– The distributors network is hosting a public panel to discuss the complexities of the VOD market and the need to adapt to it at the European Film Market

Europa Distribution to analyse the current trends for online releases at the Berlinale

Europa Distribution is hosting its Zones of Interest: Distribution Trends for Online Releases panel at the European Film Market (EFM) during the 74th Berlinale, on Sunday 18 February.

The post-pandemic economy and consumption patterns are still challenging for independent films and finding a profitable balance, especially online, is not an easy win. This panel considers the complex subtleties of the VOD market which varies enormously from one market to another, and the subsequent need to develop a better understanding of the current state of play of online distribution. When one thinks about the European independent film sector, the first idea that comes to mind is probably cultural diversity: a vast variety of films, players of all sizes, a whole host of channels (from cinemas to VoD), and of course very diverse markets. Then online, the market is not yet evenly developed and online and on-demand releasing have so far not often offered the same reliable, transparent and sustainable revenues as cinemas or DVDs in the past. In less developed markets, independent VOD services are not always firmly established, and audience consumption patterns are not evenly developed and viable.

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If independent film publishers & distributors in all countries keep seeking ways to make their films available on as many channels as possible, recognising the potential to increase audience engagement, it doesn’t seem that the VoD market can always nurture cultural diversity nor generate substantial economic values. More insight into the opportunities and challenges is needed, taking into account the variety of situations, depending on territories. The panel will zone in on various European situations, with help from studies on film availability conducted over the last year by Research Fellow Roderik Smits from University Carlos III of Madrid. His work has focussed on several markets – Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway and Romania, developing a better understanding of the state of play of online distribution and offering a valuable picture of film availability and VOD development. To open the discussion even further, the session will hear from four other markets: Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic and Estonia. Together the speakers will deepen the information already gathered and look at the various opportunities and challenges encountered on their respective markets, analyse the different situations and how they are evolving, always with the scope of bringing independent films online, and generate revenues. Alongside Roderik Smits, the speakers are Italy’s Anastasia Plazzotta, CEO and Head of Acquisitions at Wanted Cinema, Belgium’s Elise van Marcke, Co-founder & Managing partner at The Searchers, Czech Republic’s Ivo Andrle, CEO at Aerofilm, Estonia’s Kristi Porila, Acquisition Manager at FilmStop Inspiration. Sampo Media’s Michael Gubbins will moderate the event.

The panel will take place from 16.45 to 18.00 at the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation – Event Hall (Stresemannstraße 90, 10963 Berlin). The venue is accessible only with a market badge, those who do not have such a badge can send an email to [email protected].

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