Streaming to Global Markets
Join us online! co-directors Henry Jenkins and Denise Mann invite you to attend Transforming Hollywood 10, Friday, April 8, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. PT. RSVP here.
CONFERENCE OVERVIEW: The 10th edition of the Transforming Hollywood conference focuses on the massive, cultural-industrial shift underway as digital distribution platforms harness algorithmic technologies to greenlight projects, manage production workflows, engage in targeted marketing, and foreground their own streaming originals — both short-form videos and premium-quality film and series — using automated curation.
Panel One examines Amazon Studios’ Carnival Row to discover how U.S. streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and HBO Max are maintaining long-distance control over production and post-production workflows associated with their high-profile, world-building narratives, by partnering with L.A.-based production companies, such as Legendary Television; VFX supervisors; Central European service producers; and European localization teams.
Panel Two examines the massive uptick in data management companies whose expertise in algorithmic technologies makes them essential partners not only to the Hollywood studios, but to a growing number of online businesses that rely on the cloud-based, automated ecosystems of the streamers and social media platforms.
Panel Three examines whether 21st century global streaming has had a demonstrable impact on representations of diverse populations from across the world.
The conference will conclude with an hour-long conversation between conference organizers and media scholar Amanda Lotz, who will discuss her current research on streaming services seeking access to global markets. In addition, we will hold a networking lunch so attendees can engage one-on-one with several panelists (scholars and practitioners) to discuss academic-industry collaboration and to identify demands for student skills, pedagogy, curriculum, and training around diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
9:00 a.m.–9:15 a.m.
Willow Bay, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Hector Amaya, Professor of Communication, Director of the School of Communication, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Henry Jenkins, Co-Director, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Denise Mann, Co-Director, Professor, Cinema & Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Carnival Row: Producing World-Building Original Series to Access Global Markets
9:15 a.m.–10:35 a.m.
Moderator: Denise Mann, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
- Betsy Paterson, VFX Supervisor, Carnival Row, Season 1, Amazon
- Petr Szczepanik, Associate Professor, Charles University, Prague
- Kevan Van Thompson, Producer, Czech Anglo Productions
Panel One Overview
Panel One engages in a deep-dive exploration of Amazon Studios’ Carnival Row as one of the high-profile, world-building, effects-laden original series being financed and made by U.S. streaming services to keep global consumers actively engaged with their 24-7 ecosystems. Starting in 2016, Netflix and Amazon shifted from a land grab for global subscribers to a heated competition over access to skilled production personnel to support both small-scale, local language productions and high-profile original series. This panel examines several large-scale productions, such as Carnival Row (Legendary Entertainment) and Wheel of Time (Sony Pictures Entertainment), that are being filmed in Central Europe and executed by Hollywood studios or production companies. Because both series were shot in Prague, however, the L.A. studios relied heavily on seasoned, overseas service production companies, such as Czech Film Productions and Still King Films, to manage a range of pre-production and production activities, including access to skilled crew and oversight of the new tax rebate processes. In addition, Amazon enlisted a seasoned, L.A.- based visual effects supervisor to oversee the complicated workflow among multiple VFX vendors from different countries, navigating everything from pre-viz processes on big action scenes, and post-visualization creature work. In conversation with practitioners and scholarly experts, we will unravel the interlocking, infrastructural workplace tactics being used by Amazon to execute their globalization strategy.
Break: 10:35 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Towards Data Driven Entertainment?
10:45 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
Moderator: Violaine Roussel, Professor, University of Paris VIII; Affiliated Scholar, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
- Chloé Delaporte, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies, University Montpellier 3, France
- Nirmal Govind, CTO, Fable
- Rohit Joshi, Senior Director, Data and Analytics, NBCUniversal
- Marina Kosten, Head of Research and Strategy, Storyfit; Senior Fellow, USC Center for the Digital Future
- Rohith Nandagiri, Global Head of Data Strategy, Operations and Governance, HBO Max/WarnerMedia
Panel Two Overview
Streaming companies are known to have unprecedented access to data on the behavior of their subscribers. They collect information that traditional studios could never gather, so they know better than ever what we consume, but also how, when, and on which media we watch our favorite films or shows. The use of data also has a decisive impact on the definition of content strategies today. This importance of data has been noticed and is sometimes debated, but the specialists who are essential to the making of data and algorithms remain mostly invisible, behind the scenes: Their role is not well known, and they rarely speak in public. This panel will shed light on their activity and key role. It will bring together various types of data specialists working for the streamers or the studios, as well as expert scholars, who will engage in a conversation about the central impact of data in the age of global streaming.
Lunch and Networking
12:05 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Streaming The Global Majority
1:00 p.m.–2:20 p.m.
Moderator: Aymar Jean Christian, Associate Professor, Communication Studies, Northwestern University
- Erik Barmack, Producer, CEO Wild Sheep Content
- Ramon Labato, Associate Professor, School of Media and Communication, RMIT University
- Ishita Tiwary, Assistant Professor; Canada Research Chair, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, Montreal
Panel Three Overview
As film and TV distributors shift to global streaming, how does that shift the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion? The term “global majority” is as contested as “BIPOC” (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) for the ways both collapse the complexity and intersectionality of communities. Still, corporations are increasingly understanding the economic and cultural importance of racially diverse programming that addresses the diversity within historically marginalized communities (ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, disability and more). Can companies based in the United States effectively program for the world? Join executives from across the industry and the world to discuss how Hollywood is expanding the concept of representation in the 21st century.
Break: 2:20 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
U.S. SVODS Going Global: A Conversation with Amanda Lotz
2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Amanda Lotz has written extensively about the post-network television era and the impact of the streaming services on the way we view and engage with online entertainment. Drawing on her two decades of research, Lotz will engage in a Q&A with USC Professors Henry Jenkins and David Craig, highlighting the similarities and differences among our newest streaming video services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple+, Disney+, HBO Max) and previous video distribution technologies (broadcast, satellite, and the internet). Drawing on her forthcoming book, Netflix and Streaming Video (2022), Lotz will talk about the business of subscriber-funded streaming video and its implications for the future of online culture.
Speaker: Amanda Lotz, Professor and Transforming Media Industries program leader, Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology
Moderator: David Craig, Clinical Professor of Communication; co-director, Global Communication, London School of Economics; visiting professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Cultural and Creative Industry
Moderator: Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism