Leading Australian distributor Transmission Films will see its films given video and online releases by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
SPHE and Transmission struck an exclusive multi-year agreement that starts from Oct 1 and covers physical and digital formats of catalog and future titles. Releases will be handled in Australia through Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia, and in New Zealand by SPHE.
The current slate of Transmission includes Todd Haynes’ Cannes film “Carole,” with local star Cate Blanchett, “Sufragette,” starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, Sundance hit “Brooklyn,” and Martin Scorsese’s “Silence.”
Other upcoming Transmission titles to flow through the SPHE distribution deal include productions from sister company See-Saw Films, including “Mr Holmes,” “Lion,” starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, Anton Corbijn’s “Life,” and Australian director Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth,” another Cannes-sensation.
“The Transmission release schedule reflects an exciting growth phase with very high profile quality commercial theatrical releases, and quality independent and straight to DVD titles, that will complement the SPHE product portfolio, giving us a tremendous foundation for building Transmission,” said Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie, Joint Managing Directors of Transmission Films.
The Australian video and DVD scene is contracting slowly under the twin influences of piracy and growing availability of movies on online platforms, though last year it still remained larger than theatrical box office.
According to a report published late last year by IBISWorld’s Motion Picture and Video Distribution Australian home entertainment revenues were predicted to fall by 3.6% to A$1.8 billion in 2014-15.The market researcher forecast that revenues would continue to drop by 2.5% per year to A$1.6 billion in 2019-20.
That has already led to some consolidation and downsizing by home entertainment distributors. The report ranked SPHE as the third largest with a 10.8% market share.
Australia has several major online video platforms, including Netflix which launched in March this year.
A report published earlier this week showed that Australia has one of the highest levels of online piracy in the developed world and that one in four of the online population has watched copyright infringing content in the previous three months. The report was commissioned by Australia’s Department of Communications and undertaken by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) Australia.
“This collaboration fits very much into our strategy to continue to grow and leverage our distribution strength worldwide,” said Man Jit Singh, President, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.