Disney+ Canada Head Jason Badal Is Searching for the Next “Fleabag” as the Streaming Service
Disney+ is getting ready to greenlight original Canadian content, and Disney+ Canada boss Jason Badal is on the hunt for the next “Fleabag.” Yet, those hoping to place shows with Disney’s northern division might not be giving the streamer what it wants when they craft their proposals.
Jason Badal Twitter/jbadal© Jbadal Twitter
Former Shopify e-commerce director turned VP and GM of Disney+ in Canada Jason Badal spoke at a spotlight Session at content Canada about the company’s push into general entertainment content less than a year after he took the helm. He spilled the beans that Disney is hoping to expand Disney+’s Star segment significantly.
All of our content aimed at attracting new viewers may be found there, he said. “It’s great to hear that parents of older or younger children enjoy our product,” I’ve said. “but even on a one-to-one basis, I try to remind them that there’s older-skewing general entertainment stuff.”
Currently, he is tasked for not just expanding Disney+’s addressable market by sourcing new content, but also educating consumers about the material available in that specific sector of Disney+. The current Star box content includes shows from networks including FX, Hulu, and Fox. Some of it debuts simultaneously with U.S. networks, while other titles may be delayed pending national acquisition arrangements.
When asked which existing project he wished he’d worked on, Badal quickly selected “Fleabag,” a series he claimed viewers wouldn’t necessarily expect to see on Disney+.
Because “there’s a notion of what we are and then there’s the reality if you’re [looking at our stuff],” he said, “that’s exactly why I’d want it.” We need people to recognise that we actually have a lot of adult-skewing intriguing content. We think it’s crucial that Disney+ has shows that appeal to those who might not normally watch the service, and shows like “Fleabag” do just that.
The hiring of Stephanie Azam, formerly of Telefilm, as Disney+’s first head of content last month was a major move in the direction of actualizing Canadian content. Azam was a part of the Content Canada meeting’s audience. She concurred with Badal’s judgement that the corporation is looking for longer-form material rather than limited series and that it currently prefers series to films. She said that further details would be made accessible to the creative community very soon.
“We want to be able to communicate in a straightforward and effective manner,” she said from her perch. Although Jason has done a fantastic job, “very soon we will be able to explain very explicitly” the type of content we want pitched.
Badal also said that while Disney+ has large research teams compiling data to deliver up relevant material to users, he thinks a human layer is still important to identify the next success.
He stated, “Data and insights have their importance, but so do creative intuition.” Years of experience in a field cultivate a person’s innate creative ability. In the end, we’ll make decisions about our procedure on the basis of our own creativity, but we’ll do it with plenty of evidence to back us up.
However, the executives were less forthcoming about finances and spending plans.
We haven’t figured it out yet from a financial standpoint. Badal has remarked, “We’re still in the beginning stages of investing heavily in each series or feature. “And the financing model for it is absolutely unclear at this moment,” the speaker says, “because as you’re all aware, there’s certain regulatory changes that may be on the horizon that’ll probably effect finance in some way.”
Badal was referring to the Senate’s current consideration of Bill C-11, often known as the Online Streaming Act. Many streaming services, perhaps anticipating a requirement to give preference to Canadian material under the new law, appear to be expanding their Canadian content teams.
If passed, the measure would make it mandatory for online streaming services to contribute to the financial support of Canadian artists, similar to the way that conventional broadcasters in the country contribute to the financial support of Canadian artists. For their part, streamers may be eligible for financial aid and tax deductions.
Walt Disney’s vice president of worldwide public policy, David Fares, recently called for a revised definition of “Canadian content.” One example he gave was the recent film “Turning Red,” which he said met the criteria for Canadian content because it was set in Toronto and starred Canadian Sandra Oh in the role of a Chinese immigrant.
He also mentioned that during the past five years, the corporation had invested almost $3 billion in the Canadian economy. On September 15th, Fares testified before the Senate on his company’s plans to invest more in Canada and how a more accommodating regulatory framework would help them get the most out of their money.