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Where Will New Content Come from in the COVID Era?

Learn more about the pandemic's impact on media at Streaming Media East.

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Read the complete transcript of this video:

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Obviously, one of the things that's going on is that scripted content production has very much ground to a halt. It is slowly creeping back up, but we actually have a question from the audience. That's one that was already on our list, which is, are we in any danger of running out of new content? Is the era of peak TV just on pause? Is it over? Where do you see the creation of new content coming from? Is it going to be more unscripted content, reality content, animation? Michelle, your thoughts on that?

Michelle Abraham: It's really all of the above. During the pandemic, we've seen media companies be very creative, whether it be repurposing content that had aired before with new commentary, or... For example, the summer season has traditionally been one where you see a lot of replays of content that had been shown earlier in the year. We're in the process of moving away from that seasonality, but there's still that traditional aspect of it. So I don't know that consumers were that impacted yet, but definitely we're seeing it in the fall season, as production did shut down for a lot of content and is slowly resuming, but then you certainly have content creators that are not necessarily tied to what we think of as premium production that don't recognize any kind of seasonality and continue to produce new content, week-in and week-out as they always have. So it's a mix. It depends on where you are on that spectrum, as far as whether you've been offering new content or not.

Euan McLeod: Obviously, we put a lot of our, um, productions into hiatus to protect our teams, and we're being very strategic about how we get some of those shows back into production. But at the same time, because we've got this agile mindset, we've had some incredible talent step up, step forward and create some very innovative shows under the social distancing measures. There's a show called Selena + Chef, which features Selena Gomez in our kitchen with a chef in a remote area, and they're teaching Selena how to cook. And then there's another show called Coastal Elites, which is a scripted with people like Bette Midler. That's all been produced under a safe environment with all the guidelines. So it showed that out of COVID, you can create some really innovative content.

And I think we'll see more of that across the whole industry, to be honest, because under those criteria, sometimes, as you say, you put an obstacle in your way and it might become the way. So this may become more of the new norm: remote production, maybe one or two people in a room who are already in their family or in their household, producing what is actually very compelling content. But those are just two examples of things that we've done just to pivot very quickly. And basically, talent has stepped up and said, "How can we fill in the gap?"

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