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By Inigo Alexander 02-07-2020

Vuulr CEO Ian McKee explains how the Content Market LIVE! initiative taking place next month in partnership with C21 will help both buyers and sellers.

Ian McKee

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the global TV industry head-first into the digital sphere in a way that nobody had previously envisioned.

Prior to the pandemic, the thought of a digital market seemed unnecessary, but after months of lockdown, the industry has become familiar with digital marketplaces and has embraced the opportunities they present.

The latest online industry market to come into play is Content Market LIVE!. The event has been launched by C21Media alongside Singapore-based online content marketplace Vuulr and is the first transactional virtual content market allowing buyers to offer, negotiate and acquire content immediately.

The event will roll out across three time zones on August 6, kicking off at 11am in Singapore, then at 11am in London and 11am in Los Angeles, ensuring that buyers across the globe have access to the digital marketplace.

Over the past 18 months, Vuulr has grown its presence as a marketplace and now has over 30,000 titles on offer on its platform, with around 2,600 buyers and 3,000 sellers using the site to transact.

After the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of large gatherings, and industry markets as a result, Vuulr CEO Ian McKee says he realised there would be an opportunity to create an efficient digital market to make up for the absence of physical ones.

“What we realised was that the sellers lost the opportunity they would normally have of being able to present their content to an audience of buyers. Vuulr is a marketplace for buyers to buy, it’s not a venue for sellers to sell. What we want to do is to introduce a platform that gives the opportunity for sellers to do what they do best, which is to sell their content. So that’s the genesis of the idea of Content Market LIVE!,” he explains.

The event has already attracted the interest of more than 60 registered sellers, and McKee says that the new digital event will maximise efficiency and present buyers and sellers with a streamlined way of conducting business.

“A lot of people have realised that, actually, it’s pretty efficient to do things digitally, although many users have got lost in the navigation. We’re going to provide something that’s a much smoother journey, much more intuitive for a user. They log in, they can watch it and, a couple of clicks later, they can watch the screener; a couple of clicks later, they can submit an offer. That whole process can be a single integrated journey.

“Delegates are going to get a much more attractive ability to convert a presentation into opportunity and close that deal, because deals at the moment on Vuulr are closing in eight days. That’s from discovery to complete a deal, simply because as a digital platform, we streamline the process. You don’t have to go to and fro and wait for people, which is why it takes three months, six months normally. A digital platform like Vuulr closes deals in eight days,” explains the exec.

Content Market LIVE! is designed to provide a space for content across genres, although McKee emphasises it is primarily aimed at the sale of readymade programming, as opposed to pitches for projects still in development or early production.

“We’re looking for content that is preferably in the can, finished content, ready to deliver. What we hope for is that a broadcaster finds it perfect and wants it tomorrow, and so we can get a deal and the delivery done and everyone’s happy. We would accept content that is in post-production, but if it’s still waiting to be produced, at this point the timeframe and the risk is a little bit too high and we’d say no. We want stuff that is sellable and deliverable.”

McKee adds that the marketplace will provide broadcasters and networks with the chance to keep their programming schedules up to date and fill any gaps caused by the pandemic.

“Everyone is frantically redistributing budget because at the moment there’s a fierce war for audience and the last thing you want to be doing, if you’re a linear channel, is running out of fresh content to show and increase your repeat rate. There’s nothing that pushes an audience away faster than tuning in and finding that there’s nothing new to watch,” he says.

The upcoming market is intended to allow the industry to keep standing strong amid the pandemic and ensure deals are made so screens remain full of new and original content.

Buyers and sellers can register their interest at contentmarketlive.com.

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