Published On: Tue, Sep 30th, 2014

Daniel Ravner Wants to Make TV Innovation Profitable

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“Industry execs usually want two things in a project: for it to be totally fresh and also familiar” explains Ravner the inherent paradox in selling innovation.  And he is no stranger for creating innovation in the content industry. Before starting his company Practical innovation He was the Head of Digital at Armoza Formats,  Head of content at The Box and creative director of Screenz.

“Starting out in the business as a TV comedy writer, when I set out to start my own company it was all about expanding creativity to new mediums, but I soon realized that this pitch would not build my business. You have to answer your clients’ needs and most often than not, those needs are bigger revenues. It so happens, that round the time I reached that insight, I was scheduled to give a talk at PWC. When they asked for the presentation’s title I told them it’s called “Digital – cool, innovative, but where’s the money?” It was not a presentation I had prepared or planned but I knew that if I can figure out a 30 minute answer to that question than I have a sales pitch”

So what’s the sales pitch?

The gist of it is that the digital revolution is the single biggest change we will get to experience in our lifetime, if you run your business roughly the same way you did six years ago, then you are probably missing out on some opportunities.”

And how do you find those opportunities?

“It all goes back to creativity. A company is like a brief you get when you work in advertising. It has some strong suits, some disadvantages, it has a world it operates in and goals it wants to achieve. You take that knowledge and match it with an updated knowledge of the world we live in and opportunities arise.”

One such project that was recently launched is RGE’s Springboard. It’s a sort of accelerator that is specially designed to leverage a broadcaster’s assets. The RGE Springboard, co-lead by Practical innovation and Stuff, invites start-ups and companies to use the platforms and assets of RGE (biggest children’s channel and sports channel in Israel) to accelerate their projects and demonstrate the potential of their international activities. RGE, in turn, will get equity in the selected technologies plus outsourced innovation brought into its channels.

“Springboard is all about a clear de facto way for a TV entity to generate revenue from assets and skills that’s outside its core business. At the same time it all made possible by leveraging its core assets.”

So how does a comedy writer end up being an innovation in business leader (in 2012 Ravner was elected one of the “40 most promising people under 40 in the Israeli business world” by Globes Magazine)

“Like most changes, it’s a result of a dead end. I did okay as a comedy writer but not great. I also looked at the top talent in Israel and realized they are few and far in between and none of them can afford to retire. I realized I needed a niche and decided to go with digital storytelling. YouTube was just starting to have an impact and I figured I can be the guy that translates the new media to people of traditional media. I started a blog, that’s still running, and it was amazing. In a few months I went from being a freelance that constantly asks to be loved to an expert that’s being invited and paid for his singular knowledge.”

Israel is very hot where it comes to TV formats, does that extend to digital innovation in TV

“The whole spectrum of cross media merges two of Israel’s top exports: TV Formats and startups. We have some of the best technological minds and a tradition of storytellers. When put together, it creates a brand for Israel that resonates where content is concerned. “

In 2010 Daniel won the prestigious fellowship for the Entertainment Master Class – a selective executive education programme taking place in various locations worldwide. This helped put Ravner in the center of the international industry which later translated to projects done for clients ranging from P&G to FOX international Channels, ProSeiben, 3M and many more.

Last year he created and led TV by the people – The first ever crowd sourced TV format. This was done as part of his role at Armoza Formats. To this project he reeled in a distinguished partner – the Irish production giant Screentime ShinAwiL.

“Most TV shows are formulated by 3-4 people in a room. We thought what can happen if we have hundreds of people from all over the world part of a creative process. What we ended up with was a 24/7, month and a half brainstorming session taking place by 580 people from four continents”

So what’s next?

We will soon announce a new creative event called TV mashup, created for the TV Format Fund. It will bring elements of a hackathon but designed to end up with an IP that can be taken forward the next day.  But first, there’s a MIP around the corner (biggest TV market conference, taking place in Cannes). As for 2015We are constantly putting ourselves through the same process of figuring out what would be an opportunity we are not exploring, and go there…

MIPCOM, the world’s entertainment content market, gathers the TV industry’s leading players for 4 dynamic days of networking, conferences, exhibition, keynotes and screenings. Mipcom is taking place in Cannes, France. 13th to 17th of October.


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