The Series Mania Digital Forum reports positive results
- The first big professional event to have unspooled online after being forced to cancel has published figures which could serve as benchmarks in the new context of the Coronavirus health crisis
The partial online recycling of festival programmes, or, at least, of their professional sidebars, is one of the major improvisations to have come out of the current global health crisis. But this phenomenon is causing quite a stir. When it comes to the biggest international events of the 7th art, Thierry Frémaux and Alberto Barbera - the respective heads of the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival - have already voiced their firm refusal of an online version of their festivals in the event that it becomes impossible for them to unspool in physical form this year, and this for obvious artistic reasons (the biggest films by the biggest filmmakers deserve a setting worthy of their names; in other words a world premiere under the very best visual conditions, in a movie theatre and with a target audience).
Meanwhile, for reasons linked simply to financial survival, or because they would rather venture down a road never taken than contend with the dark void of nothingness, other festivals are trying to set a rapid course towards colourful, digital editions (with titles which are more or less accessible to industry professionals, the media and the public, but which also fall in line with producer and sales agent preferences). But the concrete results of online markets are still somewhat nebulous and difficult for buyers and sales agents to assess. As such, the publication of traffic data relating to the Series Mania Digital Forum, which unspooled online between 25 March - 7 April following the cancellation of the Lille-based festival’s physical edition, is a source of valuable insight.
The online platform set up in record time by the Series Mania team attracted 1,500 professionals (out of the 2,000 sector players registered at the time of cancellation), of which 60% were buyers, commissioners, producers and distributors, while the remaining 40% consisted of journalists, programmers and screenwriters. In total, this equates to 83 days of viewing; that is, an average of 1.5 hours of content per platform user. 10,000 visits were recorded for the Buyers Showcase (with around seven episodes watched per user) and 5,000 for the projects in development video pitches (an average of 3.5 per user). Finally, an analysis of the geographic locations of the professionals who visited the platform identified 40 countries, with France naturally occupying pole position (with a third of users) ahead of the US. For their part, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Russia and Canada also appear towards the upper echelons of the rankings.
These are precious details for festivals yet to unfurl who have already opted for an online market, not to mention producers and creators still undecided whether or not to go for it. These are also results which have given heart, somewhat, to Laurence Herszberg, Series Mania’s managing director, who stressed her satisfaction at the festival’s participant numbers and "at having succeeded in creating this virtual meeting place for our dedicated industry professionals" of whom 1,500 participated. "However, we know that this digital platform cannot exist alone, and nothing can replace the energy of the event in Lille which provides a unique meeting space where many face-to-face business exchanges and deals happen", she added, before concluding with the certainty that in 2021, the two formats - physical and digital - will be combined with a view to delivering an even bigger and better event.
(Translated from French)
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