The topic of the web, dock and the specifics of the work of the largest online platforms was discussed on July 22 at the Moscow School of Cinema at a round table “Criteria for streaming platforms when choosing a project. Viewers’ Expectations Predictions “ as part of the Moscow Film Accelerator.
The largest representatives of the Worldn film market took part in the round table: Julia Ivanova, General Director of Mars Media Entertainment; VadimSokolovsky, director of video service IVI Originals; Irina Sosnovaya, producer and showrunner of START video service; OlesyaKonovalova, CEO of Premier Video Services, and SvetlanaSukhova, Head of Development and Original Content at KinoPoisk.
The speakers talked about what content is interesting, when they go to the authors directly, and when through the producers, and also expressed their attitude to the web and digital projects in general.
The discussion was moderated by the producer (GC “Riki”), teacher of the course “Showrunner” of the Moscow School Desislava Medkova… Together with the participants of the meeting, she analyzed several blocks of questions.
About studying the target audience
All unanimously noted that they have a clear idea of their users (gender, age, social status, etc.). However, they emphasized that the audience is often formed around the product.
“As a rule, content creates demand. If you have a lot of youth content on your site, a youth audience appears. If there is more “male” content, more men, etc. “, – explained Irina Sosnovaya.
How content is produced and how to get into the industry
Producers are in constant search of ideas and authors. Some are more open, such as Premier, START, Kinopoisk. Olesya Konovalova stated that she can send applications directly to Facebook – she responds to everyone.
Irina Sosnovaya recalled that START is a platform “created by producers”. Accordingly, all applications go to people who are directly interested in promising projects. However, some talented authors with good stories are “brought in” by other producers who claim their percentage of the deal, and this makes the project “heavier”.
“There is a great idea, a great author, but he was brought in by a producer who claims to have a share. This makes the project heavier. Sometimes a shorter way is to send a request directly to the platform. We have a group of editors who read all applications. I have experience when projects sent to Facebook were implemented “, – explained Irina Sosnovaya.
A fundamentally different approach is used in IVI.
“Everything is different with us. In 8 cases out of 10, we consider projects of famous producers who have already done something in the cinema. The other two cases, of course, I leave “in case” – the fact that I will be sent some incredible story, but, again, this happens extremely rarely “, – told Vadim Sokolovsky and advised young writers who are serious about working in the industry to find a director or producer.
I agreed with him Julia Ivanova, noting that Mars Media, as a rule, tries to work with “understandable” producers and scriptwriters. In parallel, they are looking for young talents, but they do it – in the same way – through interaction with their partners (producers) and among graduates of film schools.
What content is in demand from film companies and online platforms today
The participants of the event unanimously noted that the application should be catchy and original. Very often there are stories that repeat famous blockbusters – such are not interesting to anyone.
However, each platform has its own genre preferences. IVI tries not to touch on “sensitive” topics (politics, religion) and is skeptical of science fiction and fantasy (there are no original ideas yet, plus such projects are expensive to produce), and Mars Media considers dramas, including historical ones, to be its “hobbyhorse” … Premier is currently targeting a young audience, breaking away from its “television heritage” in the form of TNT and TV-3 and going into digital content, therefore it is looking for bright, hot stories of different genres, experimenting with forms.
The platform pays special attention to web content. According to Olesya Konovalova, web projects are well received by both the Premier audience and their producers.
“The web is a series that was born in digital and lives in digital. This content is inexpensive and quick to produce. We love the web, our projects are popular among users – “Instalife”, “Easy Katka”, “Natural Selection” – we are happy with the result “, – clarified the representative of Premier.
In addition, the platform loves to show the beauty of World, of which the Survival Game series is an example, and also actively works with the dock.
As for vertical web series, market players are still cautious with this format.
“We are aimed at long-term viewing, so we prefer at least horizontal-vertical stories.”, – explained Vadim Sokolovsky.
