ITVS BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
San Francisco, CA
March 26, 2016
Board Present: Garry Denny, Pat Aufderheide, Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Beth Curley, Tracy Fullerton, Bathsheba Malsheen, Jean Tsien, and Margaret Wilkerson
Board Absent: Lisa Cortés, Andrew DeVigal, Ian Inaba, Malinda Maynor Lowery, and Robb Moss
Staff Present: Sally Fifer, Pamm Higgins, Jim Sommers, Judy Tam, N’Jeri Eaton, 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, March 26, 2016 at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California.
Denny welcomed the Board and explained that Isaac Hager’s planned contracts presentation would be delayed until the July meeting. In place of a Nominating Committee report, he confirmed that the terms of Cortés and Maynor Lowery had been renewed for additional three-year terms via email ballot.
Approval of Minutes
ACTION: On a motion by Curley, seconded by Tsien, the Minutes of the November 14, 2015 board meeting were unanimously approved.
Fifer began her President’s Report with topline highlights from the past months. Independent Lens received the Best Continuing Series Award at IDA for the third year in a row (shared this time with POV) and was also recognized for excellence at the Sundance and SXSW festivals. Women and Girls Lead Global presented at Ford Foundation in efforts of securing funding to extend the project for an additional 18 months. Fifer previewed the upcoming TED Talks program on Science & Wonder in March and reported that IL website users increased markedly over last quarter. Series ratings were likewise trending toward an increase over the previous year. Additional IL digital partnerships are being pursued, supported primarily by the MacArthur Foundation. Fifer summarized the expected funding level from CPB over the next three years. Internally, she reported that 80% of ITVS is using Workfront for task management and progress is being made to automate some HR processes through ITVS’s vendor Paylocity. She clarified that the bespoke Paylocity system will not replace in-person HR conversations and that the performance management process will not be done via an online portal for this review cycle.
FY15 Year End Report
Fifer gave her overview of FY15. She recapped the full timeline and thought processes that went into settling on ITVS’s new space. She then shifted to metrics reporting from FY15: 66 programs were funded, with 78% of filmmakers being producers of color, and Independent Lens carriage in the top 50 markets increased over the previous year. Fifer spotlighted IL Digital Partnerships, where 40 shortform videos premiered with six partners, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, and Upworthy, with higher engagement rates for IL content than average on those sites. Social media impressions increased fourfold over FY14, with a total of 34.6 million impressions across platforms. This growing influence contributed to a robust Klout score of 80 for Independent Lens. OVEE contracts and partnerships continued to increase thanks in part to the coaching programs put in place for stations adopting OVEE. Board members and the E-Team discussed best strategies on how to assist public TV stations in continuing to produce OVEE screenings. In reply to a question from Curley, Higgins confirmed that the number of stations using the Indie Lens Pop-Up platform has remained steady, with increased usage expected in the future as stations have more flexibility in the quantity and type of screenings they host.
Fifer reviewed the change management strategies that worked to improve communications flows in 2015, and then provided an overview of the staff survey. Looking ahead, ITVS is focused on: heightened strategy in a fast-changing mediascape; talent development for constant improvement and innovation; fast, data-driven decision-making; nimble staff who flow in and out of projects; and developing a culture where opportunities are seized as soon as they emerge.
Special Report on Office Space
Fifer provided an update on ITVS’s move from the current offices to the new space at 1435 Folsom. She reviewed the E-Team-lead relocation teams: budget oversight; layout, design, and furnishing; construction; technology and equipment; and space, policies, and practices. She showed architectural renderings of the warehouse space transformed into a sleek open office environment.
Fifer then walked the Board through the timeline to have ITVS moved into the new space by early July 2016. Next, Sommers reviewed the top 12 policies and procedures priorities for the new space—from acoustics to workstations—with leadership emphasizing how to support change management, how the new space can inform ITVS culture, and how to cohere senior leadership around decisions. In reply to a question by Bullock-Bailey, Sommers confirmed that the new location will be a good spot for open collaboration with filmmakers.
Tam explained the key deal factors for the new space and Shiro outlined that the total operating costs at 1435 Folsom will be higher than, but within striking distance of, current costs at 651 Brannan, due to the decrease in square footage.
Reports on Operations
Jim Sommers, Senior Vice President of Content
Pamm Higgins, Vice President
Lisa Tawil, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications
N’Jeri Eaton, Content Development and Initiatives Manager
Noland Walker, Senior Content Director
Higgins introduced Tawil, who presented first on the ITVS institutional communications strategy. After receiving a communications strategy audit by SKDKnickerbocker, ITVS will focus on seizing opportunities where mission meets moments. Leadership has received press training and the next phase will focus on enhancing ITVS awareness in the Bay Area, leveraging the 25th anniversary story in the press, building journalistic partnerships, and increasing film screenings for key influencers.
Tawil then unveiled the ITVS brand and visual refresh, including the reveal of the new ITVS logo (to coincide with 25th anniversary celebrations in summer and fall 2016). She gave an overview of the ITVS brand house and emphasized the logo was selected with durability, legibility, and flexibility in mind. Discussion ensued with board members about the shape, colors, and potency of the revamped logo.
Tawil concluded by presenting a case study of the successful marketing around The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution. She explained that ITVS worked with PBS and Firelight Media on a campaign to connect then to now, making the Black Panthers relevant to audiences today. An impressive array of collateral created by the ITVS design team, combined with marketing efforts from PBS and Independent Lens helped make The Black Panthers ITVS’s the highest-rated program—and most successful social media program—in history.
Eaton and Walker gave an overview of the application process for DDF and Open Call funding this cycle. There was a 50% increase in DDF applicants and a 29% increase in Open Call applicants. Eaton and Walker then introduced and showed clips from seven newly-funded films from these two pipelines: When Claude Got Shot, Untitled Shahin Najafi Project, Always in Season, Quest: The Fury and the Sound, Untitled Jeffrey Peixoto Documentary, Remember My Name, and Survivors.
Beth Curley, Chair
Curley reported that the Audit Committee convened by phone on March 10, 2016. The audit was clean, with no findings whatsoever.
ACTION: On a motion by Curley, seconded by Wilkerson, the FY16 audit was unanimously approved.
Denny reported on behalf of chair Moss regarding the financial reports. He noted that the budget projections detailed in the financial reports were accurate. Shiro provided background on small fluctuations in revenue and expenses, including a reduction in production licensing costs and uptick in funding for special projects.
Denny announced that the meeting would conclude to allow time for the board to travel to and tour ITVS’s new space at 1435 Folsom. The board entered an executive committee session for an HR Committee report.
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Secretary