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BERLINALE 2015 Industry

New online platform Festival Box Office presented at the EFM


- BERLIN 2015: The database will collect admissions and attendance data at film festivals, while focusing on European films and festivals

New online platform Festival Box Office presented at the EFM

A new subscriber-based platform called Festival Box Office (FBO), which will collect all-important data on the worldwide festival presentation of films, with a particular focus on European ones, was presented on 12 February at the Berlinale's European Film Market.

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The project was developed by Serbian producers Sonja Topalovic and Miroslav Mogorovic at the SOFA - School of Film Agents in Wroclaw, and its current beta version was funded by Eurimages, the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Film Centre Serbia, with support from Europa International.

Until now, there has been no centralised database that contains festival box-office data. FBO will collect and provide various pieces of essential information: festival venue data, total and average audience attendance, number of festival screenings, and total and average income from ticket sales.

For instance, the database shows that the Cannes winner Winter Sleep [+see also:
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sold more tickets at 11 screenings at three festivals in Serbia than it did in one month of theatrical distribution.

“Festivals are becoming the only real platform for distribution for almost 80% of European films,” says Mogorovic. “But box-office figures coming from the festivals are rarely precise, and it comes down to a film playing at a certain number of festivals and winning awards, without a clear picture of actual attendance.” 

FBO offers an insight into a film’s success outside regular cinema distribution and provides a powerful tool to producers, directors, international sales agents, national distributors, film financiers and funds.

“These segments do not have any form of established communication among themselves. Everybody has to ask everybody else for data in each particular case, and sometimes they get feedback, sometimes they don't. So the only way is for festivals to send all their box-office information to one place – that is, the FBO – and immediately all the other segments can have all the information,” Mogorovic explained to Cineuropa.

Processed data from FBO will not be widely presented to the public. FBO creates tailor-made personal accounts for users, who then have an opportunity to access different levels of the protected data available. 

The festivals will have the chance to get an overview of the audience response to movies, and also their commercial success at other festivals. Based on the success of a film at one festival, the programmer of another one can decide whether to include that title in their programme or not. Also, they can use the information from the FBO website to better position the movie in the festival screening schedule.

In addition to the subscriber-based platform for professionals, FBO will have a unique homepage, open to all internet users, where every visitor will be able to get an overview of festivals in focus, films in focus and the weekly box office. 

Also, FBO will create the opportunity for the entire marketing and promotion of a festival. The marketing team will thus be able to promote the success of the festival and to highlight the importance of the number of visits that films have.

The developers are now negotiating additional funding for development of the database, which should, according to Mogorovic, be fully functional and equipped with most of the data within one year. 

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