RSL ’14: U.S. indies shouldn’t fear “retribution” over rights

U.S. indie prodcos shouldn't fear retribution for promoting their interests via organizations such as the Non-Fiction Producers Association, delegates were told at Realscreen London yesterday (October 8).
October 9, 2014

U.S. indie prodcos shouldn’t have “fear of retribution” for banding together and promoting their interests, delegates were told at Realscreen London yesterday (October 8).

During the panel session The Big Issue: Does “Work for Hire” Work For You?, the discussion turned to the rights UK indies enjoy under the Terms of Trade, and the efforts being made by fledgling U.S. non-profit trade group the Non-Fiction Producers Association (NPA).

Addressing delegates, LMNO Productions president and CEO Eric Schotz – whose indie is among the inaugural members of the NPA – said U.S. indies “have to take these steps without the fear of retribution” from U.S. broadcasters, given the landscape for IP ownership was constantly changing.

He added that whether or not companies pitching broadcasters were NPA members, “the reality is if you have a great idea, they’ll all want it.”

Elsewhere at the session – which also featured Dial Square 86 CEO David Frank, Love Productions MD Richard McKerrow, Pact CEO John McVay and The Amazing Race creator Bertram van Munster – panelists outlined their predictions for the future of factual on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I think a lot of people have TVs in their living room and don’t use them, so we’ll lose a lot of viewers,” Van Munster told attendees. “Young people aren’t watching TV.”

Frank, meanwhile, predicted that the current wave of prodco consolidation would lead to the emergence of “a new kind of indies, about 10 times the size of Endemol.” He added that producers in both the UK and the U.S. need to be platform agnostic, and “stop thinking about ‘TV.’

“Any company that embraces that approach will be highly successful,” he said.

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