Scandi brands Zentropa, REinvent and TrustNordisk are launching NutAlone, a new streamer of European films and TV dramas.
Rikke Ennis, CEO of Copenhagen-based packaging, sales and financing company REInvent Studios, has spent the last couple of years conceptualizing NutAlone with her former TrustNordisk colleagues and Zentropa CEO Anders Kjærhauge.
Their idea was to dust off titles left on shelves by distributors and bring them out to the world digitally, while helping rights holders to maximize revenues.
“Having worked in the distribution biz for over two decades, having been to all the festivals and tried to get the best arthouse films to the world, I’ve realized how complicated it is,” says Ennis.
“If you have Lars von Trier or Thomas Vinterberg, the whole world is interested, but with smaller films, even those selected at festivals, you will sell five-to-eight territories max. The rest of the world will remain available as they simply aren’t big enough for distributors to put an MG and invest in P&A spend.”
The nascent direct-to consumer streamer, backed by the Creative Europe Media Program and the Danish Film Institute, is set to stand out from other VOD services in two ways: its DRM (digital rights management) system makes it possible for rights holders and sales agents to select territories available or go global. At the same time, thanks to its host system, any website or media outlet with a fan base can embed a link to the platform and make the titles available directly from their website, thereby enhancing audience engagement in European content around the world.
For Ennis, the new digital service is a win-win proposition for the indie European film community. Against a 10% user-fee, rights holders can upload their films directly on the platform, set the cost of single transactions, have a better revenue control and understanding of consumer behavior. Depending on producers’ decision whether to activate the service or not, sales agent can go ahead with the classic territory-by-territory licensing model. Consumers on the other hand will get better access to old and new European titles, for the cost of a normal T-VOD fee of around €4-€5 ($5-$6).
As importantly, the platform is aimed at curbing illegal downloading.
“We want to fight piracy, activate films not sold abroad, give the power back to the rights holders, and show the world that there is an alternative to global distribution, without being a threat to the traditional financing and distribution model,” adds Ennis.
Besides Zentropa, TrustNordisk and REinvent Studios, SF Studios has agreed to make its library available to NutAlone. Other Nordic rights holders should join the venture. Ennis said she is in talks with several sales agents, members of the Europa International sales consortium, as well with A festivals.
“Festivals will be key to create a momentum on selected films and set word of mouth in motion,” continues the Scandi sales executive who envisages certain film rights being available soon after a festival premiere.
Ennis will attend the European Film Market Horizon Program on Feb. 11 to share her insight on industry trends and discuss NutAlone.