Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

MIPCOM Takeaways: VOD Is Hot Business Along the Croisette

A hot topic at MIPCOM 2015 was the rise of VOD platforms, with their many business models (SVOD or TVOD or  AVOD).

We caught up with Kinonation’s Roger Jackson, who recently shared with our readers his invaluable insider information on the VOD market and defined all those -VOD’s.

Here are Roger’s Takeaways from his packed schedule of meetings in Cannes, mainly with catalog-owners and emerging platforms outside the U.S., including from China, India, Germany and Japan.

  1. The Awakening
  • There was a huge new respect for VOD along the Croisette.
  • Many catalog owners now recognize that they are leaving money on the table if they hold back from VOD.
  • They understand that they need to dive in, establish sales relationships with the VOD platforms, and see what works, or not!
  • There are no upfront costs, except for English sub-titles where needed, with Kinonation’s model. With other VOD distribs or aggregators there are typically upfront costs.
  • The huge opportunity cost for sitting on a catalog is measured in:
    • Lost industry expertise,
    • No instant online feedback from buyers,
    • And lost royalties.
  1. Holding Out
  • Some catalog owners remain resistant to the ‘No Minimum Guarantee’ (MG) VOD model. Some are outraged by ‘No MGs!’
  • They are further put off by the modest royalty streams per title generated by VOD.
  • Some of them hold ‘ridiculous’ expectations about the pot of gold waiting at the end of the VOD rainbow.
  1. VOD Goes Global
  • VOD is just getting started outside the US.
  • Netflix is launching ‘Netflix Global’ to serve all the markets, South Korea and Morocco for example, where there is not a custom Netflix operation, like Australia.
  • Netflix is expanding its global buying operation, which is centralized in Beverly Hills.
  • In other words, Netflix’s buying teams for U.S., Canada, Australia and Africa are all located in the same LA location.
  • Netflix recently missed its growth target in the U.S., an unsettling reminder that it will soon reach maturity in the home market.
  • Like Discovery and other U.S. players, Netflix will double down on the global opportunity.
  • Meanwhile, Amazon Instant Video India is launching on the back of Amazon’s booming customer base in the sub-continent. Other territories will follow.
  1. Single Documentaries in VOD
  • VOD platforms recognize that documentaries are important to their offer because they can appeal to affinity groups associated with the topic or the filmmaker.
  • Movies and TV series with ‘B’ level talent are more costly to license, and they don’t bring along a loyal audience.
  • Roger Jackson pointed to the combination of appealing topic and a brand name director that has earned 250,000+ views and 700 reviews for Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Crafted’.
  • ‘Crafted’ is a short doc on artisan-ship budgeted around $500,000.
  • It is sponsored by Haagen Daz, distributed by Kinonation, and offered for free on Amazon Prime.
  • Here is the link to the Amazon offer and sizzle:
  1. Hire a Celebrity. Or Pay!
  • Roger Jackson’s Takeaway is that celebrity counts in the VOD world of infinite content.
  • And without a celebrity hook, documentary marketers need to either:
    • ‘Pay for placement,’ particularly for a film that aims to ‘move the needle’ on a social issue. OR:
    • Invest in an Outreach & Marketing campaign that drives significant interest in the film.
  • Either way, they can’t rely on ‘organic discovery’ of their film.

Our 2015 Coverage of the Hot VOD Market




World Congress of Science & Factual Producers
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EDN Online Pitching Sessions 2015: History
December 15, 2015 from 14:00-15:00 (Central European Time).