Business has irrevocably changed since COVID-19 swept the globe. In the kids industry, one of the biggest fallouts has been the shift away from in-person market gatherings, where deals get signed, programs get greenlit, and peers connect and catch up. Kidscreen checks in with execs at some kids production and distribution companies to see what they’ve been up to in this unprecedented time.
Today, we’re touching base with Mevelyn Noriega, president of distribution at Splash Entertainment. Catch up on the series so far here.
Kidscreen: What do you most miss about doing business before COVID-19?
MN: I miss the physical aspect of our business—whether it’s traveling abroad to markets, visiting clients at their home offices, or something as simple as my daily walk to our corner Starbucks with [Splash co-founder] Mike Young. The dynamics of “in-person” meetings are irreplaceable. I really miss Friday, [when we had] donuts, muffins and bagels delivered. Whether you were eating or not was irrelevant—it was the highlight of the week, and always a gathering where the staff chatted and met as a unit.
KS: What has been your primary focus since you went into lockdown?
MN: First and foremost, it has been key for us to maintain a constant rapport with our staff and clients/partners worldwide. Ensuring that our partners know that Splash’s pipeline has remained uninterrupted and continues to be fully operational is critical. Equally important is working through the individual challenges that my colleagues face in their particular territory with [regard to] payments and schedules. I’ve been having much longer conversations that go beyond business concerns, which is truly a testament to the human need for social interaction. I also recently had a great lesson on the power of crystals.
KS: What in-person event will you miss the most this year?
MN: MIPJunior has always been a highlight for Splash. I always come away with new contacts and friends from the market, and very often have had the most unexpected and best meals there.
KS: What have you been focusing on during this time?
MN: It’s been business as usual for Splash, if not a little busier. Specifically on the distribution side, we’ve seen changes from our partners in their windowing and business models. We have to be understanding of these changes and work with them during these challenging times. Beyond an agreement and a sale, it’s a partnership in the good and bad times, and now more than ever relationships are key.
KS: What hobbies have you picked up?
MN: Gardening. I’ve never had a green thumb, and I’m not saying that I’m any closer to having one, but I’m now actually interacting with dirt and fertilizer. Who knew? Many of my friends have been sharing pictures of their gardens, and they’ve inspired me, so I thought I would give it a go. My bougainvillea is flourishing!