ITVS BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
San Francisco, CA
July 25, 2015
Board Present: Garry Denny, Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Beth Curley, Lisa Cortés, Andrew DeVigal, Tracy Fullerton, Bathsheba Malsheen, Malinda Maynor Lowery, Jean Tsien, and Margaret Wilkerson
Board Absent: Pat Aufderheide, Ian Inaba, and Robb Moss
Staff Present: Sally Fifer, Judy Tam, Pamm Higgins, Jim Sommers, Karim Ahmad, Erica Deiparine-Sugars, N’Jeri Eaton, Jen Kaczor, Shaady Salehi, Michael Shiro, Steve Talbot, Lisa Tawil, Jennifer Samani, and Kirk Vader
A meeting of the ITVS Board of Directors was called to order by Chair Garry Denny at 9:48 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California.
Denny welcomed the board and thanked them for attending the staff mixer the day before. He complimented ITVS on the recently announced Emmy nominations for Independent Lens.
Approval of Minutes
ACTION: On a motion by Malsheen, seconded by Wilkerson, the minutes of the March 21, 2015 Board Meeting were unanimously approved.
Fifer began with a review of the agreement with PBS and WNET around the 2015-16 positioning for POV and Independent Lens, which will include planned promotion across social media channels, the relaunch of pbs.org/indiefilms, “Indie Film” playlists on its over-the-top channels, and combined theatrical and broadcast distribution for certain films (e.g. Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers). She previewed the Reports on Operations presentation on IL Digital Partnerships with exciting partners like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and more. Finally, she announced the completed agreements with CPB and TED Talks to co-produce three one-hour programs combining recorded TED events with diverse, independent short films.
Cortés asked about ITVS’s efforts to streamline the contracting process for filmmakers. Tam responded that Business Affairs is constantly working to streamline the process but rights and clearances become complicated due to proliferating partner demands and the bespoke contracts they require. Tam said that the Managing Director of BA, Isaac Hager, could present on the topic at a future board meeting. Higgins clarified that the recently completed OVEE deal with Media Impact Funders is for a consulting package for services rendered for screening events.
Special Report on Office Space
Fifer presented the board with an update on the search for the ITVS office. ITVS requires a new office space because Pinterest is moving into the current building at close to double the rent ITVS is currently paying. ITVS decided to stay in San Francisco given the preponderance of staff living in SF and proximity to tech and media partners.
Fifer summarized the many site tours conducted, LOIs submitted (and rejected), and the current pick as the most desirable space: 435 Brannan St. ITVS had already begun working with an architect to help plan for the square footage in this new space while waiting for the SF Planning Commission to accept ITVS’s application to lease the recommended space. Fifer presented financing options for a short-term lease vs. long-term lease. Tam noted that ITVS will need to invest in tenant improvements for any new space, but in the case with the 435 Brannan, ITVS will have more opportunity to customize the building.
Sommers and Higgins reviewed the ITVS space decision matrix that led to the recommendation of the 435 Brannan location. Discussion ensued with the board on how the space can best function for communication flows and needed technology upgrades. Tam and Shiro summarized some funding options for the project and discussed the probable construction costs. Denny asked what selling points might be included in a campaign pitch and Fifer replied that the organization would highlight the upcoming 25th anniversary and the continuing importance of public media from diverse voices. DeVigal, Wilkerson, and Fullerton discussed ways in which the new office space could be used to engage the public and enhance ITVS’s presence in the San Francisco arts community. Fifer gave an overview of the potential timeline for a move to the 435 Brannan location in 2016.
Sommers presented work samples from TEF Architects, the firm that agreed to consult with ITVS on space design.
Reports on Operations Part I
Pamm Higgins, Vice President
Jim Sommers, Senior Vice President of Content
Shaady Salehi, Managing Director of Distribution and Audience Development
Jen Kaczor, Director of Interactive
Higgins began by introducing ITVS’s new Managing Director of Distribution and Audience Development, Shaady Salehi. Salehi discussed ITVS’s multi-platform strategy to inform audience development. She has been centralizing station relation communications to allow stations to coordinate and plan for ITVS films more than three months in advance. She will also focus on the integration of OVEE as a partnership strategy with stations and other entities in the media landscape. In reply to Denny’s suggestion that ITVS think about station relations as station collaborations, Salehi replied that ITVS is collaborating with PBS’s station relations team to support the theatrical release of Black Panthers and that major town hall events will happen around the premieres of Armor of Light and Peace Officer.
Higgins introduced Kaczor, who gave an overview of the Workfront task management tool. Kaczor reviewed the problem set that led to selecting the enterprise project management system and showed the board basic Workfront project functionality and different reports that have been created for organization-wide task tracking. Prompted by Fifer, Kaczor elaborated on the transparency within Workfront and how the clarity of tasks and assignments supports staff communication. Salehi noted that Workfront milestone completion helps trigger meetings for different teams across departments.
Reports on Operations Part II
Jim Sommers, Senior Vice President of Content
Karim Ahmad, Senior Digital Content Strategist
Steve Talbot, Producer
Lisa Tawil, Director of Marketing, Publicity & Creative Services
Erica Deiparine-Sugars, Managing Director of Programming & Production
N’Jeri Eaton, Content Development & Initiatives Manager
Sommers outlined ITVS’s digital content strategy over time, from Electric Shadows to P360 to Futurestates. He introduced Ahmad and Talbot who presented on IL Digital Partnerships.
Before delving into these partnerships, Ahmad described two digital series currently in production: All the Single Ladies and The Real Housewives of Karachi. Talbot spoke to the relationships being developed with and content desired by each of the current IL Digital Partners: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Upworthy. He also described ITVS’s current cultivation of The Los Angeles Times as a partner. Selected clips that had been delivered to partners were shown, including Limited Partnership and After the Storm. Ahmad outlined other digital strategies in development: the IL YouTube relaunch, IL digital sister series/exclusives, and ITVS Presents.
Tawil presented on ITVS’s short form promotional strategy. She described the importance of video to brands and shared the marketing strategy for a series of film shorts to support Little White Lie called “I Identify.” This project exemplifies ITVS’s focus on using available resources to generate media that connects people with topics and helps create understanding. Moving forward, the Audience Development team’s goal is to create shortform videos that are high-quality, challenging, and prepare viewers for bigger discussions.
Deiparine-Sugars and Eaton described the Open Call & SSP Slate as well as the current Open Call 2015 Round 1 process. Of the six projects funded in this round, 67% were diverse, with a 50% diversity rate among the applicants/co-applicants. Deiparine-Sugars and Eaton presented filmmaker background for and showed clips from: Facing the Dragon, Farewell Ferris Wheel, We Breathe Again, CARE, The Guardians, and ACORN and the Firestorm.
On behalf of Moss, who was absent, Cortés summarized the financial report as prepared by Shiro. A Rand & Associates consultant served the Finance Committee with a report on the ITVS portfolio and the state of the economy in the AM Finance Committee session. Shiro noted that, by the end of the calendar year, and once the late invoices have been accounted for, the fiscal year’s books were closed. Cortés expressed thanks for the narrative provided by Shiro in the reports.
Denny excused the staff and the Board went into Executive Session. Malsheen, as Human Resources Committee Chair, reported during the session.
Executive Committee Session
Human Resources Committee
The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.