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Old April 10th, 2009, 09:26 AM   #1
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Distribution conundrum?

I'm facing a dilemma: a Canadian distributor wants to shop two of my short films for the Canadian territory, but they're asking to sell the new media rights as well (i.e internet). I told them I didn't want my films on the internet yet because I want to approach broadcasters in the U.S. and abroad. But they're adamant, saying that most (if not all) potential broadcasters will ask for the new media rights as well.

I checked a few Canadian broadcasters and they're right: they all ask for new media rights. But here's the dilemma: they also demand that the movie has NEVER been on the internet before.

That would mean that as soon as you've sold to any broadcaster you're automatically disqualified from selling it to anyone else in the world (since the internet has no borders), not to mention submitting to festivals.

Is this the case? Are independent filmmakers limited to selling their films to only one broadcaster? Is the internet as a distribution medium so new that no one's realized this yet?


J.
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Old April 18th, 2009, 05:17 PM   #2
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ouch, wish I had some info for you, is the Canadian Distributor offer enough?
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Old April 18th, 2009, 07:44 PM   #3
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I also wish I had something to offer - but I'd really like to hear how this plays out. Please post back and let us know. Good luck!
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Old April 18th, 2009, 07:47 PM   #4
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No, they're not even offering enough to pay back the production cost. I already knew there's very little money in the short film market, but one way to maximize profits is seling to multiple markets. However, "new media rights" rears its ugly head and makes that impossible.

I've written a few broadcasters to ask whether their streaming is restricted by territory (the way the American TV networks do it), and if so would they in turn buy a short film that was streamed exclusively in another territory? I hope there isn't a catch 22 here.

I'll post a follow-up as soon as I get more info.


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Old April 18th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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You can always make a counter offer. You can offer to liscence the film without internet for less, or ask for more if the new media rights are included. This gives them the chance to get some for less, or all for more.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
You can always make a counter offer. You can offer to liscence the film without internet for less, or ask for more if the new media rights are included. This gives them the chance to get some for less, or all for more.
The new media rights were not negotiable with the broadcasters I spoke to, and I doubt they'll pay 10 times more (to make up for 10 lost sales).


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Old April 28th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #7
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Just an update. I have been trying for two weeks to get in touch with Ouat Media, (the distributor in question who offered to represent my two short films). My simple questions about new media rights (and restrictions on eventual world sales) have remained unanswered. They're not returning my phone calls, or answering my e-mails.

I definitely get the impression that the moment I refused to sign on the dotted line without asking questions is when I became more trouble than I was worth to Ouat Media.

While I wait for the rep to call or write back (if she ever does), I have contacted a national broadcaster who also screens short films. If they make me an offer, I'll go with them and forego a distributor altogether for these two short films.

Needless to say, I have no intention of using Ouat Media for any future productions. It's proven nearly impossible to talk to anyone there.


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Old April 28th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Needless to say, I have no intention of using Ouat Media for any future productions. It's proven nearly impossible to talk to anyone there.
Strange. A couple of hours after writing this, the rep called me back and answered my questions (are they watching?).

We agreed that on a case-by-case basis we'd make sure streaming for new media rights would be restricted by geographical location to protect territorial exclusivity.


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Old April 28th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #9
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"Are they watching?" - You'd be surprised who monitors this board. I think Chris is aware of most of the Manufacturers, but plenty of 'industry folk' lurk too.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Strange. A couple of hours after writing this, the rep called me back and answered my questions (are they watching?).

We agreed that on a case-by-case basis we'd make sure streaming for new media rights would be restricted by geographical location to protect territorial exclusivity.


J.
Hi Jacques,

I'd guess on a scale of 1 to 10, this issue would be about a 5. Have you read Stacey Park's book, The Insiders Guide to Independent Film Agreements? Hopefully, you and your lawyer haven't missed the big ticket items some unscrupulous distributors hide in the fine print or omit entirely.

Good luck, Michael
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