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Blaise Keen, Head of TVOD and EST, Rakuten TV


In Conversation is a new BASE LINE editorial feature for 2022. Each quarter BASE LINE will speak to a key category partner, and share their insights and vision for the future.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”9624″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]BASE LINE: What does 2022 look like for Rakuten TV customers?

 It is going to be a deluge of new and awesome content as the flow of new films published for digital transactional is back with a force and with new shorter premium windows. Plus, we continue to grow our AVOD business line with our original “Rakuten Stories”, so we won’t have a shortage of content for users to choose between buying, renting or watching for free with ads

BASE LINE: Tell us about the concept at the heart of the Rakuten TV Customer experience?

We work to provide customers with an extensive and comprehensive offer of both Films and TV and to make it available where they want to watch it, combined with the flexibility of how they can watch it, be it transactional, ad-supported or subscription. We’re not distracted by other business models either, we’re all about content!

BASE LINE: Tell us about the importance of additional and exclusive content to Rakuten TV?

We created Rakuten Stories in our aim to deliver top notch original and exclusive content reflecting the company’s values of empowerment, innovation and most importantly optimism. Rakuten after all directly translates as Optimism from Japanese. This year we’ll release four great productions and expand the theme beyond sport, however still maintaining the focus on our company values

BASE LINE: What has fundamentally changed for the digital transactional landscape over the last few years?

Obviously, the global pandemic has been the biggest bringer-of-change to our sector. It’s accelerated the shift from physical to digital and rapidly accelerated the evolution of windowing. The bold new windowing strategies we’ve seen from some studios have created interesting changes in market shares.

BASE LINE: What titles do you think will really catch the imagination of Rakuten TV Users in 2022?

Aside from our Rakuten Stories of course, our users tend to love the big blockbuster movies. Black Adam should be a winner, we joke internally that putting The Rock’s face on any film will make it a hit amongst our customers, but the superhero theme goes down well. But really there’s just so much coming up from The Batman (coming shortly), Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru, and one I’m personally looking forward to is the next instalment of Spider-Man: Across the Spider Verse. Sony can’t do wrong in my books with superheroes considering how well they landed No Way Home – what a film!

BASE LINE: What is the most exciting thing about the film and TV home entertainment landscape now for Rakuten TV?

The shorter windows. I was driving the other day and I saw a billboard for a film in cinemas which was just about to launch on Rakuten TV in a premium window. It made me smile because at long last we can claim a halo effect from theatrical marketing that can benefit the transactional business

BASE LINE: What would Rakuten TV ask of distribution in 2022 and beyond? What is working well, what could be better?

Resist the urge to put D2C SVOD before transactional for the next 18 months. If the decision is based on transactional performance (physical and digital combined) from the last 18 months, then it could be a flawed decision due to the drought of new content over that period.

Also, commit to at least a 45-day theatrical window across the market so there’s consistency of messaging to consumers, and limit the delay until rental.

BASE LINE: What has excited you in other industries recently? What could be a game changer for Home Entertainment?

I would say D2C SVOD; while I’m loathe to see transactional windowing being crunched, I do support the idea of giving customers flexibility of choice. Shorten the theatrical window further and bring films out on SVOD, EST and Rental all at the same time. Let the customer choose

BASE LINE: What role can associations like BASE and ERA play in supporting your business this year and in the future?

Review the customer perception of features and benefits of transactional now that the windowing situation has changed and there is a plethora of strong SVOD services. Refine the main call to action and messaging that the industry should be galvanising into action.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

In support of Action for Children
In support of Action for Children

Action for Children believe that every child and young person in the UK should have a safe and happy childhood, and the foundations they need to thrive. They work to protect and support children and young people, providing practical and emotional care and support. They work to ensure children and young peoples voices are heard, and campaign to bring lasting improvements to their lives.