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Andra Sheffer @ Transmedia Victoria

"Lessons Learned: Best Practices in Collaboration, Quality and Business" was presented at www.TransmediaVictoria.net.au, Jan 27th 2011

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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>www.bellfund.ca </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 www.bellfundbliki.ca </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>