Just two months into the Covid-19 lockdown, Gaumont and MarVista Entertainment alum Vanessa Shapiro unveiled Nicely Entertainment, a distribution and production company serving the global market with a focus on scripted TV series and movies. Marking its one-year anniversary, the company has been boosting its offering of holiday and romance-filled features, as well as expanding into drama and YA TV shows. Shapiro talks to World Screen Weekly about changes in windowing brought about by the coronavirus, the challenges and triumphs of Nicely’s first year and where her 20 years of experience in the industry will steer the company next.
WS: How does the state of the global TV/media industry look at present?
SHAPIRO: During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a global shift of traditional windowing. The closures of theaters are at the forefront of the window collapse, with more movies being released day and date or skipping the theaters altogether. The industry needs to figure out a new revenue model as we’re now seeing a new way of consuming content. The result of the pandemic has created a more captive audience in front of their screens at home, but yet less box office or TV ads revenues. At the same time, the apparent winners are the SVOD and AVOD platforms with a substantial subscriber and audience increase.
I think the trend of binge-watching created by the streamers by releasing full seasons at once on their platforms is here to stay. This on-demand trend is going stronger, with traditional broadcasters now also launching their own streaming platforms, with new services such as Peacock, Paramount+ and HBO Max. Furthermore, AVOD is emerging as a successful new model attracting younger audiences, especially in the U.S. where cord-cutting is still on-trend.
WS: Nicely just celebrated its one-year anniversary. What have been some of the high points and challenges?
SHAPIRO: We are very proud of the work and content created during our first year in business and look forward to many more years ahead! Clearly, the biggest challenge has been the shutdown of production in March 2020, but like many other production companies, we took that time to read, develop and prep a full slate of movies. As soon as we were able to start shooting again, we went into production on four movies over the summer with our different production partners.
With over 20 years of experience in the industry, from my early days at Sony to MarVista Entertainment and Gaumont, I learned everything from finance and business affairs to sales and production. All of the combined experience, skills and relationships I built over the years prepared me to establish Nicely. Every company I worked for brought me closer to opening Nicely and gave me the tools to develop and expand the series co-production model. For instance, during my time at Gaumont, I was blessed to have worked on the global Amazon Prime series El Presidente with amazing talent.