Samuel and Victor Hadida’s Metropolitan Filmexport, one of Europe’s biggest indie distributors, has taken a further step towards the construction of a pan-European VOD group, buying a 35% stake in Spanish VOD service Filmin.
Made in conjunction with Le Meilleur du Cinema, owner of French VOD service UniversCine, and an alliance of many of France’s most active producers and distributors, plus the French government, the investment has been unveiled just months after Metropolitan, which distributes DreamWorks and Lionsgate in France, acquired a 49% shareholding in Belgium VOD service UniversCine Belgium. Metropolitan is the largest shareholder in Le Meilleur du Cinema.
Metropolitan’s announcement also comes just days after Wild Bunch announced the creation of its own pan-European VOD operation, which would see it acquiring titles, beginning with Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno,” direct for digital distribution.
It is no coincidence that VOD has seen its most rapid market penetration or most significant coin for distributors, in many of the world’s biggest markets, beginning with the U.S., but also Russia, China and Brazil.
Europe’s patchwork of national territories, each demanding separate rights deals and often posing language and culture barriers, is often cited as a leading obstacle to the growth of significant VOD operations in the continent.
The VOD sector is now, however, seeing moves towards pan-national consolidation.
“Our recent investments in UniversCiné Belgium and Filmin follow the success of our own VOD service Cinema(s) a la Demande, which is operated by Le Meilleur du Cinema. These additional investments reflect our commitment to the international expansion of our VOD operations,” said Metropolitan CEO Victor Hadida.
“This is a crucial time for the European VOD sector, made up predominantly of independent services operating in an increasingly competitive environment,” added Jean-Yves Bloch, CEO of Le Meilleur du Cinéma.
“We believe there is a place for services mainly aimed at Cinema lovers, and that it is only through consolidation and implementation of a shared vision that we can succeed in engaging consumers all over Europe with a unique, highly curated and editorialised offer of European and independent films.”