Magazine article Variety

For Brit Indies, VOD Ignites Class Warfare

Magazine article Variety

For Brit Indies, VOD Ignites Class Warfare

Article excerpt

The launch of SVOD services by Netflix and Lovefilm has created a divide between the haves and the have-nots among the U.K. s indie distributors.

The haves - eOne, Studiocanal, Momentum, Lionsgate and Dogwoof - are enjoying inflated prices for pay TV rights that were previously next to worthless, because Sky refused to buy them. That's having a major impact on their bottom line, and on acquisitions. EOne, for example, has doubled its U.K. release slate since signing its Lovefilm deal.

But the have-nots - smaller indies without SVOD output deals - complain that the overall value of their ancillary rights has actually shrunk since Lovefilm and Netflix started competing so aggressively with each other.

"We used to moan about Sky, but they come across as incredibly generous next to Lovefilm or Netflix," says one topper at a small U.K. distrib. They aren't interested in talking to us about long-term deals, though we have a strong DVD slate. They come in and look at our catalog titles, and make offers that can be as low as £1,000 ($1,624) for a 12-month buyout. …

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