Ariel Tobi: Grateful it's a platform that unites content creators with advertising creatives

Ariel Tobi of Grateful at #PRODUprimetime: My passion is building business from scratch
12 de noviembre de 2021

Ariel Tobi, a benchmark in the entertainment industry in Latin America, with more than 25 years of experience in different size companies, including his own, spoke with Ríchard Izarra, PRODU Editor-In-Chief, at #PRODUprimetime giving practically a master lecture about the current state of the industry, and how he sees its future. Tobi has been on a journey that took him to undertake what he is passionate about, and which he considers will be a boom very soon.

“It is a platform that unites content creators with advertising creatives. Today more than 150 original series are produced in Latin America among all platforms, mainly in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil; And that volume of series business is what is attractive today for the advertising market, which lost a very important open TV audience to streaming, and the way to be viewed by that audience is, without a doubt, through product placement in premium series. This has been used in other markets, such as the US, where you can find spectacular examples to which we are aiming for. There is a demand for it in our region and we are going to make the most of this opportunity.”

RI: How did Ariel decide to sell Snap to the Hemisphere group of our friends Alan Sokol and Jim McNamara? What did Ariel take into consideration?
AT: ‟We know that the legal world of audiovisual has changed a lot and that is the point. The distribution is not what it was in the past. A distribution industry was built with a lot of windows where the content was being exploited from window to window, to that you add going through territory by territory, and through years. So you had a scheme where a product begins in year one, and today, in year 20, it continues to be exploited in different windows and in different territories. That multiplicity of sale after sale fell. Now instead of small windows there are big ones, but you remain with it for a long time. So the distribution market is selling less, perhaps more expensive, but less quantity, and the big players are producing their own content and own their own distribution rights, also known as IP.”

RI: Many say that you are a born entrepreneur, including Patricia Jasin, Fernando Szew, and your father, Víctor Tobi.
AT: ‟After so many years in the industry you end up realizing where your passions are, and my passion is in developing new things. I think that I have always ended up developing a division from scratch, developing a company from scratch, and that is what really motivates me and I ended up understanding that this is what I know how to do. So when I have corporate functions I do what I know how to do, create from scratch, and this is something I have done since I was a boy, first with the Telearte team, then in Endemol, the same in Fremantle. I love being able to innovate, that's why I like to always bring something new to the market.”

Fernando Szew: There is no doubt that Ariel played his part in Netflix's landing in Latin America as the first great territory to conquer outside the US and Canada. I was at those breakfasts and the truth is that it was Ariel with his convincing power, with his idea of futurology, and his knowledge of where the market was going. And so other stories regarding the VOD market. The great contribution of Ariel is that he is a net and pure entrepreneur, he loves that. He is never satisfied, he pushes, and with that, he creates opportunities, not only for him, but for me as a partner, but also for many, many other people.

Patricia Jasin: He has a TV in his DNA. He grew up in that environment and, without a doubt, he has in his genes this figure in which he has become in the industry. However, it's fair to say that has his personal stamp on it. And if I have to define him in any way, I think that since I've known him — and today he maintains that quality intact — it is that he is deeply restless. He is a person who professionally does not stay still even if he is doing very well, he is always looking for the next step, very critical in how he does things, trying to understand if he is on the right track.

Germán Pérez Naim: I met him through his father, Víctor. I had a good feeling about him from the beginning. He is very hardworking, engaging, very intelligent, and he always generated a lot of synergy around him. He is that kind of person who likes to add, light-blooded and he is above all very authentic, very genuine. That is why I think he is going to be very successful in this new endeavor. He has all the tools to get where he wants.

Víctor Tobi: I shared with Ariel a lot of time at Natpe, Mipcom, and all of the other fairs. When I met with my friends, they all congratulated me on my son: ‟how wonderful, how hard-working, how creative”. I have always felt proud of the way they talked to me about Ariel. It is very rewarding for a parent.

RI: Do you have a commitment to the inheritance of your father and grandfather?
AT: ‟Worse than that. My grandfather in a very difficult time for the media created an empire, he was a businessman and an entrepreneur despite the difficulties of his time, the military regime blew up two theaters and he always rose again. I am like that. I think it comes from him. I always defined him as someone who was good at business. While my father has a great experience in the industry, and he always shares that know-how working in large companies, something that my grandfather with his indomitable blood would never have been able to do, he needed to lead his own business.”

‟We analyze the content in a creative meeting, we aim to understand the series from the showrunner to the characters, the different universes, the values, the purpose of the series, the final message; all this through a human conversation, because really the conception is generated by a group of creatives, and you have to understand from their point of view what they wanted to create, including the characters. Because we do not just show a product or an advertisement in a scene, our brands and our products are fully related to the series, with each character, and the idea is that the brand joins each character or place at all times during each episode.”

After the meeting, Tobi thanked Ríchard Izarra and the entire PRODU team for the interview. ‟It felt like having a coffee with friends at a very particular moment in my life. These personal reviews make you realize how many people you have to thank for having given you an opportunity, even if it is trusting you a little so that you can try a small idea of which you are convinced of, which can later become something transcendental in your career. I shared with great friends and lived great moments in each fair and trip. Patricia Jasin talks about me like she's talking about Steve Jobs. Fernando Szew is the greatest example of the trust I have received. He is a friend, partner, family member with whom I started Snap Media. Germán Pérez Naim was the one who met with me in 1995 at my first TV fair and supported me in multiple projects. And finally, to my old man, thank you for your words and support, as well as to my mother, Mirta Romay, who encouraged us to never stop working. To my brothers, and the unwavering loyalty of my wife, Rosario Recondo, and my three children. "

View interview here