Fears for content ownership in age of streamers dominates Los Cabos panel

Screen | 11/9/2018 | Jeremy Kay
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Independent producers will end up owning ‘zero’ content in the age of streaming platforms, a Friday (9) panel of showrunners and producers heard at Los Cabos International Film Festival.

While participants in the ‘Film To TV: The Ups And Downs Of A Shifting Industry’ session spoke of the opportunities that the changing landscape presents to independent producers, the overall picture was bleak.

Year - Content - Netflix - Giants - Mexico

“When you have $10bn-$15bn a year [being spent on content by Netflix and other streaming giants],” said Mexico and LA-based producer Alex Garcia, “everybody is going to get hurt. The thing is not a single studio was this big. You’re talking about companies that can buy a studio with pocket money.

“It will allow us to make content, but we will own zero of it. When I say we will be working for them I don’t mean as an employee – I mean we will be an outside employee without benefits.”

Garcia - Proliferation - Production - Funding - Opportunities

Garcia later added that the proliferation of production funding offered opportunities to content creators, yet his fear for the future was a theme that permeated the session.

“The main question is who owns the property,” said Mexican showrunner Carla Gonzalez Vargas, whose Gato Grande Productions, a joint venture with MGM, produced the acclaimed Netflix and Telemundo show Luis Miguel – The Series, about the superstar Mexican singer. “The more you own the more authority you have on decisions.”

Gonzalez - Vargas - Negotiations - Season - Show

Gonzalez Vargas recalled how in early negotiations on the first season of the show, Netflix wanted “the universe in perpetuity.” That drew laughter from the audience in the Cinemex multiplex, as the showrunner said she would be mindful of the need to hold on to as much of a property as possible in future negotiations.

She noted that having MGM as a partner in...
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