Locarno: Spanish VOD Service Filmin Bows In Mexico, Now Portugal

Switzerland industry debats VOD chances in Locarno

Spanish indie VOD platform will open a new branch in Portugal in December, Jaume Ripoll, Filmin’s head of contents, unveiled at this week’s Locarno Festival, where the Spanish VOD platform was chosen as a case study at the round table “The Visibility of Swiss Films on VOD platforms.”

Expansion follows Filmin’s bow in Mexico last June. Founded in 2007. Filmin shareholders include Spanish production shingles El Deseo, Tornasol Films and Continental, as well as arthouse distributors Golem, Avalon, Vertigo, Wanda Vision and DVD distrib Cameo. France’s Metropolitan Film Export and Le Meilleur du Cinema became new shareholders at the end of 2014. Filmin also has strategic partnerships with TVE, Mediaset and BBC and Barcelona Film School Escac and is supported by Creative Europe and Imcine support. Online platform owns the largest indie online catalogue in Europe, Ripoll said, of 6,200 movies, 2,200 TV episodes and 1,500 shorts.

From Jan. to April 2015, the Spanish platform streamed 71% European content, 18% U.S. content. Regarding Europe, 37% was from the U.K., 22% from Spain, and 20% from France. Filmin has around 300,000 users and registers more than 300,000 streamings per month, Ripoll said at Locarno.

2015 data shows that 77% of all Filmin streaming were films and 23% TV series. 74% of all streamings are made from the computer, 16% from tablets and cells and 10% from smart TV’s.

The platform’s core demo are 25-34s, followed by 35-44s. But, remarkably, older aud segments are increasing rapidly  according to Ripoll.

70% of Filmin revenues comes from SVOD, but other activity also includes an Ipad app development, day and date launches (on, for example, “Carmina or Blow Up”), and production of own content.(“Barcelona, Winter Night”). Filmin also collaborates with fests and are behind online fest “Atlantida,” which celebrated its fifth edition this year, featuring 20 Spanish premieres.

Paradoxically, the success of Yomvi, the SVOD catch-up service of Spanish pay box Canal Plus, has proved a boost for Filmin, helping to boost the penetration of legal paid for services in a country of rampant piracy. After telco giant Telefonica acquired Canal Plus Spain from Spanish media giant Prisa, from July Telefonica brand Movistar Plus includes Yomvi. The merged service offers a 5,000 title catalogue (series, movies, documentaries) and several TV series offers.

Although Filmin operates in Spain, Mexico and now Portugal, Ripoll’s presentation formed part of a more general consideration of VOD penetration in Switzerland. .

Some general stats portraying Switzerland: the country registered a gross box office in 2014 of CHF216.260 ($219.9 million) and a national film market share of 6.2%. 107 Swiss features were produced last year. Switzerland has a GPD per capita of CHF82.950 ($84,344) a lot higher than the E.U. average of $36,700. Figures come from a European Audiovisual Observatory World Film Market Trends report.

Independent filmmaking enjoys a good health in Switzerland. Swiss films at the Locarno Fest include portmanteau pic “Heimatland,” (in International Competition), Lionel Baier’s “Vanity,” Guillaume Senez’s “Keeper” and Kaspar Kasics’ “Yes No Maybe” among others. And online? DVD sales nose-dived 12.1% in 2014, VOD revenues (on all platforms), increased by 19.6%. But Swiss films benefit only slightly from these emerging distribution models. Available Swiss movies on online platforms are in small number, revenues are very low.

VOD market has proven more suitable for genre and art house films. That opens some kind of market opportunity for Swiss films. “Switzerland has a long tradition in documentary filmmaking  (…). Also coming from Switzerland we can provide films in French, German and Italian, due to our national funding system very often subtitled in additional major languages and therefore we can reach out to a widespread European audience,” said Swiss Films festivals & markets head Selina Willemse told Variety.

Filmin’s business model could point to one way forward for Switzerland, Ripoll argued.

“We managed to survive in an extremely hostile environment of economic downturn and piracy. And there’s an indie cinema vocation in Switzerland, But it’s necessary that Swiss distributors bet on online and understand the importance of creating their own platform and not being at third parties’ mercy. If they’re capable of doing that, adding their own -and non-exclusive – content, and understanding that it’s necessary to invest first, they can achieve some measure of success,” Ripoll told Variety.

Part of Locarno’s industry forum StepIn Ch, dedicated to discussion of Swiss film issues, the VOD round table was moderated by Geneva Intl Film festival director Emmanuel Cuenod.

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