8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (V). New business models for contents distribution on line

Notes from the 8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Challenges and Opportunities of Online Entertainment, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 9-10 July 2012. More notes on this event: idp2012.

Panel on New business models for contents distribution on line
Chairs: Moderator: Judith Clarés. Lecturer. Information and Communication Department. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Sydney Borjas Piloto, Gerente de Artes Escénicas. Grupo SGAE.

The possibility to compress audio and video have enabled new business models based on digital convergence. In parallel, the regulatory framework has also evolved and made possible that new investors and initiatives can flourish as there is a higher degree of legal security.

It is now possible to opt for a multi-channel and one-to-one model.

New actors have appeared: hardware manufacturers that also provide contents.

Last, the advancements in connectivity/broadband have also enabled that distribution of content online can now to an upper level.

Laws as Sinde-Wert in Spain or Hadopi in France are trying to protect the industry while not injuring citizen rights. And the level of observance of these laws does have an impact at the international level and the prices that have to be paid for accessing content from major distributors (e.g. it is cheaper to buy content from Germany than from Spain).

Another barrier for the advancement of new models is that not all theatres have the latest technology. If theatres were all digitized, multi-platform distribution would be easier as it would be much cheaper than it is now, as it requires different (physical) products for different platforms.

Same with law and the different regulatory frameworks.

Jaume Ripoll, Director Editorial y socio fundador de filmin

For the last 5 years, the music industry has created cool portals that are fancy and trendy, but that do not provide what the user is looking for when they go to the Internet to watch films. The industry has tried to teach the user while the user already knows what they want. We need to know who the users are, where they are, what do they want, when and how.

The industry has to look ahead: yes people buy DVDs and yes people still rent movies on videoclubs, but the future is the Internet, which is what will surely last.

There is too much film production (circa 2,000 films a year in Europe). Too many supply for theatres and DVDs… but not too much for the Internet. And in the Internet, if offered in appropriate ways, there is enough demand for this much supply. And the Internet is not only desktops: it’s phones, it’s tablets, it’s laptops, etc.

The Internet also makes possible to avoid time lapses, to wait for the film to be issued in DVD or for TV. You read the critic on the paper, you see the movie on the Net. Indeed, there still are many places where many films just won’t make it to theatres: why take from that user the experience of watching a specific film?

The one who chooses is the user, not the distributor.

One of the problem, though, of choosing… is having to choose itself. How can the user tell from 2,800 films (the actual library at Filmin) which one to choose? Filmin offered, instead of categories of films, moods for films (“want to remember my couple”, “forgetting about my kids”, etc.)

To do that, it is important to create strong networks of distribution with other “filmins” around Europe.

Josep Monleón, Head of Content, WUAKI.TV

Content is now consumed in several platforms, anywhere. It is thus essential to have agreements with (a) content providers and with (b) device manufacturers. Thus, the distributor can provide access to any kind of content from any kind of device.

We have to be aware of the different types of users: some users are used to the TV, so it is important to bring digital content to the TV, i.e. the smart TV. On the other hand, there are digital natives that use technology as a natural thing and have an upper level user experience. New initiatives have also to be aware of these digital natives.

There are several consumption models: video on demand (VOD), subscription, electronic sell-through (EST) or purchase, etc.

The user wishes everything: anything, anytime, anywhere.

Key factors to consolidate video on demand: prices, regulatory framework, windows. Prices should be lower, but the fear of cannibalization of other supports does not allow (yet) for cheaper prices. Until a critical mass is reached that pays back the possible cannibalization of other formats, prices will keep being relatively high. Windows of release definitely depend on major distributors and theatres reaching an agreement, but there is a trend towards openness and flexibility.

8th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2012)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2012) “8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (V). New business models for contents distribution on line” In ICTlogy, #106, July 2012. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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