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The event was the annual meeting held by the European Media Management Association (EMMA) in Hamburg, Germany on May 27-29. This year’s conference, entitled “Development and Sustainability in Media Business”, was hosted by the University of Hamburg’s Business School.

At the conference, the professor from Universidad Austral’s School of Communications presented, on behalf of the Media and Entertainment Research Center for Latin America (CIMEL), a paper about innovation on content production processes entitled “International Coproduction Strategies. Disney Channel Series Violetta as a Case”. This study was part of a research study on media companies’ international strategies for the audiovisual industry that Professor Pis Diez is conducting with IAE Business School’s Professor Fausto García.

Ethel shared her experience at an interview:

What were the key issues at this year’s conference?

It mainly addressed three major topics or research streams that currently concern both academia and the media and entertainment industry. The first issue involves the industry’s sustainability as a result of the impact of digitalization on traditional business models. It’s not only about finding new revenue schemes –getting paid for content- but also coming up with adequate content and distribution models to stay relevant in an environment characterized by excessive content offerings. One of these new schemes hinges on the development of production, content and brand internationalization strategies.

The second discussion topic revolved around social responsibility and ethics in media. The challenge lies in the complex ties between social profitability –conveyed in terms of content credibility or social quality– and companies’ financial profitability.

Finally, the third research focus –which appeals to an increasing number of marketing scholars, luring them into the media industry– is media and entertainment industry branding. This area also includes current studies on branded contents.

What paper did you present at this conference?

One of the innovation strategies for content production processes that Fausto García and I are currently looking into at CIMEL involves international co-production practices. This paper we wrote together discusses a TV show called Violetta, the first co-production effort by Disney Latin America and Disney EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) made by an Argentine firm, Pol-ka. Teresa Bosch, professor at Universidad Austral’s School of Communications, also participated actively in the elaboration of this case.

What conclusions were drawn from this study?

We wondered what were the factors leading a company like Disney to engage in an international co-production effort that included Argentine and Latin American creative talent –performers, directors, producers– and management capabilities. We also wanted to learn more about the challenges and opportunities posed by this type of agreements for both project and content managers.

As we explored this case, one of our findings was that, in a project of this kind, success depends largely on the ability of every company’s top executives to correctly identify both the challenges and synergies underlying a collaboration among two or more partners. If this assessment proves effective, these strategies to enter other markets –international co-production– can become an adequate path to turn production processes more dynamic, allowing for transfers and exchanges of best practices, skills and efficiencies, while building more effective teams that embrace change. Disney did this in its Violetta project, and we think therein lay one of the keys or secrets of the huge success this product boasted in the Latin and European markets.

Finally, how would you summarize your 2015 EMMA experience?

This was the second European conference and the fourth international one we have taken part in. Media Management is a very new field in our country and Latin America; as a result, it is both comforting and encouraging to see that our work has been welcomed internationally. After presenting the Violetta case, we received many inquiries and academic collaboration propositions, both from researchers working on content production innovation processes and from marketing and branding specialists who are interested in this industry’s growing globalization and who knew about our previous paper –recently published in a journal– about TV format exports.

In addition to presenting our work, attending this conference enabled us to stay abreast of the research currently carried out in other countries with a longer track record in this field and to forge closer ties with leading academicians in this discipline. For example, as a result of this increasing interaction with the international community, in early June, Austral Comunicación –the School of Communication’s academic journal– published an essay article on media enterprises’ economics and management. The issue featured the quality work of scholars from Argentina, Germany, Spain, Greece, and Finland, all referring to these markets.

Source: School of Communications

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