New Class of Golden Globe Voters: HFPA Expands its Voting Body for 81st Edition
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is already gearing up for their next edition, set to take place on January 7, 2024. In 2021, the Los Angeles Times ran an exposé on the organization, criticizing the lack of diversity in its voting body, and since then, the group has taken several actions for reform. Last year, the numbers of voters increased from 87, at the time the article was written about them, to 95. Now, the association has added an additional 215 international voters, bringing the grand total to 310, which exceeds their previous pledge to increase the size of its voting body. This new voting body also is diverse in its makeup, with a total of 76 counties being represented. HFPA shared that 58% of the voters are diverse. Of that, 25% are Latinx, 14% are Asian, 10% are Black, and 9% are Middle Eastern. The organization also added that at least 17% of the entire voting body identifies at LGBTQ. In their effort to be more transparent, the organization has also detailed their criteria for international voters, saying they need to provide verified entertainment journalistic clipping to be considered. Everyone who became a Golden Globe Voter submitted to the HFPA Credentials Committee, which consists of independent journalism and entertainment professionals. Helen Hoehne, president of the HFPA, says that “We are excited at the unprecedented achievement in building a truly global voting body where 58 percent self-identify as ethnically diverse.” Neil Phillips, the chief diversity officer of the HFPA, also adds that the organization is actively trying to expand to not only follow through with the commitments it has made, but to better the organization overall.
Just Max: HBOMax to Rebrand as New Flagship Streamer
Warner Bros. Discovery has shared the newest plans in their merger. In May, the current streamer known as HBOMax is removing the first half of its name to just become Max. This rebrand frames Max as the new flagship streamer for the company, embracing its collaborative nature as it will now host content from many sources, including HBO, WB, and newly added Discovery+ material. The company announced the name change in a press conference along with its new slate of projects, displaying that Max is dedicated to creating original streaming shows. This change will hit the U.S. market on May 23 of this year, and along with this change, the company promises over 40 new titles and seasons of television content each month. Along with the new name, Warner Bros. Discover CEO David Zaslav also revealed the streamers’ new slogan, as “Max is the one to watch.” The streaming service will have three subscribing tier options. First is Max-Ad Lite, which is the cheapest tier at $9.99 a month, and offers 2 concurrent streams with 1080p HD resolution. Next is Max Ad Free, which offers a similar experience, but without ads, for $15.99 a month. Last is Max Ultimate Ad Free for $19.99 a month, where subscribers have access to four concurrent streams, 4K resolution, and Dolby Atmos sound quality. In conversation around why the name was changed, the company described this as a move to continue to preserve the HBO brand, but also make sure the streaming site is inclusive for all properties. Casey Bloys, chief content officer of HBO and Max, added that because HBO is known as a premium brand, “It is not designed to take on everything in library or in the streaming service.” Therefore, the rebrand works to really allow other content, like Warner Bros. Kids content, to shine on the platform and succeed. In addition to the name change, which has been discussed by executives for a long time now, this new Max platform will offer a better user experience and have more options for personalization.
Measurement Alternatives: Networks to Focus on New Currencies at Upfronts
In the TV industry, Nielsen has been the measurement standard for many years. When the giant lost its third-party accreditation back in 2021, many companies were forced to pivot and even develop their own measurement systems. Overall, the past few years have also seen a lot of change in audience behaviors as well, as streaming is now a preferred viewing method for many. Jen Faraci, chief data officer, Digitas North America, says that because of all the movement in viewing methods due to the pandemic, “there are marketplace changes around where people spend their time, what that competition looks like, [and] how do we make sure we’re attracting the right type of audiences [as well as] understanding the people that we are reaching and how.” A couple new measurement companies have since appeared including, VideoAmp, Comscore, iSpot.tv, and more. But this new competition also pushes for industry excellence and will help make measurements more accurate. And while discussions around measurement have been on the decline, conversations are starting up again as Upfronts are set to begin. Providers and publishers are facing the same challenges from previous years, along with the additional issue of having to field through all the noise from competitors. Nielsen is also still undergoing changes, as just last year, the company went private and started to roll out their new product, Nielsen One. This product is set to be fully operational in late 2024 and will be able to better adapt to the fast-changing industry. The TV advertising environment becomes even more complex as third-party workflow platforms like Mediaocean and OpenAP are added into the mix. While these systems are trying to unite and pull in newer data streams, they are still a work in progress. The environment is currently still undergoing a revolution, so many are still questioning which measurement company will come up on top at the end.
Home Sweet Home: SAG-AFTRA Union Is Planting New Roots in North Hollywood
The LA-based SAG-AFTA performers’ organization just bought an office building in North Hollywood for $46 million to serve as its new national headquarters. Previously, this was the only entertainment labor union that didn’t own its central building, as it is currently renting a space in the Miracle Mile neighborhood. They began renting the building in 1993 and its current lease extends until 2032. Although the union has yet to share an official move date, this new building offers 118,000 square feet of office space and a 0.71-acre lot nearby. The building is also leased by other companies including the nonfiction producer Pilgrim Media Group and Screen Engine/ASI, a research and analytics firm. Union president Fran Drescher said that “it was determined that SAG-AFTRA was now in a financially sound position to pursue this goal.” The search for the new building was led by Joely Fisher, the national secretary-treasurer of the union. Other executives at the union, executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and CFO Arianna Ozzanto, were part of early discussions with Drescher in what was a collaborative effort to purchase a new office space. Crabtree-Ireland described this move as “a historic milestone for our union and a testament to our strength and resilience,” also adding that this new space will offer more opportunities for the union and better serve its members. Also, by making the decision to own instead of rent, the union is creating more stability for itself in the future. The issue around SAG-AFTRA renting its headquarters surfaced during its 2021 elections, where some individuals were against the organization paying the high price tag of $6 million every year.
Going Global: How The Traitors is Creating International Hype
The unscripted television competition show The Traitors is receiving attention from across the globe. Glenn Hugill, a reality television executive, even goes to say that this show is doing what Top Gun: Maverick did for the summer blockbuster, for the TV format. Currently, several industry professionals are getting ready for Mip TV in Cannes, and many are impressed by the impact of The Traitors, which has made waves in countries across the globe, including the U.S., UK, Australia, France, and, of course, The Netherlands, which is where the show began. While the concept of the show is niche, it still managed to work and make an impression on so many audiences. The host of the UK version of this show, Claudia Winkleman, is also receiving acclaim for her part on the program. The Traitors is a game show set in a castle which consists of ‘faithfuls’ discovering the ‘traitors’ of the group, all while participating in daily challenges that earn them a pot of prize money. Over last winter, the U.K. version of this show started gaining popularity, and since then, a U.S. version has aired on Peacock. And even more international versions are on their way. Many factors of the show have led to its popularity including its diverse cast and play along nature, which creates good word-of-mouth buzz. Unscripted TV is really starting to feel the love of buyers across the globe, with The Masked Singer and The Traitors getting attention in about 20 territories over just the last two years. And game shows like these are expected to continue to dominate the international TV market as they also are highly popular programs for family co-viewing. Channel 4 will continue vying for unscripted formats at MipTV this year with The Piano, a heart-wrenching show that observes local amateur pianists who share their stories and have the opportunity to work with acclaimed performers. The creation of production hubs and establishing co-productions are ways industry executives believe they can recession-proof this type of content and keep their popularity at an all-time high.
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