ITVS BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
San Francisco, CA
November 14, 2015
Board Present: Garry Denny, Pat Aufderheide, Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Beth Curley, Andrew DeVigal, Tracy Fullerton, Ian Inaba, and Bathsheba Malsheen
Board Absent: Lisa Cortés, Malinda Maynor Lowery, Robb Moss, Jean Tsien, and Margaret Wilkerson
Staff Present: Sally Fifer, Pamm Higgins, Jim Sommers, Judy Tam, Shaady Salehi, Michael Shiro, Lisa Tawil, Noland Walker, Jennifer Samani, and Kirk Vader
A meeting of the ITVS Board of Directors was called to order by Chair Garry Denny at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California.
Denny greeted the board and welcomed them to San Francisco.
Approval of Minutes
ACTION: Bullock-Bailey introduced the minutes and, on a motion by Aufderheide, seconded by Denny, the minutes of the July 25, 2015 board meeting were unanimously approved.
Fifer announced that ITVS films won three News & Documentary Emmys (The Trials of Muhammad Ali, When I Walk, and Medora) and that five ITVS films would be featured at TCA. She reviewed the continuing work on Independent Lens Digital Partnerships and TED Talks Live. It was confirmed that OVEE would be used as an engagement platform for the TED Talks broadcasts.
Special Report on Office Space
Fifer presented the board with an update on the search for the next ITVS office. She reaffirmed that ITVS will stay in San Francisco given the preponderance of staff living in the city and the proximity to tech and media partners.
Fifer recapped the many site tours conducted and LOIs submitted and revealed the current frontrunner for ITVS’s new home: 1435 Folsom St. This location is a light industrial warehouse space that is affordable and allows for tenant improvements on top of the landlord’s core tenant improvements. Tam started negotiations to secure a 10-year lease with a 10-year renewal option and she is working with Trans Pacific National Bank to secure the loan for this space. At the request of the 1435 Folsom landlord, ITVS would work to design the space with D-Scheme, the architectural firm already at work on the building, and Champion Construction.
In reply to a question from Inaba, Tam and Shiro summarized the total costs of the lease, as well as the interest and principal on the loan for tenant improvements. Tam and Shiro stated that it was necessary to finance the deal with a bank loan. CPB will cover the lease, as well as the loan payments and other space costs annually. The projected loan payments and lease amounts are included in the budget for the Board to approve.
Fifer closed with an overview of the potential timeline for a move to the 1435 Folsom location in 2016.
Finance: Special Guest Presentation
Andrew Rand, Managing Director, Rand & Associates
Rand gave an overview of the worldwide economic climate at the end of 2015. He noted that global populations and economies continue to grow despite the ripple effects from the recent dip in China’s economy. In the U.S., he pointed to falling jobless rates, low interest rates, and sinking gas prices as positive signs for the national economy. Fifer asked when Rand anticipated a correction to the local real estate boom; he replied that global demand will prop the market up but, as interest rates rise, the market will settle.
FY16 Annual Work Plan
Fifer gave an overview of the organization-wide FY16 Annual Work Plan. In 2016, there will be a focus on strengthening digital opportunities to expand independents’ access to traditional and new distribution platforms and audiences; leading the public media field in promoting diversity in programming and the producer pool; and maximizing brand equity among key stakeholders. Organizational development will focus on creating leveraged outcomes, strategic priorities, smart and integrated tactics, as well as generating clarity on organization-wide goals.
Denny asked about ITVS’s discovery process for new distribution streams for content and Sommers responded that the organization has explored simulcasts to best position ITVS’s short- and longform films. Fullerton suggested that ITVS might develop an app that allows viewers to access content on multiple platforms (e.g. Apple TV, Roku, etc.).
ACTION: On a motion by Aufderheide, seconded by Bullock-Bailey, the FY16 Annual Work Plan was unanimously approved.
Reports on Operations
Jim Sommers, Senior Vice President of Content
Pamm Higgins, Vice President
Lisa Tawil, Director of Marketing, Publicity, and Creative Services
Shaady Salehi, Managing Director of Distribution and Audience Development
Noland Walker, Senior Content Director
Sommers introduced Tawil, who gave an overview of ITVS’s refreshed communications strategy. She explained that, in ITVS’s 25th year, the organization will strive for four topline goals: attract new and diverse filmmakers; align the ITVS story in earned media; claim ITVS’s position in fueling diversity; and increase ITVS awareness and brand recognition. ITVS has contracted with the communications firm SKDKnickerbocker to develop a unified press kit for ITVS, increase press outreach, strengthen event and festival press, design a new website, and increase focus on social media strands. Aufderheide asked how ITVS would measure the success of the campaign and Tawil replied that relevant statistics will include: media mentions; social media growth; speaking engagements for ITVS staff; and increased stakeholder awareness.
Salehi presented on the new IL brand Indie Lens Pop-Up, a refresh of Community Cinema. She stated the goal for the updated strand is to broaden the reach of Independent Lens content across platforms and creatively build brand loyalty amongst new and diverse audiences. Market research, input from stations, and frequent collaboration with the MarComm team helped refine Indie Lens Pop-Up model. In reply to a question by Curley, Salehi stated that Indie Lens Pop-Up is currently in 75 markets but planned expansion may include station events at smaller venues like cafes. Aufderheide asked how ITVS will receive feedback on Indie Lens Pop-Up and Salehi replied that her team will work with an eight-station advisory committee and gather audience assessments via pre- and post-event surveys.
Walker presented a selection from the IL pipeline. He introduced and showed clips from six upcoming films: (T)error, India’s Daughter, In Football We Trust, Autism in Love, Wilhemina’s War, and Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
Audit Committee Report
Beth Curley, Chair
The annual audit will begin in mid-December. An update on this will take place at the first board meeting of 2016, with a final audit report to be presented for approval.
Finance Committee Report
Shiro stated that FY15 actuals were in line with the budget with only minor differences that will be reflected in the final FY15 reporting. In committee chair Moss’s absence, member Denny reported out on the FY16 budget, which was reviewed on a committee call the previous week.
ACTION: On a motion by Malsheen, seconded by Curley, the FY16 budget was unanimously approved.
Nominating Committee Report
In committee chair Cortés’s absence, member Denny provided a Nominating Committee update. Committee discussions will continue in January to review succession planning and board make-up.
With no new business, Denny proposed that the meeting be brought to a close.
The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Secretary