Magazine article Variety

Will Windows Winnow?

Magazine article Variety

Will Windows Winnow?

Article excerpt


More links than ever exist in the distribution chain for movies, but further changes won't come easily

LICENSING THEATRICAL movies to TV goes back more than a half century, but it's suddenly a hotbed of change requiring strategic thinking.

New release windows have been carved out of the traditional sequential distribution chain - such as a the pricey premium video-on-demand typically accessible in hotel rooms before general VOD, as well as the later subscription VOD window occupied by Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

As a result, movies have added more stops in their first-cycle sales, which complicate business for both sellers and buyers of films.

"Though every country is different, the shortening of each window is the most notable change that has occurred," says Twentieth Intl. TV prexy Marion Edwards. "Everybody wants to move titles through the pipeline quickly. What we've tried to do is have a measured approach in our windows so we don't have a dramatic change, even if the market is moving more quickly."

Windows vary by territory, though the vast U.S. market is usually a bellwether. All eyes are focused on major studio films because of their high earning power and strong demand in each window. Independent films that sport less economic clout in the marketplace may skip some windows while also doubling up on others - eliminating the customary exclusivity - in order to cash in on opportunities.

Some pundits call for sweeping away the sequential timeline and replacing it with a simple everywhere-all -at-on ce approach, which eliminates the exclusivity that results from sequential distribution. …

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