Ex-Nine CEO’s Bold Prediction – Content Quotas to Trigger $700m MasterChef IP Boom in Media and Marketing

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A fierce debate rages within the media industry as Australia’s potential for growth and global recognition collide with concerns raised by TV networks over implementing content quotas, leading to a clash over investment, talent, and the future of Australian entertainment.

Formerly in charge at Nine, Hugh Marks is pursuing the next massive success akin to MasterChef in Australia. He asserts that compelling streaming companies to invest in more Australian content is the way to achieve this.

Media Entrepreneurs Foresee Global Success and Economic Advantage

While the existing MasterChef format was initially conceived and produced in Australia, the program originated in the United Kingdom. It generates $700 million annually in licensing fees and other commercial revenue for its owner, Banijay Group (previously Endemol Shine).

Hugh Marks and Carl Fennessy, the founders of Dreamchaser, suggest that requiring streaming companies to allocate funds for local content would result in a higher number of global hits.

“I believe that the ownership of intellectual property and the sale of that IP in the global market is the next significant area of growth for media enterprises,” Marks said.

The federal government has expressed its intention to implement quotas on streaming platforms to ensure the production of more Australian content. Network executives recently met with government officials to determine the specifics of its implementation.

Mr Marks and his business partner, Carl Fennessy, also the co-founder of Endemol Shine, have a clear vested interest in this matter. They established Dreamchaser Entertainment last year after anticipating the likelihood of Australian content quotas being implemented within the next few years.

According to Mr Marks, the quotas should exclusively apply to new and innovative formats. He argues against including Netflix’s financial support for creating Married at First Sight as an eligible contribution. Despite its origins as a little-known Danish format, MAFS gained immense popularity in the United States following its Australian season 2015 and subsequent premiere in the UK.

“The shows produced here are likely on par with, if not superior, anything created in other global markets. That represents a significant economic advantage for the Australian marketplace,” contends Mr Marks.

He further examines the UK industry, which he believes is currently around six times larger than Australia’s local industry, particularly in scripted or premium scripted content, despite having a population only 2.5 times larger. In his view, Australia is underperforming in this market.

Media Industry’s Growth Potential and Talent Pool Clash with Concerns of TV Networks

Arts Minister Tony Burke has stated that quotas will be implemented starting in July of next year. However, TV networks argue that this will have unintended and detrimental consequences, including increased production costs, negative impacts on local players, and relegating the best Australian content behind streaming paywalls. They also assert a need for more talented writers. Mr Marks dismisses this perspective as protectionist and incorrect.

He questions, “Why would it not be in the interest of everyone locally to redirect money spent overseas and invest it here instead? It should be a win-win situation for all.”

Regarding the argument about a talent shortage, he dismisses it as primarily unfounded. He states, “The solution to the lack of talent is not simply accepting the status quo and being content with what we have. There is a global boom happening. An almost limitless pool of talented individuals will be available if provided with the right environment to develop their careers.”

Mr Marks cites Cameron Welsh, the Australian producer of the Disney+ show Nautilus, and Emma Freeman, the producer of the successful Australian series Heartbreak High on Netflix, as examples. He expresses frustration with those who wish to constrain the industry to its current state rather than embracing its potential for expansion.

He concludes, “There is so much more opportunity and an abundance of job prospects that come with the creation of intellectual property, which, in turn, will bring in export revenue for the country. This is where the quota system demonstrates its ingenuity. It simply suggests, ‘Hey, since you’re already investing substantial amounts of money in content, why not allocate a small percentage of that budget to original projects in Australia?'”

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