NATPE 2015 is taking place at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort this week, providing companies and individuals with the opportunity to break down the barriers between traditional and digital media with a number of ideas that could very well shape the future of technology as we know it.
Here are some of the stories we’ve learned about thus far from the event this week…
YouTube Set To Launch Originals Later This Year
Per a report from Broadcasting Cable, YouTube has begun preparing a number of original series – both reality-based and scripted – by year’s end, according to Alex Carloss, the head of originals for the channel, during NATPE this week.
However, users shouldn’t expect the traditional standards of broadcasting when the series do go live. “We’re not in the TV production game at a TV level, but we’ll fund beyond what (YouTube creators) would typically be able to realize,” said Carloss.
Episodes can run anywhere between five to 90 minutes each. Carloss continued, “I just heard the head of FX (John Landgraf) over the weekend opine that if you could remove restrictions of duration from 22 minutes or 44 minutes, you could rightsize your storytelling to what was appropriate.”
User-generated content will continue to be a focus on the channel, though. “I don’t think you would want to move too far beyond (our established) playbook,” said Carloss. “But you could imagine a series of sketches stitched together and working, or an unscripted reality show focused on wish fulfillment or a next generation talk show shot in someone’s bedroom. You’ll see us really try to work our playbook but then try to raise that bar.
“We want to be able to double-down on wins and fail fast on misses,” he added.
More details on YouTube’s plans can be found here.
Stations Like Their Programming Partnerships
During NATPE this week, station-based programmers voiced their support over their own programming, which provides better control over schedules and inventory, according to Broadcasting Cable.
“It’s not exclusively about owning a piece of content for the sake of a back end that may or may not come down the road, it’s more about having control and taking back control. For our groups, it’s more about having a say at the table,” said Sean Compton, Tribune Media president of strategic programming and acquisitions.
“We are trying more than ever before to control our time periods,” said Robert Sullivan, Scripps Media VP of programming. “We were handling those time periods over (to the studios) and saying program them for us.”
Three groups on the panel – Scripps, Tribune and Raycom, have each worked with syndicators in regards to partnerships with programming, and that’s bound to continue, although there’s better preference to off-net sitcoms, rather than first-run shows. “We’re never doing two year deals again,” said Sullivan. “Never. Katie killed our daytime time periods.”
High prices and long-term commitment have proven to be hindrances with some deals, according to the team. “We were a big buyer of sitcoms,” said Compton. “For the most part, deals were four or seven years. A sitcom that came out a couple of years ago had the potential of being 11 years. I freaked out about that. I want to be in this business for a while and I don’t want to be living with that down the road.
“It’s not just about owning a piece of the show, it’s not just about controlling your destiny, a lot of it has to do with having the freedom to program your stations.”
Sullivan added, “The culture has changed, industry has changed and we have to pivot. We didn’t get into it to have more leverage over the studios. We want to partner with the studios when the content is right at the right price. Studios are approaching us and saying let’s approach it from a multi-partnership standpoint – that’s glaciers moving in terms of how the studios have always run.”
More details on this panel can be found here.
Overstock.com Trying Hand At Original Content
As if enough teams aren’t producing original content, Overstock.com is getting into the action, according to this report from Broadcasting Cable. The company announced during a press conference that a video streaming subscription would be coming, tying in with the company’s Club O loyalty program.
“We have this tremendous traffic and we have a deep understanding of our customers,” said CEO Patrick M. Byrne. “We know what they are looking for.”
An unnamed third party will team up with Overstock, providing not only movies but also TV shows. A download (or to rent) system should be introduced sometime midway through the year, but a better subscription based video-on-demand program will be included down the road, with the possibility of original programming.
“We chose NATPE because as we’ve been spinning this effort out, we’ve discovered that NATPE is the place to go, it’s where the deal making happens,” said Byrne. “We are here to deepen our relationships in this industry. When this gets launched, we intend to be a player in original content.
“I travel around the world to meet people,” he continued. “There are opportunities to turn that into some original content.”
The Club O membership currently runs at $19.95 per year, although members would pay an additional per-download fee once content is introduced.
More details can be found here.
Big Winners at NATPE Reality Breakthrough Awards
NATPE isn’t just about big deals; it’s about providing awards to those that provide breakthroughs in reality television. And the inaugural Reality Breakthrough Awards allowed them to do just that, according to Variety.
Shark Tank, ABC’s show about people trying to launch business ideas, won the reality competition series categories, while USA Network’s Chrisley Knows Best – which features an eccentric patriarch and his family – won in the docu-soap category.
Other winners included Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown in the factual program category, NBC’s Hollywood Game Night for best game show, and Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid won for best reality format.
The show was strictly business, with no lavish dance numbers to be found, but it still recognized those that made huge strides forward in the reality TV department.
Look for more stories from NATPE tomorrow!