Digital Hollywood Panelists Discuss Challenges and Opportunities of Content Delivery on Eve of CES Show

LAS VEGAS — The challenges and opportunities of content programming in an increasingly online world were the subject of a Digital Hollywood panel Jan. 7 in Las Vegas on the eve of the CES show.

Three important challenges to an online content provider are facilitating “access, discovery and community,” said Soumya Sriraman, president of the subscription on demand service Britbox, which offers British programming. While access is getting easier for consumers, content discovery is a challenge and building an online community is even more of a challenge, she said, speaking on the panel “The Future of TV: From Primetime to Multi-Platforms.” One strategy Britbox has used to build its community is offering programming concurrent with its debut in the United Kingdom, she said.

PBS, too, is building its community of local station supporters through PBS Passport, said Ira Rubenstein, chief digital and marketing officer, PBS Digital. Those who donate at least $5 a month to their local station get online access to an expanded library of content not available on the PBS OTT platform. Meanwhile, another challenge for PBS is accommodating both an older audience that likes traditional linear TV and a younger audience that wants greater online access.

Finding an audience is aided by a platform, such as Twitter, which facilitates communities, noted Laura Froelich, senior director, partner management, global content partnerships at the social media company. Twitter helps its partners find and serve their audiences. The company is helping the PGA service its audience by uncovering the golf fans’ desire to see more than what is broadcast.

“Golf fans on Twitter were very, very vocal,” she said.

Different kinds of programming will begin to evolve, several panelists noted.

The PBS program “Frontline,” for instance, through its “Transparency Project” gives online viewers access to the entire interview of subjects in its documentaries.

Stefanie Schwartz, EVP, media networks digital partnerships and digital studios strategy and operations, Viacom, said her company is reimagining its program for mobile. For instance, for “The Daily Show,” the company created a segment called “Between the Scenes,” in which host Trevor Noah speaks to the audience in the commercial break only on social media.

Colby Smith, SVP, content and partnerships, ABC News, said through its 24/7 ABC News Live online platform, which launched in May, the network is deconstructing traditional TV elements to make them more dynamic. The breaking news and live events channel is found on various streaming services and social platforms. Referencing Netflix’s experimentation with a choose-your-own-adventure, multiple storyline strategy with “Black Mirror,” he envisioned online news content where the platform asks viewers where they want reporters to take a news story.

“That’s where it get’s really exciting,” he said.

“I think content is going to drastically change,” said PBS’s Rubenstein. “What is defined as content is going to drastically change.”

Season Three of “Victoria,” Season Two of “No Limit” Coming to PBS Prime Video Channel in January

PBS Distribution will begin streaming two new series on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in January — the third season of the drama “Victoria” and the second season of the “Walter Presents” international drama “No Limit.”

A new episode of season three of “Victoria” will be available each Monday starting Jan. 14 on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video channel, available to Prime members for $5.99 per month after a seven-day free trial, and in PBS Passport, a member benefit for PBS station donors that offers extended access to public television programming.

Jenna Coleman returns as Queen Victoria in the third season (eight episodes) of “Victoria.” Continuing the story of Victoria’s rule, season three introduces new historical characters, including Laurence Fox (“Inspector Lewis”) as the vainglorious Lord Palmerston, who crosses swords with the queen over British foreign policy. Also vexing the queen this season is Kate Fleetwood (“Harlots”) as Victoria’s devoted but troubled half-sister, Princess Feodora, who seeks refuge at Buckingham Palace due to political unrest back home in Germany.

From film director Luc Besson brings comes the second season (eight episodes) of the French thriller series “No Limit,” with full seasons available on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel beginning Jan. 7. A former soldier diagnosed with a brain tumor is offered an experimental treatment that will keep him alive. The company behind this generous offer is Hydra, a mysterious Black Ops government organization, dedicated to fighting crime by any means necessary. In exchange for his treatment, the former French secret service agent takes on a series of clandestine missions for Hydra.

Season One of “Frankie Drake Mysteries” Due on DVD Jan. 8 From PBS

The first season of the female-driven crime mystery series “Frankie Drake Mysteries” will be released on DVD Jan. 8.

The series premiered digitally on Prime Video Channels and PBS Passport.

Set against a backdrop of social change, radical politics and jazz music, the series follows Toronto’s only female private detective Frankie Drake (Lauren Lee Smith) in the 1920s as she takes on the cases the police don’t want or can’t handle. Her gender is her biggest advantage. Along with her partner Trudy (Chantel Riley), Frankie and the Drake Detective Agency take on cases of all shapes and sizes, from airplanes and booze running to American G-men, Communists and union busters.

‘Breaking Big’ Due on DVD, ‘Jamestown’ Streaming in November from PBS Distribution

“Breaking Big,” a documentary series that explores the unexpected journey to success of some of the world’s most influential artists, innovators, political leaders, athletes, authors and entrepreneurs, will be available on DVD Nov. 13 from PBS Distribution while season two of the series “Jamestown” will premiere on PBS Masterpiece Prime video and PBS Passport streaming services Nov. 21.

The epic drama “Jamestown,” from the makers of Downton Abbey and written by Bill Gallagher (Lark Rise to Candleford, The Paradise), follows the lives of three women who leave their dark pasts behind in England to start new lives on the edge of the Virginian wilderness in the 17th century colony of Jamestown. Season two takes viewers back to a thriving colony, where the tobacco plantations are starting to provide the wealth they promised and trade booms, but the status quo will soon be disrupted by births, deaths and broken marriages.

A new episode of “Jamestown” will be available each Monday on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video channel, available to Prime members for $5.99/month after a seven-day free trial, and in PBS Passport, a member benefit for PBS station donors that offers extended access to public TV programming.

The Nov. 13 two-disc “Breaking Big” release ($34.99) features 12, 30-minute episodes. Produced by OZY Studios and hosted by Carlos Watson, the series looks at the twists and turns on the road to thriving careers for some notable figures in various fields. It features 12 talented men and women, from country music superstar Jason Aldean and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, to Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels and chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang. All overcame obstacles and long odds. The program includes analysis from eminent social scientists, marketing experts, film critics, book editors and others to help viewers understand their risk-taking and bold moves.