"We don't discount ourselves and think what would happen if she stood up against the original, but against Big Brother or Survival. Will we be able to win this or not"
"When we're looking for dramas, and when creators come to us - the first thing we ask after we think it's good or interesting - is whether it will stand up in the worst-case scenario. We don't make assumptions and think what would happen if it stood up to the original, but to Big Brother or Survivor. Will we succeed in winning this or not. This is a central question for us," explains the director of the drama department of Keshet Karni Ziv, on the eve of the launch of what Channel 12 brands as "the year of dramas", with the launch of a significant number of original series with an investment that seems unprecedented.
These days Ziv is closing a decade as the director of the drama department of Keshet 12, since she was a franchisee on Channel 2, and she is one of the most powerful women on Israeli television.
Before that, she served as the VP of Content for Channel 10 for three years and before that she even managed to serve as the VP of Content for HOT.
Ziv sat down for a conversation on the podcast of the Israel Press Institute.
On the agenda: Asor Bekeshet 12 - Is there really still a place for original series in Hebrew in prime time of commercial television;
How do you deal with the need to bring viewers in real time;
What will the drama funding model look like in the future;
The competition against HOT that is becoming aggressive, and why it supports a clear support for the public broadcasting corporation.
A small part of the conversation is presented here in the article.
Listen or watch the full conversation.
Talk bag with Ziv rays (Walla system!)
"Thinking about how not to lose money from dramas"
"We are looking for - and this is not a rude word for us - materials for the tribal bonfire. We want a family to come and watch our series at 9:15 p.m.
I want to start by closing a circle.
I interviewed you 8 years ago, and you said that "the drama will have to have an evening of broadcasts".
Until the launch of the drama "Third Person" this week, your screen mainly consisted of Ninja Israel and the masked singer.
What did you get stuck on the way?
"I don't think he messed up at all. When I said that, that was the goal. They came and told me - we don't make dramas because we have to, but because it's part of our promise to viewers. But you can't come and say 'drama can't compete with prime time', or 'drama can't work with reality TV,' or 'let's put it in prime two.' Almost like that, the dramas we made were in the center of the frame, some competed excellently, some competed less - but that's the task."
The feeling is that there is a boom in Israeli content,
"I have no doubt about it, the viewers are thirsty to come and see dramas. This is our assumption. Then there is the question of the economic model and competition. And when I say competition, I mean not only Lace, HOT and the corporation - but also Facebook, YouTube and Tiktok. Tough. Practical
, How do you cope?
"I will divide this into two parts.
First, the story.
In this context, the hard work is in finding the materials, then writing and producing them.
And we are looking for - and this is not a rude word for us - materials for the tribal bonfire.
We want a family to come and watch our series at 21:15.
Maybe not children, but in our series we insist that they be broad and Israeli, with an Israeli core of experience.
There are many very good series that we watch on Netflix or Hulu or Disney, and this need is not met."
What is this need, do you need me?
"I believe that my ability as a viewer comes from familiarity with what is happening on the screen, with the story and with the characters. It comes from a shared experience. That's why when you make a story like Iron Dome, or flying heroes or doubles. I think this is the initial connection, by the way, I think more than any reality show.
"We try to look for stories that will create the discourse of tomorrow.
Contrary to the perception that everything today is already in fragments, I think there is still such a thing called discourse, and when there is a new series we feel the discourse.
When heroes or Miller Junction or the boys come up, you feel it.
That's the goal and that's what we're looking for.
"On the financial side, we are a body that needs to think about how we don't lose money from dramas. I think we have learned to make dramas as the cliché says, 'weigh in the appearance of a shekel and a half.' In writing the script, much more than the average abroad. Third person was written for example for 5 years. It started as something specific, and turned into something completely different."
"You can't cheat on this."
From the series "Third Person" (Photo: screenshot, Keshet 12)
"In the end we gamble"
"You can't cheat in this matter. You have to feel the voice of a creator. And a creator can't tell a story if he thinks about what will sell to Netalpakis. And you see it many times. Creators who come with a product that seems to be interested in going abroad"
Give me an example of a losing drama.
"When we choose a drama and work on it, we try to see if it will meet three parameters. The first - it must win the ratings of the Israel TV, with all the difficulty in the breaks. I really hope that a third party will hold a dialogue between episodes. There are quite a few series that have series to think about , which is quite pleasant and builds discourse. The second parameter is whether there is a chance that this tape will be sold abroad.
The third is whether there is a chance that the format will also be sold."
that adaptations will be made to it.
As in the case of being with her, heroes, peppers and doubles."
