Television with Thinus: Disorganised and confusing ‘LA Screenings’ spells alter – and perhaps even some problems


The just-concluded 2019 “LA Screenings”, this year described by content material purchasers from numerous nations who as soon as once more visited Los Angeles for a week, as “disorganised” and “confusing”, spells alter – and perhaps even some problems – for South African viewers in the months ahead, in particular DStv subscribers and M-Net viewers.

A level of confusion and uncertainty permeated the previous week’s 2019 LA Screenings with not just purchasers but even studios and the representatives from their international distribution divisions who seemed unsure about specifically what of their new content material slate they are prepared to sell and which are obtainable to obtain.

It really is raising concerns about not what is obtainable but about what studios may possibly increasingly be probably to hold back for their personal current and upcoming video-on-demand streaming solutions, like Disney that plans to launch Disney+.

NBCUniversal is also holding shows back and not producing them obtainable to obtain by way of NBCUniversal International Distribution. 

Warner Bros. Tv Group is likewise holding back content material and shows as properly, also for the exact same purpose, in that it is producing these especially for its video streaming service from WarnerMedia, which means that it will not be obtainable for international licensing.

When a year about May possibly, the large American studios collectively hold what in the trade is recognized as the “LA Screenings”, with about 1 500 content material executives from about the globe descending on Los Angeles to celebration, wine and dine and view the upcoming new show slates from which they will be in a position to choose and decide on and negotiate content material bargains for their Television channels.

This year, as previously, content material executives from MultiChoice and M-Net, flew to Los Angeles for the 2019 LA Screenings.

This year the 2019 LA Screenings has had a quite diverse atmosphere on the other hand, indicative of the tumultuous adjustments rocking the Television market in America and worldwide as digital is sweeping the biz. 

American broadcasters, studios and spend-Television solutions are ramping up content material production for their personal subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) solutions like Disney+ and maintaining that content material back to exclusively be placed and funnelled by way of their personal solutions. 

This has led to increasing confusion about what content material specifically is obtainable to obtain.

A single Television executive attending the 2019 LA Screenings described the scene at Walt Disney as “super disorganised” this year with some of Disney’s international sales group members who have been unaware that Disney has taken more than operational handle of Hulu.

“Disney is nonetheless promoting stuff, but it is probably that a lot of the right Disney shows will be held back,” a supply told TBI. “They are undoubtedly searching for additional flexibility and co-exclusivity. They want to have their cake and consume it, also.”

“For purchasers at the LA Screenings, the complete point is to see the brand new shows at generally the exact same time as the American networks so you can make a selection, do a deal and get it in your schedules about September and October,” stated one more executive.

“On the other hand, if there’s a holdback, then a lot of the content material that broadcasters would have wanted to launch schedules with will not be obtainable till, potentially, subsequent year. If they are going to hold back content material for their personal more than-the-prime (OTT) solutions, and if I was a broadcaster, I’d be saying, ‘I’m not going to spend you $100 I’ll spend you $60’.

Sophie Judge, the head of acquisitions for series at Britain’s spend-Television service Sky, told TBI that “We know their personal SVOD solutions are getting launched, but as far as we’re concerned, their content material is obtainable to obtain and that has been communicated to us”.

Disney Worldwide Content material Sales and Distribution is now also accountable for distributing Fox content material following Disney’s Fox acquisition, and showed Fox’s slate collectively with Disney content material at the 2019 LA Screenings – for instance, new comedies from the 20th Century Fox Tv studio, Bless This Mess and Great Harmony, alongside ABC Studios’ Emergence and Stumptown. (Gone was the regular Disney International Upfront occasion from earlier years).

It really is not clear exactly where South African viewers will get to see a new upcoming show like The Mandalorian, the initially reside-action Star Wars series that will be on Disney+ – a streaming service not getting launched in South Africa for years, if at all.

Will The Mandalorian be on M-Net, Showmax, FOX, elsewhere on MultiChoice for DStv susbcribers – or nowhere at all, except on illegal torrent feeds and download web pages?

However the new 90210, BH90210, that CBS Studios International screened in LA, may possibly quite properly finish up on M-Net.

A new comedy from Chuck Lorre, Bob ♥ Abishola, from CBS about a middle-aged sock businessman from Detroit who unexpectedly falls in adore with his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, had some international purchasers slightly worried. 

They stated they did not know how to do the title on their electronic programme guides (EPG) with the symbol but would attempt to figure it out.

A number of international purchasers at the 2019 LA Screenings asked the numerous studios and distributors about the exclusive international rights to the studios’ shows but got no or quite tiny answers about rights and availability.


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