brilliant female performers, but they don’t have the profile to get on the major shows. Same story for those of different classes, sexuality, politics and ethnicity.
It was heartening to hear of the recent launch of Next Up, a SVoD platform dedicated to providing a huge range of never before seen stand-up content from gigging comedians. It is a great new revenue stream for the performers, gives them the chance to start building and connecting with fans, and with this a reputation which makes people want to see them live.
Ideas like this are bringing the genre into the modern era. The major channels can do more, but it is exciting to see other players getting involved and helping to make people laugh.
By Xander Ross, Junior Account Manager at Franklin Rae
Being a sports fan is an expensive habit. Ticket prices for games are sky high – WRU tickets recently tipped the £100 mark for the first time in the organisation’s history. So, it’s not surprising most of us will prefer to tune in at home to indulge our habits. There has never been more choice for viewers and the amount of sport being broadcast is the best it’s ever been.
As a women in sport, I couldn’t be more excited to see how accessible hockey has become on TV in the past few years following Olympic success. Not to mention being able to watch the thrilling England Netball Commonwealth campaign from the comfort of iPlayer last month.
Sports broadcasting is a complicated landscape however. With streaming rights for certain leagues often split across multiple broadcasters – these days you need a Sky Sports subscription to watch the Premier League, BT Sport to watch the Aviva Premiership and Amazon Prime if you want to watch the NFL. And that’s not even taking some of the more obscure platforms into consideration. My Netball Live subscription is the best £13 investment I’ve made this year – and currently the only option in the UK for watching the professional Suncorp Super Netball from Australia.
‘Netflix for Sports’
There’s no one size fits all subscription package for the ultimate sport fan. Consumers have been crying out for a ‘Netflix for Sports’ for a long time, and there’s a very good reason it’s yet to materialise. Sport is a prolific business, and the cost for live streaming rights is at a premium. The Premier League is the biggest prize in British sport broadcasting, and Sky recently signed a £3.6bn deal to air the majority of the games for the next 3 seasons.
When you consider Netflix paid a record £100m in production costs for the first series of global drama The Crown – it puts the cost of multiple sport rights in context. Sky paid a golden sum for the Premier League, and it’s still not an exclusive deal.
That’s not to say sport isn’t attracting the big tech players. Amazon recently paid a reported $50million for the rights to stream 11 NFL games this season. A package the digital giant managed to win over rival Twitter. And niche markets such as esports have long been reaching their audiences through digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitch.
There are exciting ripples of movement over the pond towards a ‘Netflix for Sports’ format, from the likes of ESPN and CBS. I for one am interested to see how the pay-per-game format of Turner’s Bleacher Report Live will pay off, as it brings together a variety of sports under one model.
But much has to be said about the impact of multiple broadcasting packages from leagues in all this. Live TV broadcast, digital streaming rights, highlight packages, near-live broadcast and goal-clips for the same league are all being sold separately. As a result, there’s so much more content than ever before being auctioned to the highest bidder.
With Sky Sports and BT recently reaching a content-sharing agreement on the Premier League, there appears to be some level of consolidation of rights. So while we might not be ready for an all-encompassing ‘Netflix for Sport’ just yet – change may just be on the horizon.
By Abi Williams, Account Manager, Franklin Rae
Industry events are a great platform to raise your corporate profile among key audiences and tell your story in your own words. So, what does it take to get up on stage and be part of the conversation? Adam Webb, Senior Content Manager at IBC tells us what makes a great panel discussion.
Most of us have been there, at an event, watching a panel discussion, interview or keynote and just wishing it would end. But what makes a panel engaging, informative or entertaining? And what makes you regret the time and money you’ve invested to attend?
Turning failure on its head
A good panel shouldn’t be a glorified sales pitch – the audience can see straight through that and instantly disengages. In my experience, having also overseen the programme at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, delegates don’t want to sit through an hour of self-satisfied smugness where people just talk about their successes and achievements. Of course, the reason they’re on the panel is because they are a leader in their field and have achieved success, but it’s vital to drill down further into their story.
Each panel topic will come with a different set of questions. But for a TV show masterclass for example, it’s important to also delve into areas around failure; was there a moment they felt out of their depth? What would they have done differently? How do they deal with negative reviews? Exploring questions around overcoming failure provides a much more rewarding experience for anyone watching.
Keeping it diverse
At IBC, we critique every speaker to make sure they justify their place on a panel debate, masterclass or case study. Will they offer an opinion that hasn’t been heard before? Are they going to be open enough to offer real insight? It’s vital that anyone watching will leave feeling satisfied they’re getting ROI. We’re also keen to make sure the line-up is fresh, forward facing and diverse.
Rightly so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify male only panels, often those events that end up with 5 men on stage lead to an awkward apology from an embarrassed chair, which is met with a ripple of raised eyebrows from members of the audience. We’ve made it our mission to aim for a 50/50 male/female split this year. We’re currently on target with Lindsay Pattison, Chief Transformation Officer, GroupM and WPP Global, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, EVP, CEO of MTG International Entertainment and Lisa Tobin, Executive Producer, Audio at The New York Times, just some of the women joining a brilliant line-up.
Setting quotas is just part of the solution when aiming for more diversity on stage. If you’re the type of person that recoils in horror at the thought of getting up in front of an audience, you might be just the kind of person people would relish hearing from. For too long conferences and events have played it lazily safe by recruiting the same seasoned speakers. Go to any number of events on the same theme and you’re likely to see the same old faces on stage.
Getting involved in an event like IBC is a great way to speak directly to an audience, giving you the opportunity to tell your story in your own words or offer insight and knowledge in an area of expertise. The more people that put themselves up for these experiences and are brave enough to offer honest insight, the more diverse stories are heard from the widest possible pool of voices – and the less yawns from the audience.
The IBC Conference 2018 is taking place in Amsterdam, 13th – 17th September