A graduate in audiovisual law and communication, specializing in new models of audiovisual distribution and professor of Communication Studies at the Open University of Catalonia, Elena Neira is a global reference in the analysis of the present and future of the Audiovisual industry.
Author of the social spectator (2013) and the other screen (2015) and coordinator of the film Marketing work. How to promote a movie in the digital environment (2015, Neira spoke with Words about the latest developments and trends in the universe of platforms VOD, partnerships with the publishing world, the multiplication of the platforms, the destination of the cable television, the changes in the life cycle of the films, and the impact of mobile devices in the narratives and the contents.
Near the end of July and among several new developments Netflix announced an agreement with Planeta for the publication of books on its most emblematic series in Spanish: The Paper House, Elite and the House of flowers, how new is this alliance really?
In principle, This is not the first time Netflix has been marketing with intellectual property; it has previously produced a graphic novel of another of its intellectual properties, the most lucrative, in fact, which is Stranger Things, in an agreement with Penguin Random House.
That is, the fact that he has decided to sell licenses based on his intellectual property is not novel, he has already done so, and very successfully. What is truly new in the agreement with Planeta is that it includes for the first time three properties in Spanish, which, again, are among the most lucrative for the company.
In fact, about the Paper House Netflix, which is quite reluctant to offer viewing figures, has stated that it has been the most viewed Spanish program in the history of the platform. So, in addition to the language issue, what’s new is that it hasn’t been done again with Penguin, but with Planeta, probably because of the historical level of implementation that the editorial has in Spanish-speaking communities.
Then the basic fact: licensing the exploitation or sale of merchandising around its intellectual property, is nothing new. It is what he has done at the time, for example, Lucas Film with the properties of Star Wars, and it is something that is being done more and more, what happens is that it is necessary to have a very important and popular property to make the sale of those licenses really lucrative.
Does this not then reverse the usual relationship between the editorial and film worlds?
Historically, the world of the book has been the place where film companies, such as television companies, have found stories to adapt them, raising many millions, but also the process has been reversed: films have found in the publishing market a way to extend the universe they posed in a film, in a series, that relationship is very consolidated since the time of killing a Mockingbird, to set a milestone.
Fundamentally, what is happening now is that streaming platforms are imbued with a process that here in Spain we call “the tail biting fish”: a vicious circle that forces them to produce a lot of original content, because they have a business structure, which burns the product very fast, and needs a lot of content to satisfy a growing user, especially in the case of Netflix, which launches the seasons en bloc, and which continues to grow despite the fact that the figures for the last semester have not been particularly good.
Then, as you increase the subscriber base you need to add new content to sustain the perception that there are always new things, and that is worth the price that the platform charges per month.