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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

February 1, 2007

Tombers Realizes Real Screen Has Arrived…

About a year ago I was in Cannes for the MIP Conference and, at one
point, Jim Schenkman, who is the head of Real Screen, both the magazine
and the Conference, stopped by a client’s booth and talked with them
about what they had thought of the most recent Real Screen Conference.

They chatted and then Jim turned to me and asked me if I had been there
– and I told him I had. He asked me what I had thought of it. There
followed a moment when I almost didn’t say what was on my mind but
then, I did. You see, I thought the 2006 Real Screen was remarkable
for the people it brought together but was substandard on virtually
every other level.

Some months later I was asked to put my time on the line and was asked
to help organize this year’s conference, shortly thereafter finding
myself on the Planning Committee and asked to put together a panel,
which I did. It was called: DOLLARS FOR DIGITAL and included on it
the following individuals:

Lou Wallach, SVP of Program Development, East Coast, and
Broadband, Comedy Central
Jordan Hoffner, who is, as I understand it, functioning as
the GM of the omnipresent YouTube
Paul Levine, who is head of National Geographic Ventures,
which includes digital development
Anthony Lilley, Managing Director of Magic Lantern
Productions, a UK based company that specializes in digital production.

We addressed how producers and networks could make money in
the digital universe. The answer: both can. Motherlode, the Comedy
Central site, is a very successful advertiser vehicle. Nat Geo is
learning ways of making money and is the category leader in iTunes
downloads, and Magic Lantern is doing very well, thank you, doing
projects over in the UK for the likes of the BBC. Though no one asked,
the big pre Conference news was that YouTube was going to start a
revenue sharing model soon.

Jordan Hoffner offered good advice on marketing your video
virally and generally I think the panel was a success. Other panels
dealt with the much thought about digital space and were well attended.
The panels all dealt with significant subjects of concern to working

In addition, this year’s crop of attendees included more
senior folks and far fewer first time film makers. The glass topped
lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. was a
mini-Croissette and pitches were furiously made in small huddles all
over the building while the glitter factor was significantly raised by
a spectacular party at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the
Mall, hosted by Smithsonian Networks [of course] where martinis were
sipped beneath the Spirit of St. Louis while people commented about the
courage of Lindbergh to fly the Atlantic in anything that small.

This is the ninth year of Real Screen and, I think, marks
the year that Real Screen became Real Big. The number of attendees was
the same as last year; there were more people who skipped NATPE for
Real Screen and there was more business than ever before. Carl Hall,
Managing Director of wild life film company Parthenon, chatted with me
in the lobby about how Real Screen had become a real must.

It’s more than a conference; it’s a market now, gathering
from across the world non-fiction and reality producers and networks,
creating the premiere marketplace for the films that fill the world of
cable networks and, increasingly, the world of the internet.