“Working in the arts, you’re surrounded by diverse creative voices and possibilities at every turn. It’s a challenge, due to resources, to prioritize and bring structure to a seemingly endless list of creative opportunities. PwC’s Strategy& team lives and breathes media like we do. They looked at our situation objectively and offered informed recommendations for both strategy and execution.”
Evolving to meet the challenges of a changing media landscape
The growth of the Tribeca Film Festival® in New York City has been significant by any measure. Founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center, it has grown from 140 film screenings at its 2002 inaugural event, to a leading destination for creativity and storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, mixed reality, gaming, music, and online work. In 2017, there were 531 screenings, 153,000 live attendees and 3.8 million virtual participants in post-film conversations via live social media. Additionally, in 2014, Tribeca Enterprises® (TE; the parent company of the Festival) began developing and producing custom film projects in association with brand partners. Tribeca Studios® delivers storytelling across the evolving media landscape by utilizing Tribeca’s network of filmmakers and established track record in film and television production.
Sounds great. Right? Well, success comes with its challenges, too. It’s not inexpensive to stage something as extensive as Tribeca, and the Festival needs to be profitable in order to preserve its legacy and grow. Tribeca Studios needed to objectively determine a scalable path forward for its growing content business. Being profitable has been complicated by the fact that as the Festival and branded content are expanding, the media industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation: streaming, convergence, the rise of prestige content off the silver screen -- the list goes on.
The internet and digital technology have disrupted the Media & Entertainment industry by enabling new creative possibilities, new economies of scale, entirely new media, new content production processes, new distribution channels, and new business models. In terms of where to place your bets, the landscape has become a moving target. TE wanted more structure and clarity to guide their decision-making, as well as some independent perspective. They called PwC.
A capabilities driven strategy to drive innovation and growth
Many people have the mistaken perception that strategy work is purely conceptual. Done right, it’s not like that at all. When we first started collaborating with Jane Rosenthal, TE’s Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Chair, her management team and the Board, it was clear that there was an abundance of good ideas about possible go-forward strategies, but they needed a way to rigorously evaluate their options within a structured framework so they could all agree with confidence on the best alternative.
PwC was comprised of strategy professionals in the Media & Entertainment industry, and had seen this problem before. They had a proven, pragmatic approach for delivering a strategy based upon a client organization’s baseline position in the broader Media & Entertainment ecosystem and a frank assessment of the client’s capabilities, both in terms of current resources and what they could reasonably expect to put in place for a given strategy.
Working with TE, the PwC team started with an analysis of the market, and identified trends where TE could have a clear competitive advantage over time. In parallel, the team worked with TE to evaluate their current financial situation and where they wanted to be in the next five years. They identified a number of foundational moves (i.e. optimization of pricing, improved data analytics and systematized operations), which together could create a positive impact with minimal cost.
With all of these elements in place, management and the board were able to see a clear, cohesive, and integrated approach that monetized and strengthened the Tribeca brand to unlock growth and scale. And given the team’s focus on capabilities informing the choice of strategy, management and the board were able to see how current and future resources could be phased in as the strategic plan is implemented over time.
Moving forward with confidence in a well-grounded strategy
The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival is shaping up to be its most successful festival yet. They are expanding the Tribeca X Award for branded entertainment with new, juried award competitions, an initiative linked directly to our joint strategy work. But the real story here is that TE and the Festival it operates are now able to leverage the value they’ve created over 17 years, and are in a position to expand profitably and evolve confidently in a dynamic media industry environment.
Thanks to the work we did together, the TE team now has clarity and focus around a common strategy that everybody understands and supports. The organization now has momentum driving a prioritized roadmap which is based on what they can achieve both with the capabilities they have and what they can reasonably expect to acquire as the strategy bears fruit.
PwC became a corporate sponsor as a result of our engagement and learning more about Tribeca Enterprise’s mission.
Partner, TMT, PwC US