Slow digital progress across all fronts

Unauthorized Internet movie downloads are slowing VOD penetration in Spain. Local film industry sources estimate that 527 million movie files were downloaded in 2008.

“In the future, VOD will be crucial for the film industry, but today it represents very small revenues, maybe less than 10% of DVD rentals,” says Adolfo Blanco, head of film at conglom Vertice 360.

Spain’s main VOD platforms are Sogecable’s satcaster Digital Plus, cable operator ONO’s Ojo Videoclub and Telefonica’s IPTV service Imagenio. They’ve signed VOD film deals with U.S. majors and Spanish indie distribs.

According to Spain’s CMT regulator, film sales on these non-Internet VOD platforms reached 3.3 million buys by the third quarter of 2008, up 27% year on year.

In addition, several Web portals offer films legally. Internet business models vary from ad-supported, free-access sites to pay systems. Fast-changing technology is also forcing an evolution, from download-to-own services to streaming. But an effective strategy that allows producers and distributors to significantly monetize the online film biz has yet to be formulated in Spain.

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