Locarno: Sarah Calderon On New Distrib Models

Day-and-date releases worldwide increased from 60 in 2012 to 233 in 2013

LOCARNO – Worldwide day-and-date releases surged from 60 in 2012 to 233 in 2013, The Film Agency CEO Sarah Calderon said in a Locarno Fest master class, Classic & Alternative Distribution, citing a E.U. Media Program report, Circulation of Films in the Digital Era.

At Locarno for Puentes, the Europe-Latin America co-pro training facility, Calderon’s spoke on the first of Locarno’s three Industry Days, running Aug. 8-10.

The U.S drive the spike, with D & D releases soaring from just 46 to 166 in 2013, a year later. In Europe, in the biggest sign of a day-and-date push, though more reluctant, in U.K. synched bows climbed from 2012’s 5 to 28 in 2013.

Calderon, CEO at the The Film Agency, a Madrid-based, marketing consultancy, both traditional and emerging new online models have pros and cons.

Classic distribution – via a sales agents and distributors – works like a filtered ntermediary market that imposes exclusivity, territoriality and a window chronology: Release in theatrical, then DVD, VOD, pay TV and free TV.

System observes “exclusivity, territoriality and chronology: three words that Internet hates,” Calderon said.

New arena offer basically three distribution possibilities: online (VOD and straight-to-VOD; mixed models (day-and-date, ultra-VOD, festival-to-Date; event-driven distribution, which rolls off surprise and alternative content and may feature cinema-on-demand.

Hollywood executives have showed large concerns about a transition to alternative this transitional stage. For tentpole movie rights holders, global cinema box office is relatively healthy, rising 1.4% to $36,4 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 15% over 15 years, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory’s 2015 World Film Market Trends report.

However, U.S. attendance dipped, filmgoers buying on average 5.5 tickets in 2014 compared to 5.9 in 2013.

Online consumption is trending upwards. But big VOD platforms refuse to offer data about consumption, which

confounds analysis. For the first time, 2013 income from the entire audiovisual sector in Europe has declined –0.4%– and although online VOD revenues increased 46%, this failed to offset a 4.4% box office drop in 2013, the EAO study said.

What is the best-suited product for online distribution? “All films could benefit: the challenge is how their financial plans are adapted to new distribution models,” Calderon told Variety.

“During the transition we are currently going throigh, I think that the most appropriate movies are arthouse titles that don’t necessarily fulfill the needs of the theatrical 45+ (and mostly feminine) audience. Even though each film should have its tailor-made distribution strategy, in principle the immediate-VOD availability should allow these films to reach a slightly younger audience that doesn’t go (that much) to the cinemas.”

Predictions about how quickly new distribution models may consolidate are harder to make, Calderon said

“It’s very difficult to know. In principle the U.S. and U.K. should grow. Maybe a few other countries with decreasing cinema attendance (like Spain, Italy, or Portugal) could start to join too. Exhibitors’ reluctance is still very high and there’s not yet a solid-enough financial model in VOD to justify the model in many countries,” she added.

Supported by Creative Europe Program of the European Union, TIDE aims at analyzing new digital distribution models. The Film Agency participates in its study.

“For TIDE4, we are now going to focus on only five territories, to be able to contribute to this growth on a more local basis,” Calderon said.

TIDE’s umbrella includes The Film Agency, Under the Milky Way an international digital film distributor with preferred aggregator status for iTunes , programmers worldwide platform The Festival Agency, and the Ipeda, Independent Pan European Digital Association.

Project focuses on VOD, day & date releases and event driven distribution.

Also, TIDE experimented by releasing movies in day-and-date in more than 15 European territories. TIDE 1’s line-up included Ken Loach’s “The Spirit of 45,” Paul Wright’s “For Those in Peril,” Ferzan Ozpetek’s “A Magnificent Haunting” and Pierre-Yves Borgeaud’s “Viramundo.” TIDE 2 launched Marc Bauder’s “Master of the Universe” Noah Deshe’s “White Shadow” and “The Mark Cousins Hibrow Trilogy.” The last title bowed near simultaneously at four European film festivals and VOD platforms, starting with the Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival on June 22, FID-Marseille in France on July 3, Karlovy Vary on July 6 and New Horizons beginning July 23. A film segment was screened at each festival, while the whole trilogy is available online.

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