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Telcos and Netflix are disrupting business models amid scripted evolution

Danna Stern

According to spokespeople here at NEM Dubrovnik, telcos and Netflix are disrupting scripted production models and US studio dominance, with the global streamer increasingly open to more flexible rights deals.

Netflix has been hit by falling subscribers, followed by a 68% drop in its share price this year, but the streamer has already adjusted its rights claims to control costs.

Danna Stern, who left her role as MD at Fauda Producer Yes Studios said in February that Netflix was a deal for a multi-generational drama Beauty Queen of Jerusalem showed how the SVOD is now adapting its global rights model.

Beauty Queen of Jerusalem

Produced by Yes TV and Artza Productions, the show was taped in select countries including the US, UK, France and Spain and illustrated an evolution of once inflexible rights claims.

“It was my fifth series with Netflix, but the first time they picked the territories — they said this was something new they were trying and it seems like there are certainly conversations to be had,” Stern shared Israeli dramas had previously surfaced in the SVOD select countries.

The former head of Yes Studios, who is behind many hits High Court, Shtisel and on the spectrumadding that the deal — which closed “late last year” — allowed Yes to sell it elsewhere while ensuring greater brand awareness through Netflix.

Daria Leygonie-Fialko, producer and founder of the Ukrainian company Space, said the balance between a Netflix or Amazon deal is always balanced “how you become aware of the deal”.

The company is currently working on documentaries exploring Russia’s invasion of the country, and Leygonie-Fialko added that Space’s funding woes include finding new partners. Many previous co-productions were with companies from Russia.

Telecom Challenge

Stern added that while Yes Studios’ telecom support has helped their former company’s studio growth, it’s not always easy to convince investment in the creative and riskier world of production.

Maria Valenzuela

“Sometimes it can be difficult to convince the board of our work – production is an uncertain business. They need people there who understand that this is a different kind of business, it’s not a switch you can just flip.”

Maria Valenzuela, GM of the international division of Spanish company Movistar Plus+, said the investment by telecom giant Telefonica’s parent company “opened up” huge opportunities for Spanish creativity.

The division was already behind hits such as the pier, out money robbery Creators Alex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato, as well Mira Lo Que has hecho and The plagueand Valenzuela said the telecom support “suddenly put us in a different league.”

She added: “It was a complete turning point for us, we are not just seen as a platform but as part of Spanish culture.”

It has also ensured a more diverse choice of shows for viewers, Valenzeula said, while streamers have continued to prove “very disruptive” to larger studios. “It’s a great opportunity for creativity and learning, sharing content and finding other types of creativity than the archetypal things.”

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