Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton moderated a panel of content platform execs at the Variety Entertainment Summit, in partnership with CES 2021.
The panelists consisted of Kathleen Finch, chief brand officer of lifestyle networks at Discovery Inc.; Sara Clemens, COO at Twitch; Agnes Chu, president of Condé Nast Entertainment; and Keith Le Goy, president of worldwide distribution and networks at Sony Pictures Entertainment, all offering their thoughts on the current state of content creation.
Finch reflected over the circumstances brought about by the pandemic and how that drove people to consume certain types of content.
“We’re sort of a lifeline to a lot of people in many respects,” she said. “Food Network is your friend, HGTV is your friend. People watch our networks in sort of a different way, and we know that we provide comfort for people.”
“We didn’t want to let people down,” she continued. “The amazing amount of content that we were able to turn around… we were able to make 500 episodes of content during [the] pandemic, much of it shot by the talent themselves or shot by their family members. We didn’t know that the fans would react so positively, but they did.”
Clemens echoed Finch’s sentiment, describing the comfort Twitch provided to content viewers.
“It was our 10th year of operation as a service, and I think the thing that really struck us was [the pandemic] legitimized the core mechanics of what Twitch is,” she said. “It’s a live service, it’s social, it’s interactive, and people were really craving that in a time of social distancing.”
“What we’ve found is that there’s been a real surge of engagement from [the] audience,” she followed. “We have over six million creators a month who are producing content, and the normalization of what we’re doing here, which is live, unscripted, slightly informal, sitting-in-your-house conversations, [all] became the norm.”