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The holy land was filled with aspiring innovators as day 2 of Israeli franchiser Keshet’s InTV Conference dared to forecast the evolution of the television landscape. The majority of the event’s continued schedule focused on various ways of interpreting content in different mediums as it is affected by social media.
First to take the Jerusalem International YMCA stage was founding editor of The Huffington Post, Roy Sekoff, whose shot of adrenaline early in the morning was basically a showcase of the online news aggregator’s video streaming platform HuffPost Live. The overly exuberant Sekoff was later joined on stage by Keshet’s acclaimed investigative journalist, Ilana Dayan, who went along with the presentation and ended the one-on-one session with the coy question “So, what is it like working with Arianna?” to which Sekoff replied he would need much more time to thoroughly answer the inquiry.
Two standout highlights on the InTV roster included svp and executive creative director of brand strategy at BET Networks, Kendrick Reid, who captivated the audience with what was later described as a master class in branding, and local entrepreneur Adam Singolda, founder & CEO of Israeli start up company Taboola.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter prior to his presentation, Singolda expressed his desire to make his content recommendation and monetization platform become a new online category he called “discovery.” The idea behind Taboola’s algorithm is simply to refer users to organic links they might enjoy as well as the web page they already chose to visit. With a revenue cycle estimated at $100 million, offices in NYC, Israel, London and Bangkok and customers such as USA Today, The Food Network, Time.com and the BBC, Taboola is one of Israel’s hottest business exports. Singolda appears highly confident that his startup could take on the almighty search engine Google, as he fully expects more big companies to try and capitalize on the idea themselves soon, or rather follow in his footsteps.
The 2013 edition of InTV 2013 is taking place on the same week that marks 20 years of commercial television in Israel, hence the official launch of Channel 2. In the past two decades, it quickly became the primary network in Israel, overseen by the government-appointed Second Israeli Broadcasting Authority, and shared by two franchisers, Reshet and Keshet. The latter is well considered the overall powerhouse in Israeli media, let alone as a broadcaster, as it continues to march into adulthood in its third decade with international accomplishments and continues to expand its reach.
In recent years emerging names such as Keshet CEO Avi Nir, considered Israel’s most influential culture figure, and Gideon Raff, who created the original series Prisoners of War, which went on to become the Emmy-winning Homeland, are common names around Hollywood. One of Keshet’s enthusiastic partners is WME’s Rick Rosen, who arrived in Jerusalem as a speaker at InTV, and an avid advocate for Israel’s prominence in Tinseltown. In an interview with THR, Rosen explained that pitching an Israeli show to US networks has nothing to do with the country’s political reputation and more so now entails its own positive credibility.
“Israel has a lot of incredibly creative writers, that are becoming more and more sophisticated and the success of a television show is based on a writer’s vision,” Rosen said. “Television in Israel is exploding with good stuff, the commercial and artistic stuff, and I don’t see why it won’t go further, I love it.”
Scripted projects that are currently in the works for Keshet domestically include drama thriller series The Gordin Cell over at NBC, which began development in the summer of 2012 as a put pilot commitment, then known as M.I.C.E. (Money, Ideology, Coercion & Ego) and associated with writer-director Peter Berg. Plus, already in post production and editing following shooting in Morocco is Tyrant for FX, helmed by Raff and fellow Homeland EP Howard Gordon.
“I think it’s great,” added Rosen, “It makes me really happy and proud that I was part of building this industry here in Israel.”
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