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San Sebastian: Europa Distribution Prospects for VOD Gold

European distributors org analyses opportunities

SAN SEBASTIAN — Representing independent distributors across Europe, Europa Distribution organized a round table at San Sebastian’s 5th Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum this week. It sported the suggestive title The Gold Rush? Or how can independent films finally hope to dig some gold out of VOD?. Event took place on Monday and was moderated by Michael Gubbins, founder of London-based consultancy SampoMedia.

Panelists were Kobi Shely, from Glasgow’s online promotion consultancy Distrify Media; Anna Harding, head of communications at Swedish arthouse distributor Folkets Bio; Quentin Carbonell, Director of Acquisitions of Mubi, a SVOD platform; European Commission audiovisual administrator Emmanuel Joly; and Alexandra Poch, a legal expert at the E.U. Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights (EUIPO).

Some key findings:

BRANDING is an essential means to locate captivate and fidelize audiences. “It’s about branding,” Harding told Variety, explaining how Folketsbio.se functioned: “You can see very easily where our films are being screened, book tickets, buy DVDs or rent online,” she said. She continued? “It’s just one channel out of many we use, our films are available on other platforms as well. But we want to manage our brand and have a platform for all our own stuff.”

CURATION Carbonell agreed with Harding: “We try to work in this direction, building up a very loyal core who act as ambassadors.” What you can’t curate is “thousands of films: We need to work from different perspectives,” he added.

CO-OPERATION. Poch commented that via their reports, the EUIPO team has discovered that many young digital viewers –35%– don’t distinguish if they’re consuming illegal contents or not. She talked about a E.U. project, Agorateca, which would establish fast access to all legal digital catalogues in the near future.

BIG DATA One way to forge new strategies would be to take a leaf out of the books of digital operators and aggregators, Shely suggested. However, big data or meta data from the biggest operators are not accessible, most round table participants complained. They were confident, however, that little-by-little this information would be shared. But maybe this wouldn’t be a magic solution. The mix of big data and digital platform algorithm strategies in the U.S. could not be applied in the same way to independent films in Europe, Joly suggested.

In conclusion, the changes in distribution wrought by the rise of digital disruption is now pretty clear. Where the sector is going in the future, however, is anyone’s guess.

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