Here at Fusion we love to connect with as many creatives as possible and we are really excited to have Sanjay Das Chief Works Officer of The Works Network join us.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us.
Hi Dan, thank you for inviting me to the Green Room. It is a pleasure to have a chat with you.
I guess right now with the current global landscape the online cinema platform is a very exciting place to be. How have the past few months been for the My Film Works platform?
Yes, it has been very exciting for us with more and more people connecting with our platform. Also, as big media companies bring their content online, it will strengthen the medium and allow us to reach even more audiences as they come and stay online.
We are well positioned as a platform as we attract content from all over the world and are very excited about the future of Independent Films, Filmmakers and My Film Works.
Do you expect that there will always be new streaming platforms emerging trying to get a piece of the action now the desire for online content is so huge?
Yes, as more content comes online, more deep pocketed players will also join the streaming bandwagon. This will pose its challenges but also create opportunities.
We are already seeing shifts in viewing habits and content licensing. Earlier, Independent streaming companies were able to license content, which large Media companies saw as a small revenue opportunity that they were not keen to monetise on their own. However, as services like Disney +, HBO Max, Peacock etc. have launched, a lot of the Content is being pulled from other platforms to strengthen their own streaming service.
In addition, we will see a lot of the Linear TV content moving online which will further increase online audiences and create more streaming platforms. This creates unique opportunities for free services like us whose focus is content made by Independent Filmmakers.
My Film Works like Fusion connects with creatives all around the world- what message do you have for filmmakers that have had projects delayed as a result of the current pandemic?
I am a firm believer that a crisis can be an opportunity as well. We have this unfortunate pandemic, which has caused so much disruption. I would suggest to Filmmakers that they use this downtime to finish their passion project / things that they put off as they did not have time. This will be a good time to complete it and share it with the world. A lot of people are stuck at home looking to watch new content as big productions are under lockdown. Just see how popular services like Tik Tok have become. Things will ultimately get better and the work.
done now will help to set you up for the future when things do open up.
You have been involved in the industry for a number of years, how has the quality of content developed over recent years in the Middle East, have you noticed a clear shift in subject matter and technical approaches to work?
Middle East is a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, language etc.
This makes it very interesting and challenging for content creators as they try to appeal to this diverse audience. Over time, the quality of story telling has significantly improved along with the production values. Local Governments are attracting more Filmmakers to make films and now more than ever, Middle East content is getting International acclaim. This is just the beginning of a long and exciting journey as more local stories are told and shared with the world. We strongly believe that the Industry will keep growing from strength to strength.
I always love to find out about the journey that brings people into the industry. When did you take your first steps into the creative world and what or who inspired you?
When I started working in Television in 1994, Satellite TV had just launched in Asia and the Middle East. There were no Pay channels at that time. There was a lot of demand for Entertainment content from viewers across the region, who had grown up watching Government owned channels. I was very lucky to have worked for STAR TV (earlier owned by Fox and now part of Disney) in the Middle East, Hong Kong and Indonesia over 17 years. During this journey, hundreds of channels were launched to entertain hundreds of millions of people each day.
At STAR TV we covered 53 countries, which had a combined population reach of 3 Billion people. We were producing / airing more than 30,000 hours of content each year and it was difficult not to be inspired by the Creative work that was being done everyday. Naturally you got pulled more and more into the Entertainment business as this was showbiz at its very best.
You have been involved in lots of TV channels in Indonesia, holding CEO status at a few. Did you find that your skills just worked perfectly for this area?
STAR TV for me was like a College where I actually got paid to study. So, I made it a point to learn as much as I could about the Television business. As we had more than 50 channels covering almost all Genres’, I was able to get a good understanding of the Television business while also getting a good
understanding of what content appealed to our diverse audiences. Being part of Fox allowed me to also gain from experiences of our group companies in the USA,UK etc. All this experience helped me to develop the skills that ultimately allowed me to run the TV business.
People have very similar content consumption habits whether they lived in China, India or the Middle East. There are a lot of good stories our there to keep people entertained. You just need to mix science and creativity properly and you will have a winner.
You have certainly been heavily involved in the business side of the media industry, what would you say is your greatest achievement so far?
I have worked on very exciting projects at STAR TV (that Is the only company I worked for incidentally). I have launched or running channels in Indonesia and the Middle East, managing Cricket World Cup rights worldwide, acquiring businesses etc. I however think that my biggest achievement yet is founding The Works Network and in particular, My Film Works, a unique Cinema platform, which we launched 7 years ago when streaming, was not that popular. The platform has brought together hundreds and hundreds of Independent filmmakers who share their stories via their My Film Works Screen with our worldwide audience in more than 30 languages.
And finally what else is on the horizon for yourself personally or with the development of The Works Network/ My Film Works?
My Film Works is at an inflection point as the streaming business continuous to reach more audiences. Our goal is to be the preferred platform for Independent Filmmakers and the Cinema of choice for our viewers. I am very excited about the journey ahead and I invite filmmakers to come and open their Cinema screen on My Film Works, and join the Evolution. There is a lot of do and more to achieve as we look forward to join forces with more and more filmmakers from around the world.
Sanjay thanks so much for joining us, we are delighted here at Fusion to be partnered alongside you supporting independent creatives all around the world.
Thank you Dan for this opportunity. I would like to congratulate you and the team
at Fusion International Film Festivals for doing such a great job in building these festivals. We
are very happy to have partnered with you and we wish you the team the very
best and continued success.