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104: A Conversation With host Floyd Marshall Jr. – EPS 104 – The Impact of Tubi’s Changing Landscape on Black Filmmakers: What You Need to Know

Tubi, a popular streaming platform, has undergone significant changes in recent years, which have raised concerns about the impact on black filmmakers. In a podcast interview, industry experts discussed the evolving landscape of Tubi and how it might affect content creators of color. The panelists included Omega Keys, Tawan Bazemore, Hillard Guess, and Tiffany Yancy, who provided valuable insights and advice for black filmmakers navigating these changes.

The Growth and Transformation of Tubi:

Tubi was founded in 2019 and has since amassed close to 70 million subscribers. It became a haven for black talent, offering a platform for filmmakers who struggled to find a home elsewhere. However, as Tubi grows, it is changing its content offerings and partnerships. The panelists discussed the recent partnerships Tubi has entered into, including those with Warner Brothers Discovery, the NBA G League, Universal Media Group, and Vice, among others. These partnerships indicate a shift towards curated and exclusive content, similar to what happened with Netflix and Amazon in the past.

Lessons from Amazon's Transformation:

The panelists drew insights from Amazon's transformation, where the platform initially allowed anything and everything. However, as the platform evolved, it became more selective about the content it showcased. Omega Keys, who experienced Amazon's changes, emphasized the importance of improving the quality of films. Filmmakers were urged to enhance sound, lighting, and visuals to meet higher standards. Despite limited budgets, it was essential for black filmmakers to work within their means and produce higher-quality films to stay relevant on Tubi.

The Cycle of Representation:

Hillard Guess highlighted the cyclical nature of representation in the entertainment industry. After the viral response to the "Dear Hollywood" letter following George Floyd's murder, there was a surge in interest and support for black filmmakers. However, Guess warned that this attention might eventually fade, and the industry would return to its previous state. The panelists emphasized the need for black filmmakers to be aware of these cycles and continue pushing for sustained representation and opportunities.

Staying Ahead of the Fray:

To ensure their content remains relevant and accessible on Tubi, black filmmakers were advised to stay proactive. The panelists stressed the importance of continuously improving the quality of their work, adapting to evolving industry standards, and being mindful of shifts in the platform's content preferences. They encouraged black filmmakers to strive for excellence in all aspects of filmmaking, including writing, directing, editing, and post-production. By consistently delivering high-quality films, filmmakers of color can increase their chances of longevity on Tubi.

As Tubi undergoes changes and forms partnerships with major industry players, black filmmakers must adapt and stay ahead of the evolving landscape. By focusing on the quality of their work and embracing opportunities for growth and improvement, these filmmakers can continue making an impact on the platform. While the entertainment industry's commitment to diversity and inclusion may wax and wane, the panelists highlighted the importance of perseverance and the continuous pursuit of excellence in order to succeed in the ever-changing world of streaming platforms like Tubi.

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