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Mike Fletcher 

Five questions with: Nick Wright, MD, Havas Entertainment

Five questions with: Nick Wright, MD, Havas Entertainment

Nick Wright, managing director of Havas Entertainment chats to Mediatel News about the restructure within the Vivendi-owned group, accelerated entertainment trends and Dua Lipa

Congratulations on your new position as MD of Havas Entertainment. How will it differ from your previous role within Havas Media Group as MD of the content and partnership division, JUMP and what will happen to JUMP as a result of the re-structure?

Thank you. The Havas Entertainment proposition sits at the heart of fandom. Whether that be a fan of a culture brand or a particular form of entertainment, we need to engage with the same behaviours across all forms of communication. It’s a ‘drop culture’ that demands an orchestrated approach across PR, media or content.

JUMP is central to the new proposition. Its expertise in creating cultural moments and deeper engagements with audiences and fans through content and partnerships is the creative fuel that drives the overall Havas Entertainment output.

JUMP also continues to drive this thinking across the rest of the group, fuelling Havas Media and Market clients with content and partnerships as it has always done.

Although the day-to-day of my role is broader, the principles are still the same. It’s about bringing unique talent and capabilities together to create joined-up campaigns that go way beyond traditional advertising, and the ‘spots and space’ mentality that just doesn’t cut through.

How does Havas Entertainment now fit alongside Havas Media and Havas Market?

All three brands are interconnected. We are specialists in our own rights, and this enables us to organise ourselves around our clients and capabilities, but we’re supercharged by each other.

In the same way that ‘entertainment’ and creative marketing are not and cannot be solely owned by Havas Entertainment, the performance and commerce capabilities of Havas Media and Havas Market are also as relevant to entertainment brands as they are to those that sit across the rest of the group.

With Vivendi as its majority stakeholder, Havas is the only agency that is part of an entertainment company, not a marketing organisation. Is this advantageous to Havas Entertainment or is the longer-term plan to win clients beyond Vivendi?

Being part of Vivendi is a key differentiator but it’s not the only differentiator.

Yes, being able to ‘keep it in the family’ and deliver great work for our sister companies – UMG and Studio Canal – is vital, but Havas has always had a different approach to advertising and media.

Our meaningful proposition (and mindset) drives the need to create more connected campaigns and harness the power of earned media alongside paid. This drives the ‘Village’ model in which we all come together as well as the agency brands we build or acquire.

The acquisition of Target Communications Group (Target Media, Organic PR and more) in 2016 was part of this journey and brought with it over 60 clients in the film, gaming and entertainment industries, with a roster that includes Netflix and Curzon.

Putting this all together under Havas Entertainment, powered by Vivendi, solidifies our position and offering within this space.

How has your view of content within the entertainment landscape been altered by the acceleration of digital during lockdown? When Dua Lipa draws a virtual crowd of over five million viewers for her streamed Studio 2054 concert, have the rules been re-written forever?

Acceleration isn’t a new concept for the entertainment world.

Aside from theatre and live, most of the sectors are reasonably young, yet they have transformed beyond recognition across their lifetimes. Recorded music led the way. Its rebirth following the shift from physical to digital has been phenomenal and that industry has never been in better health.

Other areas of the industry are now having their ‘Napster moments’.

Some of which, such as film and gaming, were part of the roadmap. Others, such as live and theatre, were driven by the impact of the past 18 months. All of this is inevitable in this ever-moving landscape – it’s just happened a little quicker than expected.

We will come out of this better – different, but better. Things won’t go back to normal, but equally they won’t stay the same as they are now. We must adopt the best of both worlds, embracing the great things we’ve created and ditching the things we haven’t missed.

We have more digital adopters than rejectors. The Baby Boomers are now all avid Zoomers and this creates so much opportunity to cater to all audiences in a number of different ways we couldn’t before.

Will Dua Lipa, off the back of the success of Studio 2054, flip to only streamed gigs? Of course she won’t, but a streaming layer could be added to existing gigs and tours to bring in incremental fans – the new and the old need to co-exist.

Experience will be king. With more choice comes more discernment and creating ‘OK’ experiences will no longer cut it.

I think we’ll see a shift across all sectors – cinema, live music, film distribution - to stand out and grab their slice of an even more stretched share of wallet and time.

What other entertainment trends should we look out for in the coming months or years? Will Virtual Reality for example ever get beyond its false dawns?

The main shifts for me will be in how the consumption landscape will shift, and this isn’t just a binary shift from physical to digital, it’s a blend.

A bigger ecosystem of experiences needs to exist. VR and new tech are fundamentally part of this shift and growth.

As such, I actually think VR is about to have its day. The world is now ready for VR and VR is now ready to service the world in a much more effective way.

It’s been a slow burner and as with any new tech, it’s about the adoption of the hardware – which is connected to it being at the right price to create a tipping point as well as having the content available to drive continual usage.

With 6.4 million headsets sold in 2020 (up 1,600% since 2014 coupled with content spend on VR passing $1 billion), I believe we’ll see growth in VR across a number of sectors – gaming, film, live music and theatre.

All the trends and shifts mentioned above, the Dua Lipa concert, films going direct to homes, cinema experiences and streamed theatre experiences could and should all be delivered in a much more immersive way through VR.

Other tech will continue to grow but I do feel VR is the ‘one that got away (or never got there)’. It might come through just when we were thinking the moment had gone.

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