ITVS BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
San Francisco, CA
March 21, 2015
Board Present: Garry Denny, Pat Aufderheide, Lisa Cortés, Beth Curley, Andrew DeVigal, Ian Inaba, Malinda Maynor Lowery, Bathsheba Malsheen, Robb Moss, and Jean Tsien
Board Absent: Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Tracy Fullerton, and Margaret Wilkerson
Staff Present: Sally Jo Fifer, Pamm Higgins, Jim Sommers, Sreedevi Sripathy, Lois Vossen, Noland Walker, Jennifer Samani, and Kirk Vader
A meeting of the ITVS Board of Directors was called to order by Chair Garry Denny at 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California.
Denny welcomed the Board and new member Andrew DeVigal. The board members and staff present introduced themselves to DeVigal.
Approval of Minutes
ACTION: On a motion by Denny, seconded by Malsheen, the Minutes of the November 22, 2014 board meeting were unanimously approved.
Fifer began her President’s Report with a presentation on the situation that resulted when WNET announced their plan to move IL/POV from primetime on Mondays. Fifer outlined the timeline from the December 17, 2014 WNET announcement to the present day and highlighted the stakes for the move: 80% of PBS viewers watch by appointment, and the lowest-income Americans watch the most television.
In her report on ratings, Sripathy provided additional background on how a potential move from Monday nights could impact ratings and reach for IL. Using national affinity data, Sripathy showed the high churn rate for all programs (including IL) that follow Antiques Roadshow, which is known to have a butterfly audience. Numbers also showed the significant carriage gains IL enjoyed when moved from Tuesday and Thursday to the current Monday night slot. Curley noted that the affinity data was national and not specific to the New York/WNET market.
In open discussion, Sommers underlined the Indie Caucus’s participation in the Listening Tour stops and emphasized PBS’s stated mission to be the “Home of the Indies.” Fifer noted that IL provides content that has a unique place on PBS schedule and Curley added that ITVS cultivates an ecosystem for independent film to intersect with public media and community engagement. Higgins spoke to press coverage of the Listening Tour and highlighted ITVS’s position as a bridge figure between PBS and filmmakers. Fifer concluded the discussion by noting that PBS aimed to have a decision on the IL timeslot in time for the Annual Meeting in May.
FY14 Year End Report
Fifer gave her overview of FY14. Data showed an increase in IL 1600 carriage and ratings over the previous season, as well as social media gains reflected by a Klout score that revealed the growing influence of the new IL brand. In FY14, 78 programs were funded with 59% of filmmakers being producers of color. Fifer spotlighted the accomplishments of Women and Girls Lead, where big impacts were felt from the classroom (1.5 million educators have access to Women and Girls Lead classroom resources) to Capitol Hill (where a screening of The Invisible War prompted Senators Gillibrand and McCaskill to introduce legislation addressing military sexual assault). In FY14, the OVEE team nearly doubled their signed partner contracts and a development sprint helped make content even more accessible to moderators and viewers with YouTube Live and Google Hangouts integration. Fifer also provided an overview of the staff survey, where 50% of satisfaction answers increased over the previous year.
Looking ahead, ITVS is focused on: heightened strategy on interdependent issues; talent development for constant improvement and innovation; fast, data-driven decision-making; nimble staff who flow in and out of projects; and a culture where opportunities are seized as soon as they emerge.
Reports on Operations
Jim Sommers, Senior Vice President of Content
Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer
Noland Walker, Senior Content Director
Sommers began his report with a Listening Tour Redux. He recapped the rapid planning process for the events, which involved collaboration with PBS, ITVS, IL, POV, WNET, the Indie Caucus, and other partners. Sommers gave topline summaries of the San Francisco and New York Listening Tour stops and showed representative video clips from both events. Aufderheide gave an overview of the unofficial Listening Tour stop in Washington, D.C. Sommers summarized the planned focus for the Chicago stop of the Listening Tour (scheduled for the week after the board meeting).
Vossen presented several films in the IL pipeline, beginning with the sizzle reel used at SXSW to introduce ITVS films at the festival. She introduced and showed clips from three works in progress: After Newtown, Tower, and Oakland Police Project. Walker then gave background on and presented clips from Devil’s Advocate, A Ballerina’s Tale, Limited Partnership, and Kumu Hina.
Robb Moss, Chair
Moss noted the budget projections detailed in the financial reports were accurate. Denny commended Shiro for providing such clear reports for the board to review before each meeting.
Beth Curley, Chair
Curley reported that the Audit Committee convened by phone on March 6, 2015 with Denny, Tam, Shiro, and the auditors. The auditors were complimentary of Tam and Shiro’s work and had no queries.
ACTION: On a motion by Moss, seconded by Maynor Lowery, the FY14 audit was unanimously approved.
Lisa Cortés, Chair
Cortés recapped the Nominating Committee’s search for a new member with skills in new media, content, distribution, and technology. The strongest candidate to emerge from the search was DeVigal, who was asked to join the Board for the March meeting and accepted.
ACTION: On a motion by Cortés, seconded by Tsien, the Nominating Committee’s slate was unanimously approved.
Denny announced that, due to time constraints, New Business and a planned review of ITVS Board policies, procedures, and bylaws would be held until the July board meeting. With that, Denny brought the meeting to a close and the board entered an executive committee session.
The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Secretary