And if it doesn't happen?
"It really doesn't always happen.
We end up gambling.
And sometimes we make decisions that we say we are not sure we have a tape or format, and still go for it.
Assume an iron dome.
We were able to sell it as a tape, not many places.
And we knew it.
We take that into account in advance."
"You can't cheat in this matter. You have to feel the voice of a creator. And a creator can't tell a story if he thinks about what will sell to Netalpakis. And many times you see it. Creators who come with a product that seems to be interested in going abroad.
It's less interesting to me at this point.
What is important to us is first of all that the Israeli audience will watch at 21:15 and get an experience that connects them.
Then we'll see if there's a narrative core that we can go forward with.
When it succeeds here, and abroad they see the tape, then they recognize the truth and look for their own truth in it."
Tell me, is there still an international appeal for Israeli stories about the army, Shin Bet, etc.?
"We're trying to expand the range. True, there will be the policemen 2, but there will also be a third person, and there will be a series about a doctor with cancer, and a series about the military prosecutor's office. We want to say that the Israeli experience is much broader."
"Drama has become very expensive in recent years."
From the series "Being with her" (Photo: Keshet 12)
Looking for financial solutions
So how do you deal with the financial risk?
What is your financing model for producing an Israeli drama?
"We have excellent creators who know how to write excellent dramas. The limitations are that you don't have ten million dollars to film an episode in 20 days every day. It is precisely this that creates a real hunger and produces a story - and it is what keeps us going. Drama has become very expensive in recent years. Inflation and agreements With some of the unions they also contributed to the increase in price. And it makes sense, some of the creators have seen the world and don't want to work with Israeli standards anymore - and we want to compete. All these things are very expensive. Fortunately, we have a distribution company that is ours (KI) so they are inevitably the first client after the board And we also have an investment fund that invests and takes risks.
"In addition, thanks to our commercial department, we hope to reach a model where a large part of our dramas will be broadcast almost without breaks. This is crazy news. It is clear to us that a drama is more difficult to watch with breaks, and we know that there are viewers who will say 'I don't have to today'. Therefore, the commercial department is trying to find Solutions for this. I very much hope that they will be able to bring in an advertiser that understands that it is a super-brand, that understands the strength of a good drama, and will sponsor the season. That will say, 'This series is mine, and I want to become a part of it'. We are looking for collaborations with bodies in Israel and abroad." To.
The world is going to collaborations and co-productions.
"You have to understand, nowadays a large part of the bodies are looking for collaborations before they go into production. Bequest, in 85% of the cases when we decide that we are going into production, we are the financiers, and we are looking for partners. But we take it upon ourselves."
And yet, I don't think anyone really measures you in terms of viewing reality.
"Obviously it's not at the bar of the reality show, but we don't make life easy. It's not like if we do 10% we'll be told it's good. We want to see viewership and we have very challenging goals."
Comedies get less PR. Adir Miller (Photo: screenshot, Keshet 12)
A viewing tradition - none, and "it saddens us every time"
"These claims are just nonsense. They are not based on any facts. Let them pass and look like new creators are writing series, some directors are coming in, some production companies, some voices from different sectors. Not only with us, but also with the corporation and with others. Therefore, it's just mere statements"
The past two years have been a drought in terms of commercial broadcast drama.
"Look, we mostly did comedies and because they were on Friday night and because comedies always get less media - I understand the feeling. Yes, some of the scripts were more difficult to write under these conditions. There are also scripts that we literally threw in the trash, and started over."
As market leaders, why don't you try to create a tradition of regular viewing seasons here?
"You're right and it makes us sad every time, and we try to improve on it and we don't always succeed. We sometimes decide on another season during the broadcast, and get going, but then we write something, and we're not satisfied, and we write again.
This is what happened in the third season of being with her.
The season's broadcast schedule has also been decided on the cops. We are standing in line for writers because there aren't many, many good ones. When a series is very successful for us here, we try very quickly to give the green light for another season, and try to make sure the gap is no bigger than two years."
You expressed overwhelming support for the Broadcasting Corporation against Shlomo Karai's plans to privatize their drama department.
Why, in fact, you too were able to go to tenders in the government fund he wanted to establish.
"The word is governmental. Each body should make its own content and dramas, free from tenders on behalf of."
The Ministry of Communications says that the screen is not diverse enough.
"These claims are just nonsense. They are not based on any facts. Let them pass and look like new creators are writing series, some directors are coming in, some production companies, some voices from different sectors. Not only with us, but also with the corporation and with others. Therefore, it's just mere statements" .
to be with her
The policemen - series