What is your main role and responsibilities as a member of NATPE Global’s Advisory Board?
Courtney Thomasma: I am excited to represent AMC Networks as a NATPE Global Advisory Board member. As the company’s Executive Vice President of Streaming, I bring a wealth of research experience and a data-driven approach to content strategy and brand-building. This board is a great opportunity to collaborate with my peers and share insights on the trends, challenges, and opportunities impacting our industry. Cross-industry cooperation and information sharing are crucial for our collective success during this moment of constant change.
Hannah Pillemer: First, I am so honored to be a member of NATPE’s Global Advisory Board. As I see it, I am there, along with my fellow members of the Board, to share real-world experiences, concerns and ideas in an effort to improve and enhance NATPE as an association through its mission, conferences, and programming. Collectively, we have a good understanding of the dynamics of the marketplace of what we want and need from NATPE to be valuable to its members.
Lisa Kramer: My role along with the others is to advise on industry current topics that we would like to see discussed and highlighted at NATPE. We also try to come up with ideas to enhance the experience for our fellow attendees and distributors.
Sheila Aguirre: NATPE has new owners, and while NATPE is new to Brunico, Brunico is not new to the industry. Brunico has a long-standing, established history as a publisher and organizer of global industry events. My role is to support the Brunico team who are working overtime to make NATPE a global success, and to contribute to the event’s future growth and development.
What are the main challenges for the content industry in today’s fast-changing world and how is NATPE Global tackling those challenges and issues?
Courtney Thomasma: Competition for viewers’ attention and loyalty continues to increase with the proliferation of platforms and new options. NATPE is a marketplace and a think-tank that brings together some of the most innovative leaders and companies in our industry. The organization’s goal to help us each advance our business, share knowledge, and celebrate collective success is more important now than ever before. At AMC Networks, we are eager to explore partnerships and collaborations that bring new options and benefits to viewers. NATPE is the perfect place to meet new partners and generate unique ideas.
Hannah Pillemer: It feels like we have been saying for years and years that our industry is in a rapid evolution. And, that’s still true today. So many changes in consumer behavior and content consumption, in distribution strategies and platforms, an explosion of content creation from every corner of the Globe and, of course, business models. NATPE is focused on ensuring that its members stay well-informed and educated on the marketplace, business trends and how to differentiate themselves from the pack while extracting the greatest value revenue-wise. And, of course, following a few years of virtual interactions, nothing beats being back together in person in Miami - especially in our industry.
Lisa Kramer: One of the main challenges is just to keep up with the fast-changing industry, being cognizant of how these changes are impacting our licensees, and adjusting our approach to ensure we can still maximize our opportunities.
Sheila Aguirre: There are multiple challenges. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed declining audiences in traditional media, producers are increasingly struggling to monetize their content, more ad dollars are going to social media, attention spans are shorter, and there’s too much content on the market.
NG is about diversity, it’s about uniting global industry executives to network, and to encourage meaningful dialogue between producers, distributors and platforms to find real solutions. Content is the foundation for these conversations. The current environment dictates the need to deliver premium content that is unique, that engages audiences, and that can move effortlessly from one platform to another and continue to entertain audiences for years to come after the first episode has aired.
Too much good content is getting lost. Either it’s not getting acquired, because there’s too much to sort through; or if it is acquired, consumers don’t find it because it’s not being promoted. Some platforms are only concerned about promoting their own originals, which hinders good content from getting noticed and underserves their audience, but it also opens an opportunity for savvy platforms that want to satisfy their audiences’ appetite with the right content. More than ever, there’s a need to deliver what consumers want.
What about the main challenges for your company and you as a content executive, looking into 2024?
Courtney Thomasma: We’re dedicated to continuing to deliver shows and movies that our viewers and subscribers love and stand out in a competitive marketplace. To help make this happen, I rely on my relationships with content creators, distributors, partners, researchers, and beyond. Being part of the NATPE community and the Global Advisory Board is a great way to grow and expand these important relationships.
Hannah Pillemer: It’s all about making an impact right now – about staying ahead of the trends and changes. We are constantly thinking about what’s ahead and who is the next gen of meaningful talent to invest in or what’s the best way to tell a story to have the most influence. How do we ensure our creative product offerings maintain the consistent quality, impact and marketability on which we have built our reputation and on which our clients have come to expect? Almost everything we do now is curated to the platform or the circumstance. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Even when it comes to marketing and PR we need to ensure that we are level-setting for our creative partners and talent so that you’re not going to see an out-of-home billboard for a platform that can hit millions and millions of potential viewers through algorithms and “Welcome Screens.”
Lisa Kramer: The main challenge is always balancing our internal needs with the needs of our clients to come to the best solutions for everyone while making our programming as successful as possible for the company and our profit participants! Growing our IP benefits all stakeholders - us as owners as well as those who license it in an ever-changing business.
Sheila Aguirre: All roads lead to good content. The challenge isn’t only about finding a good story, it’s also knowing how to tell that story. It has to be told in such an intriguing and unique way that audiences are hooked from the very beginning until the end. But as good as a story might be, it needs to make its way onto the right platform and be given proper promotion. It’s supply chain management, each part of the process needs to be skillfully managed to achieve the best end result.
What are your expectations for the 2024 event which is being organized by its new owner Brunico Communications?
Courtney Thomasma: This event will be a perfect start to 2024, a way to gain invaluable insights and learn best practices from a vast array of industry experts. The unique conversations that will take place in Miami will encourage new thinking and collaboration. After years of attending virtual events, it’s a great time to reconnect in person and be a part of the excitement during such an innovative and dynamic time in our industry.
Hannah Pillemer: It’s great to see NATPE return to its roots and truly serve a Global audience. So much of what we do hits local, regional and global clients and while our company has an enormous foothold in Latin America, whether its clients in the U.S., Canada, Europe and beyond, NATPE is capturing buyers and sellers from around the world and bringing us together again. It will be fascinating to see how, over the next couple of years, all of the content-focused markets find their unique place in our ecosystem.
Lisa Kramer: So far Brunico has been open to learn from the attendees via the advisory committee, so I’m looking forward to see how they implement our suggestions!
Sheila Aguirre: It’s important for Brunico to establish their own identity -- to make themselves known as the company that is remaking NATPE, under new ownership and with a new team -- with the goal to connect the global industry, to tackle the many challenges and incubate solutions.