Entertainment Finance Forum 2019 Recap

We are excited to announce that our 11th Annual Entertainment Finance Forum in Los Angeles was a huge success! The morning began with a series of SOLD OUT interactive workshops led by executives from Netflix, 30WEST, City National Bank, Activision and more. Afterwards we jumped right into panel discussions, where conversations focused on monetizing the future of entertainment.

State of the industry through the shifting paradigms featured panelists (left to right): Tony Beaudoin (MUFG Union Bank), Ron Hohauser (legendary), Ambereen Toubassy (Quibi), Michael Lee (Perfect World Pictures), Stacey Rosenberg (Hogan Lovells) and moderator David Uslan (Strawberry Pictures & U2k Entertainment). Photo credit: @demigoddesschronicle

State of the industry through the shifting paradigms featured panelists (left to right): Tony Beaudoin (MUFG Union Bank), Ron Hohauser (legendary), Ambereen Toubassy (Quibi), Michael Lee (Perfect World Pictures), Stacey Rosenberg (Hogan Lovells) and moderator David Uslan (Strawberry Pictures & U2k Entertainment). Photo credit: @demigoddesschronicle

Here are some top take aways from the day:

Overnight Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Although it may seem that way for Clemency director Chinonye Chukwu, the film was actually a 7-year commitment. During our Keynote conversation, moderated by Award-Winning Producer Janet Yang, Chinonye and her producing partner Bronwyn Cornelius shared that in the 4 years it took them to get financing for the project, they never changed their pitch. In fact, the women stuck to their vision and somewhere along the way people started hearing their story differently. At Winston Baker conferences, we help push emerging filmmakers, like Chinonye and Bronwyn, towards their goals and provide guidance and strategies for the long run.

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Netflix Not to Blame for Market Woes

Despite frequent stories about the challenges of selling into the UK, Germany and France, Highland Film Group COO Delphine Perrier said the overall effect of market forces were the cause. “Everything is changing around us and we’re going with the flow,” said Perrier. Sierra/Affinity president of sales and distribution Jonathan Kier noted the role of geopolitics. “Turkey is in political upheaval,” said Kier. “Italy is in perpetual political upheaval. In the UK you have Brexit and in Russia the currency has collapsed.”

(SOURCE: Screen Daily)

Subscription Streaming Driving Waves of Change in Entertainment Market, Speakers Say

The enormous cache and power of subscription streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon — and the proliferation of like services — are major drivers in entertainment market disruption. Ron Hohauser, CFO of Legendary pointed out that while subscription streaming is the future, adding up all of the charges for the different services can amount to “a car payment.” With the proliferation of subscription services “your car payment goes from a Prius to a Porsche,” added Michael Lee, CFO, Perfect World Pictures. “Consumers aren’t going to want to have 32 subscriptions.”

For the time being, capital from the American stock market that funds the big streamers “makes them formidable competitors,” said Eric Briggs, CFO and chief strategy officer at media company Macro, adding “they can buy whatever they want.” “Chasing Netflix is a lose proposition,” noted Adrienne Becker, CEO of Level Forward. “I do think investor-funded content creation will come to an end at some point,” added Ambereen Toubassy, CFO at Quibi, a short-form content subscription entertainment company backed by Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Content will need to be economically feasible.” She added, “The reason we’re so excited about the short form video market … is it’s a huge market,” citing YouTube’s 1.9 billion users.

(SOURCE: Media Play News)

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Quibi CFO offers glimpse into Jeffrey Katzenberg's $1bn mobile-first venture

Toubassy outlined the programming approach at Quibi, the $1bn start-up that Katzenberg and his CEO Meg Whitman aim to launch at the end of the year, first in the US and Canada, followed by China through a joint venture with Alibaba. Describing the venture as a pyramid of premium content of varying genres and budgets generally aimed at the 25-35 year-old demographic, Toubassy said top tier content would be scripted entertainment that would include 10-minute chapters of stories that were two to three hours long. Bottom of the pyramid would be “daily content that are meant to be habit-forming, news-oriented programming – sport, gaming-oriented categories.” The middle segment would be “pretty much everything” including reality and game shows.

(SOURCE: Screen Daily)

Bringing Conference Content to Life!

During the event, guests had the opportunity to visit various exhibitor tables. One of the highlights was Living Popups booth, where reps demonstrated their new technology. By downloading the Winston Baker App, attendees could use their phone cameras to capture the image of their physical name badge, and provide the ultimate AI experience. More specifically, a series of 3-dimensional cartoon characters would appear on your phone screen and act out numerous scenes, using your name badge as their stage.

Click here to read more about Living Popups AR technology and other exhibitor booths at the Forum and download the “Winston Baker” through your mobile App Store now!