Drugi plan

Streaming wars create mini-Hollywoods across the world

September 24, 2019

ROVINJ, CROATIA — Streaming giants looking to grow overseas are shelling out billions to local content producers, fueling a new production economy all over the world.

Why it matters: Companies like Amazon and Netflix need local languages and storylines that are native to the regions where they need to win over subscription budgets. They can’t do that from Hollywood.

Content creators — particularly those who want to create in their native language — are the big winners here, since they’ll no longer need to play by the rules of Hollywood in order to get access to big audiences.
The rush to create localized content is being felt particularly in countries like Croatia, Serbia, and other parts of what was formerly Yugoslavia.

That area, once a bastion for Hollywood film production prior to the Yugoslav Wars, still has resources and expertise in production that new Hollywood giants are flocking to, says Nebojša Taraba, a Croatian producer whose hit Croatian TV series “The Paper,” was acquired by Netflix last year and became a global success.
Taraba’s production company, Drugi Plan, is also began producing the first Croatian series for HBO Adria, called “Success.”
HBO came to the region in 2016 when its European arm launched HBO Adria, a premium cable channel serving countries like Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia.
Driving the news: The promise of local content investment was the center of focus at “The Weekend” Media Festival in Croatia this past weekend, where thousands of producers, editors and media professionals from the region gathered to talk about streaming and local content.

“The demand is so high that we are running out of carpenters to build sets, let alone actors and producers” one producer told me.
Taraba was at the festival with representatives from Munich-based production company Beta Film Group to produce a series about refugee and drug trafficking at eastern European border for a film called “Amnesia.”
“Their coming here is great news for the whole region, fantastic opportunity and could create great move forward and great content as well,” says Taraba.