ONE by Rawnet makes it easier for sellers to connect with buyers. At Mipcom, the company brought distributors together to discuss the challenges they face

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The ONE Screener for Distributors is dedicated to humanising the digital experience in the broadcast industry. It offers a flexible way for content distributors to improve how they engage and connect with buyers.

Through gathering buyer insights, it arms sales teams with valuable information. Marketing teams enjoy being able to easily manage catalogues online and at market within a bespoke dedicated system, allowing sellers to showcase their full offering in one place, with one platform.

At a recent Rawnet event at Mipcom, a group of distribution and marketing execs convened to discuss the changing distribution landscape, the greater demands made of sales teams and the importance of leveraging digital services around deal-making.

Distributors including TVF International sales head Harriet Armston-Clarke, TCB Media chief executive Paul Heaney and A+E Networks marketing head for UK and International Melissa Madden noted that timetables around markets have shifted drastically and a balance is increasingly required between digital platforms and human interaction.

“We are so used to having things recommended to us and that is also an expectation in a business sense as well,” said Madden. “Now it’s up to us to understand what buyers want and what their needs are and assist them in that process. It’s kind of logical.”

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Heaney added: “All distributors should now have systems that have recommended viewing. That is what lazy sellers are guilty of – not doing their research.”

Armston-Clarke noted: “Coming into these markets and having meetings where you have a genuine, human interaction with thought and conversation leads to more interesting deals. I can’t see a way in which that is going to go away.”

“In the weeks leading up to the market, our buyers are screening everything so that they come ready. Having insights and the ability to make lists and recommended viewing is now a huge part of our business”
Harriet Armston-Clarke, TVF International

She added that deadlines around markets have shifted, and that pre-Mip preparations have changed dramatically for the specialist factual distributor in the past five years.

“Previously, we didn’t get our slate ready weeks in advance, but this is something we now have to do. In the weeks leading up to the market, our buyers are screening everything so that they come ready. Having insights and the ability to make lists and recommended viewing is now a huge part of our business.”

TVF International connects with buyers ahead of the market through an in-house website built through its digital division.

Similarly, the Kew Media Group-owned TCB uses an in-house content screening platform.

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A+E Networks issues a digital catalogue to its buyers and also uses a content system. The challenge, says Madden, is time management. “There is pressure on us to get that out earlier and earlier, because everyone is sending out a digital catalogue and there is so much to look at,” she said.

The panellists agreed that distributor roles have evolved enormously in recent years, along with the process for selling content. “We are working a lot more collaboratively. There aren’t as many cookie-cutter deals, and there are a lot more pre-sales and co-productions,” said Armston-Clarke.

Madden added that the model is the same for scripted “in a big way”. “Funding is such a challenge so there are a lot more pre-sales and people coming on board earlier. It’s a big shift.”

The marketing landscape has similarly changed, with budgets becoming more personalised and focused. “In a way, distribution is more about marketing than selling,” explained Heaney.

“I always say to producers: ‘Don’t paint the Mona Lisa and stick it in a cardboard tube. You have to market it and stick it up.”

The panel also pointed out that buyers are increasingly in ‘receiver mode’ outside of markets. “We are never off,” said Madden. “There are markets constantly, and they present moments in time where you can gather and have conversations.”

Ultimately, the landscape around markets such as MipTV and Mipcom has changed irrevocably, leading to greater pressure on distributors to prepare earlier and have laser-focused sales strategies that use a combination of human interaction and technology.

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To learn more about how Rawnet’s ONE platform can help you to revolutionise the way you use digital to distribute content, visit rawnet.tv

To receive a copy of the Buyer’s Survey results, visit rawnet.tv/discover