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ACMI, Film Victoria and Media Mentors present

What Streamers Want


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Thu 3 Dec 2020


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What do Streamers want for their platforms? And how you can get your ideas to their screens?

Video on Demand and streaming platforms are growing day by day – most households subscribe to at least one, often several. This month we are joined by the movers and shakers within the Australian streaming landscape to give you a look behind the scenes.

Guests for the last Running Free Live for 2020 include Brian Walsh, Foxtel Executive Director of Television (responsible for all original commissioned content); Tyler Bern, Head of Content, Prime Amazon (live from LA); Darren Chau, Head of Production and Channels, Discovery; Ben Naparstek, Head of Content, Audible Australia; Samantha Laidlaw, Founder/CEO Femflix (SVOD subscription service for content created by women).

Hosted by Denise Eriksen, Media Mentors Australia.


Ben Naparstek, Head of Content, Audible

Ben Naparstek is the Head of Content for the Australian arm of Audible, the world’s leading provider and producer of audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. Previously Ben headed up Online at SBS and served as digital director for communications marketing firm Edelman, leading the Australian office’s team of digital media experts. Ben has served as editor-in-chief of Good Weekend magazine, and national current affairs magazine The Monthly. He is also a Non-Executive Director of CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group.

Brian Walsh, Executive Director of Content, Foxtel

Brian began his career in television, initially with Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC, as a Specialist Trainee. From there, Brian went into feature film production and distribution, at David Elfick’s Palm Beach Pictures, where projects included Newsfront (1978). Following a five year tenure at Radio 2SM, Brian joined Network TEN, as its National Director of Publicity & Promotions. Brian was credited with responsibility for the nationwide success of Australian family drama series Neighbours where he launched the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce. In 1990, Brian founded his own consultancy, The Promotions Department Pty Limited, a company that grew to become one of Australia's leading publicity and promotions companies, specialising in media, entertainment, sports and event management. Brian began his career with Foxtel in 1995 and was a key member of the management team to launch Australia’s foremost subscription, cable and satellite television company. In his capacity as a senior consultancy role with Foxtel, Brian oversaw the launch of the platform, programme acquisitions, the creation of the entertainment channels and the promotions and marketing of the Foxtel brand. Twenty five years on, Brian now holds a senior executive position with the company as the Executive Director of Television and is responsible for the company’s original commissioned content including drama, entertainment, lifestyle, factual and international formats. Under Brian’s tenure, Foxtel has produced and commissioned many award winning television series, including, Wentworth, Love My Way, The Kettering Incident, A Place To Call Home, and Gogglebox.

Darren Chau, Director of Content, Production & Channels, Factual, Discovery

Darren Chau is the Director of Content, Production & Channels, Factual, for Discovery across Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. He heads up Discovery’s Factual content strategy and suite of Factual Entertainment channels including co-creating and launching the free to air channel 9Rush as part of a joint venture with the Nine Network. Darren develops and commissions Discovery’s local productions in the region and is Executive Producer of global hits including Aussie Gold Hunters and Outback Opal Hunters. Darren has a successful and award-winning background working extensively in production, programming, scheduling, marketing, promotion and digital across entertainment, scripted, comedy, factual and late night television for both free-to-air and subscription television, including five years serving as a Group Programming Director and Executive Producer for Foxtel’s entertainment channels.

Samantha Laidlaw, Founder/CEO, Femflix

Samantha is the Founder of Femflix, an SVOD subscription service dedicated to bringing audiences the very best content created by women, enjoyed by the world. The service is focused on ensuring fair, transparent & accelerated revenue streams for rights holders while aligning with UN Women’s goal to achieve economic empowerment by closing the gender pay gap. Samantha has worked as an Funding Agency Executive, Producer, Creative Executive, and in physical production in the Australian and North American film and television industry. While working in North America, Samantha produced a feature documentary Built to Fail documenting the history of streetwear in America which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. She has produced multiple short films including The Boggabilla Bus winning festival awards and securing international distribution through Flickerfest, most recently being screened throughout ASEON (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) within a program initiated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Tyler Bern, Head of Content, Prime Video Australia and NZ

Tyler Bern is Head of Content for Prime Video Australia and New Zealand. He has been at Amazon for 4+ years in this role for 2 years and oversees Amazon’s content strategy for Prime Video in ANZ. Prior to Amazon, Tyler was working in Dish Network’s Programming group across a number of verticals including sports and premium content. Tyler has a MBA from Northwestern University and is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Whilst at Amazon Prime Video, Tyler has been instrumental in commissioning six Amazon Original programs in Australia, including The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team, a series of 10 stand-up comedy specials by some of Australia’s best comedians, LOL: Last One Laughing AU with Rebel Wilson, the upcoming Back to The Rafters, an untitled AFL docu-series project, and a glitzy, Sydney-based real estate show.


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