Marie-Laure Roche, Global Head of Sales, Jetpack Distribution

Marie-Laure Roche, Jetpack Distribution’s Global Head of Sales, talks about surfacing content, improving discoverability, YouTube, IP and rights, Asia's acquisition habits, monetising kids content and what the biggest influences in 2020...

Discoverability is as much an issue among kids programmers as among any other genre in the streaming universe. Do you have a preferred strategy for surfacing content?
“As a distributor, we work with as many platforms as possible to surface content for our production and IP partners. We are also always keeping an eye on future trends to stay ahead and be able to anticipate the needs of platforms and audiences.”

Is there anything you wish platforms would do to improve discoverability?
“Not really for us to comment (as distributors). But we would love to them to market and window our shows as much as possible!”

If kids, as is commonly thought, live mostly on YouTube, what’s your approach to streaming video? Do you have a YouTube-first policy? If you do, can you say why? If not, can you also say why.
“No, we don’t have a YouTube first strategy. While we do work with some shows that have been on YouTube first, we generally see this as a secondary platform for exploiting the series after its been on Linear TV and SVOD.”

Are you seeing any significant changes in the way kids buyers are acquiring content in/for Asia?
“We are seeing a very open market across a broad range of countries. Asian buyers do seem to be buying more international content. Often this is due to a universal appeal and quality of production and script writing, especially in comedies. The market has become much more sophisticated with buyers appreciating well-known brands. We have seen this with shows such as Oswaldo, Kitty is Not a Cat and Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty. Asian buyers often have a great appreciation of design and animation. Plus, there are lots of new VOD platforms, opening new opportunities for sellers. In China in particular, lots of buyers are interested in the opportunities from licensing and brand extensions such as toys and theatrical.”

Did monetising kids’ content in Asia become more difficult in 2019? Why?
“No, if anything it’s probably easier as there are more players in the market.”

Do you think it will become easier to monetise kids’ content in 2020?
“We hope so! Especially if international broadcasters continue to acquire locally (for example Turner and Netflix). The big players are buying for local audiences which is great! The threat would be if the global market becomes homogenous.”

What do you think will have the biggest influence on kids programming (production and distribution) in Asia in 2020?
“Market growth overall! More Asian IP owners will provide more opportunities to export content to other parts of the world and more channels who buy international content will feed growth”.

What industry sector in Asia acquires the most from you (free-TV, pay-TV, streaming, other)?
“All of them are important, but possibly pay TV is slightly ahead here.”

How have rights negotiations for kids content changed in the past year or so?

“The same as everywhere else, with everyone needing more rights!”

How critical is licensing and merchandising to your business in Asia? Will this change in 2020?
“Not critical but it’s a bonus if we can get licensing rights. Its an emerging business for us.”

Excerpts of this interview were published in ContentAsia's print magazine for the ATF 2019