Under The Milky Way, leading the field for VoD distribution
by Guilhem Caillard
- Its founders perceive VoD as a solution capable of solving issues of non-visibility for the majority of the 1,200 European feature films that are released every year in European theatres, but which find it difficult to penetrate foreign markets
Founded in 2010, the young company Under The Milky Way now benefits from considerable expertise in the sector of Video on Demand distribution (VoD). Its founders, Pierre Alexandre Labelle, Jérôme Chung and Alexis de Rendinger, based respectively in New York, Paris and Los Angeles, are travelling more and more frequently to speak at conferences about an industry in constant turmoil, that of digital distribution. The aggregation of rights on behalf of global platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Sony) is the arena for the company’s activities.
Pierre Alexandre Labelle describes how "Companies such as A contracorriente work with us to ensure that titles are exploited under good conditions on global platforms that are present in Spain, and that the money they are entitled to is paid to them on a rigorous basis”. Members of the Under The Milky Way network, active in Germany, Scandinavia, Japan and Australia, work hand-in-hand with distributors so that the distribution of titles and their marketing on platforms is adapted to the local realities of each of these markets.
International distribution is the second strong point of Under the Milky Way. Its founders see VoD as a solution capable of solving issues of non-visibility for the majority of the 1,200 European feature films that are released every year in European theatres, but which find it difficult to penetrate foreign markets.
The company is actually behind Waveback, a web console adapted to meet the needs of distributors for the promotion of VoD films. Free of charge, it can be used to handle several accounts on social networks and to garner impact assessment feedback. With the initial backing of the CNC in France, this tool was developed thanks to a subsidy from the Media Programme which enabled its expansion to EU countries once the interface had been translated into several languages.
In the wake of the heated debates about cultural exception and the Assises de l'Audiovisuel held in Paris in June, Under The Milky Way is asking itself quite a few questions. Concerning the funding of French cinema, there is no doubt in the mind of Pierre Alexandre Labelle that the model must be reformed while at the same time remaining perennial to maintain its strength. But while some people believe that to give a boost to audiovisual production, global VoD platforms should participate in the pre-funding of fims, some problems still have to be addresses. As Labelle points out: “Global platforms have considerable financial resources and own powerful brands capable of generating audience attendance. But cinematographic content is not the core of the activities pursued by these companies. These platforms see themselves more like online retailers rather like Wal-Mart or Carrefour. As for subscription video on demand (SVoD), their investments in terms of content could favour TV series deemed to generate more loyalty and have stronger identities than movies; as with the House of Cards series launched by Netflix." To be continued...
(Translated from French)
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