TCL Event Panelists Discuss Future of Streaming, Interactive TV

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. — During an Aug. 23 event to unveil its new TCLtv+ service and its IDEO interactive TV feature, TCL presented panels of streaming platform execs and content creators at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Renowned chef Rick Bayless, who appears as an animated avatar in TCLtv+’s IDEO interactive tech feature, joked, “I wish they hadn’t made my avatar so handsome.”

The chef, who has done 176 shows for public TV, said he was “really frustrated that I couldn’t share more” and that IDEO allows him to do that through its interactive tools.

Brainstorm Media president Meyer Shwarzstein, who produced a movie for Lifetime that has three different endings, noted “IDEO is like Play-doh for creators.”

Vanessa Shaprio, CEO of Nicely Entertainment, pointed out the expansive opportunities of interactive television.

“You can buy that jacket that the main character has,” she noted, adding that consumers can even order food through the service.

Interactive TV may change the way content producers think about content, she said.

“Maybe we’re going to have to start shooting additional footage,” she said. “It will push us on the creative side to really think outside the box.”

She noted that when watching certain true-story shows, she often looks online to see how it really happened.

“We don’t need Wikipedia with this,” she said of IDEO.

Panelist Victor Elizalde, president of Viva Pictures, noted he is an alum of Disney Interactive.

“You had some absolutely brilliant creators that were limited by the space on a CD-ROM,” he said of the Disney division. IDEO expands those capabilities, he noted.

“I feel like it’s going to become an explosive educational tool,” he said.

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During a panel on FAST (free ad-supported streaming) channels, speakers mused about how FAST is and is not like traditional linear TV.

For viewers looking at FAST, “It’s just TV,” noted Tejas shah, SVP, commercial strategy and analytics, FilmRise.

“It’s clear that the world is moving quickly in a streaming direction,” said Marcien Jenckes, Xumo and Comcast advertising, Comcast. For the consumer, he said, “It’s just content.”

Still, there are some differences between FAST and linear TV, noted panelist Laura Florence, SVP, global FAST channels, Fremantle.

“The amount of data that you get with a FAST feed” is very different, allowing content owners to know when consumers start and stop content, she said.

“On broadcast side, they can’t provide those kind of elements,” she said.

FilmRise Inks Distribution Deal With Nicely Entertainment

FilmRise March 14 announced it has inked a multi-faceted deal with L.A.-based Nicely Entertainment to produce and distribute two new movies along with domestic VOD distribution rights for more than 20 family friendly romance and holiday-centric films.

New York-based FilmRise will co-produce and exclusively distribute in the U.S. two new holiday themed movies, including Sappy Holiday, starring Vanessa Sears (“The Last Man”) and John McLaren (“Heartland”), and Snowball Effect, along with Adeline, starring John Schneider (“Dukes of Hazzard”) and the romantic comedy Snapshot to Love, starring Lexi Giovagnoli and Benedict Mazurek.

“Nicely’s production expertise in the family friendly romance genre makes them the perfect partner for FilmRise to continue to grow its presence in this vertical, which includes growing our offerings of programs and building proprietary destinations in the streaming space,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions, said in a statement.

In addition to the FilmRise Streaming Network, the company plans to offer the new productions to a range of broadcasters and digital partner platforms. In 2021, FilmRise entered a similar deal with Reel One Entertainment, producer of female-lead, feel-good romance and holiday films, that included FilmRise acquiring 15 new releases, alongside a sweeping distribution partnership for 100 titles in Reel One’s library.