Rodolphe Belmer (Canal +): "the banalisation of cultural goods would destroy the sector"
by Fabien Lemercier
During his speech at the Dijon Film Meetings organised by the ARP (Civil Society of Writers-Directors-Producers), Rodophe Belmer, managing director of Canal +, a financing pillar for film creation in France (€164m in pre-acquisitions for 134 French features in 2009, to which may be added almost €32m via TPS and Ciné Cinéma) gave his analysis of distribution windows and exclusive rights. Below are some selected extracts.
"The logic of distribution windows is increasingly important and acute. It is often said to be outdated, but US contracts are equally rigorous and structured by watertight, successive windows. New stakeholders must enter into the windows and contribute to film financing, VOD and SVOD operators must fit in accordingly with their own financing.
We’re moving from a cultural goods market of supply to a market of demand. And these cultural goods must be better and better financed to create a demand for cinematic products which is internationalised. Therefore, accumulating as much financing as possible is essential and distribution windows which are a film’s ability to have several successive exhibitions, must remain the driving force of financing.
As for exclusive rights, the banalisation of cultural goods would destroy the sector. But neither are we in favour of excessive exclusive rights because subordinating exclusive rights to the sale of other services (triple-play, Ipad…) is a system that destroys value. In an ultra-fragmented world of hyper-choice, with a technology-driven disintermediation, exclusive rights are essential and will be sought by television viewers and Internet users.
The hyper-choice supply will encourage people to cling to references, to strong brand images that are reliable guides to cultural goods. This also comes through a differentiation of the supply in a world of broad content where major rights-holders, studios and Google, have the capacity to bring powerfully marketed content directly to end consumers.
Finally, our strategy in the digitised world is to open out Canal + in a full technological context: channel package, Ipad, Iphone, on-demand or streaming web TV, on all platforms."
(Translated from French)
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