Sony Pictures: 'Local broadcasters want local content now, not American exports'

Sony Pictures is balancing the need to create shows that travel and can be sold to multiple markets with a refreshed demand for local content from broadcasters that "no longer want American exports", according to its international president.

The studio is not aligned with any network which means it can sell to anyone from broadcasters, cable networks and OTT platforms (video-on-demand/streaming services), putting it in a strong position to create content based on local and global demand.

Speaking today (12 April) at the FT Digital Media Summit, Andrea Wong, international president of Sony Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Entertainment, said there are "no rules" when it comes to global television, so "every model is different".

It means Sony can makes shows that will travel and resonate across a number of markets, unspecific to a certain territory, as well as align itself with the "globalisation of content" around the world, which is driven by renewed demand for local content.

"That is another interesting part of our business - ensuring we are always creating local content," said Wong.

There is a financial benefit to producing local content as well - to help manage upfront cash flow requirements. It's why Sony is experimenting with creating content in territories like Mexico and Australia, said Wong, where it can produce the same high quality output for a much lower price.

The Sony executive cited specific benefits to producing content in the UK, including tax incentives, as well as the ability for creators to hold on to ownership of their content, which is much harder in the US since that control is tipped in favour of the broadcasters.

In a competitive market where Netflix can offer more money than you can get from most other buyers, Wong said it’s very important for media companies to have a strong brand and a show associated with that brand, since “one show can define a cable network” during the proliferation of platforms.

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