IFTA Digital Distribution Forum Recap

On May 2, IFTA held its first Members-only Market Review Forum of 2017. With a focus on “Digital Distribution”, participants from more than 27 Member companies joined the discussion which featured expert guest speakers from Alexander, Lawrence, Frumes & Labowitz LLP, Arc Entertainment, Elo Company, Epic Pictures Group, Fandor, Lionsgate, Miramax, Vision Films and Under the Milky Way.  The Webinar was broken up into two panels -- Digital Licensing and Aggregators and Digital Distribution.

Digital Licensing Recap:
Panelists discussed how a Netflix deal can weaken the chance of a theatrical release in other territories or a Pay TV deal in the same territory. New or confusing terminology is appearing in TV/digital rights deals with major studios and broadcasters so it is necessary that definitions from contract to contract for the same title are consistent. China’s VOD market was a popular topic specifically that many online companies are insisting on receipt of extensive documents and certificates as a part of the licensing process.

Aggregators and Digital Distribution Recap:
It is important to note that the role of an aggregator and digital distributor are not interchangeable. Aggregators are like a service company for deliveries while distributors are marketing the film and releasing it on as many mediums possible. Although many global services acquire worldwide rights, it is often more profitable to sell per territory. If the title is a niche theme or genre, it can be more profitable to release on a niche VOD platform to tap into an already interested audience.