Janson Media President Stephen Janson was recently profiled in World Screen’s TV Real Weekly for a “Focus On…” feature. In the informative article Janson provides insight on the different ways in which the company plans to evolve in a fast transitioning content market. The company head touches on everything from High Definition programming to Internet distribution to the future of the DVD (to Blu-ray or not to Blu-ray?)
Full Interview By Kristin Brzoznowski
What better way to take a trip to a far-off land in these cash-strapped times than to turn on the TV. From the ultra exotic to everyday getaways, Janson Media is offering up a number of series that feature travel at their core for MIPTV. TravelScope, produced with funding from British publisher DKVision, has a focus on third-world destinations. A third season of Travel with Kids, starring the Roberts family, is also in the catalogue, offering practical adventures the whole family can enjoy. These programs sit alongside three new limited series of HDTV travelogues from Bennett-Watt Productions: Discoveries…India, Discoveries…Asia and Discoveries…Africa.
“Everything we release now is in high definition,” notes Stephen Janson, the president of Janson Media, about the quality of these new products. And HD isn’t the only realm the company is full-speed-ahead on. “We are moving as fast as we can into the Internet and IPTV world. The DVD business has flat-lined, and frankly we see no future in Blu-ray. It’s the last gasp of the studios trying to ward off the inevitable move to file sharing and downloading. We see independent content finding its way to consumers through the Internet, whether by advertiser-supported models or by file downloads, if the pricing structure is affordable. We publish and manufacture DVDs, and we license rights as well. We’re working with all of the major electronic sell-through and ad-supported websites, so we’re hedged—no matter which way the market turns, we’ll survive the transition.”
As the company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year in Cannes, Janson has seen the market evolve in a number of ways since back in ’89. To stay on top of the game, his focus has shifted over the years, and Janson now has a new set of goals to drive the business forward. “We are finding that the worldwide intellectual property rights business for what is now commonly called ‘content’ is getting tremendously complex with the advent of new media and the arrival of convergence, so we are aggressively building our consultancy division. We have a terrific stable of industry veterans representing all kinds of clients in need of content sourcing, program underwriting, PBS station relations, contract negotiation and more.”
Janson has also learned, over the years, the value of stocking a catalogue that has a wide variety of offerings. At this market, he is looking to bulk up in new lifestyle and business fare, and possibly indie feature films. As for which genres tend to perform best for the company, Janson says, “It really varies from territory to territory, client to client, market to market. That’s why we try to build a varied range of content in our rights portfolio, so we are always ready for the vagaries of the market.”
For more information on Stephen Janson, visit his resume.