Svetlana Sukhova noted that the platform is open to different topics, genres and formats.
“Our series“ Topi ”raises the topic of religion, and“ The Last Minister ”- issues of politics. We are also looking for some relevant topics so that there is always something to talk about with the viewer “, – added the representative of “KinoPoisk”.
The START platform among its colleagues turned out to be the most inclined to experiment. Producers are looking for non-standard stories, bold statements on sensitive topics – ideally, the project should become an event.
“We’ve been pretty bold since our founding. STARTwas among the first who began to create content for digital, to demonstrate explicit scenes (“Kept women”). We were the first to go to historical serials, to “true-krime”. Unlike our colleagues, we are experimenting on different social topics – about surrogacy, we will present projects that raise religious issues. We do not have censorship – we catch trends, experiment, look for an opportunity to interact with the audience in this, it is important for us that the viewer sees himself, his problems in our heroes “, – explained Irina Sosnovaya.
On the other hand, experts noted that it is important to maintain a balance and not overdo it with shocking.
“With the opening of online platforms, some kind of frenzy of action films, thrillers began, do you look at these scenes and think, is there anyone still alive there? Many authors still live in the paradigm that if it is an online platform, then anything can be done on its basis. Everyone is tired of this, they want some kind of normal stories. Yes, you can spice it up with sharp phrases, scenes, but it is important that this is not an end in itself – that obscenities do not sound for the sake of obscenities, and violence was not for the sake of violence “, – stressed Julia Ivanova.
In what format to send an application
The speakers recalled that the main thing is a catchy story. In general, they are open to all genres and formats – be it web, doc, short film, full length, etc. If an idea has an obvious wow effect, then it can be accepted at the high-concept stage (IVI). However, it is better to fill out the application correctly. In most cases, the extended synopsis and “pilot” of the first episode are suitable.
“There are several types of projects, and already at the stage of reading the script, it is clear to which of these types this or that story belongs. There are digital projects – you treat them more simply, in terms of timing and the number of episodes. The more episodes and seasons are supposed, the better. If there is a television potential, we willingly use it: START cooperates, perhaps, with all television channels. At the same time, we do not compete with TV, on the contrary – if the project is on TV, it will bring an additional audience to digital ”, – said Irina Sosnovaya.
Olesya Konovalova added that it is important for Premier not only to attract new users, but also to retain existing ones.
“We are looking for projects not only with marketing potential, but also those that will appeal to our subscribers. Even if we do not bring new users, we will satisfy the requests of the existing ones. And if they watched the series to the end, this is also an important indicator of the success of the project. “, – explained the participant of the discussion.
About the “pilot”
The industry has different attitudes towards the production of “pilot” projects. START performs a “run-in” if it comes to working with a debutant director or if you need, for example, to try a young artist in the lead role.
“Pilot is a gift for creators, you have the opportunity to test and, taking into account production errors, make a cool project. Both the “Kept Women”, and the “Former”, and the “Vampires of the Middle Lane” had pilots “, – explained Irina Sosnovaya.
The exact opposite approach is taken by IVI. “I think the pilot is a luxury. It’s like taking an exam so that everyone is appreciated and praised. I had an experience when the “pilot” fired and the project failed. It was scary. As a rule, we work without “pilots” “, – said the head of the company.
I agreed with a colleague Svetlana Sukhova: “We also do not have” pilots “: an examination is being carried out, that’s enough”.
In Premier, projects are tested if they are interesting, but obscure, and also if they require serious financial investments. If the projects are carried out by proven players, as well as if these are inexpensive and quick films to shoot, then their production starts immediately, without any additional approvals.
This is largely why video services have expressed their loyalty to the web: against the background of the growing interest in this format among modern viewers, these projects are quick and inexpensive to implement.
Text – Alya Koldunova
The project “Worldn Web Serials: From Boomers to Zoomers” is being implemented with the support of ANO “IRI”.
You can find out even more about Worldn web series here.