VOD: Where One Size Doesn’t Fit All

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NEW YORK — “We don’t think one size fits all.”

That’s the mantra Jim Packer, president of worldwide television and digital distribution at Lionsgate, believes will guide video on demand’s future.

It’s at the core of Lionsgate’s distribution strategy for the 40 to 50 movies it releases each year. While some titles, like the Matthew McConaughey feature Mud, lend themselves to early VOD, others, like the Twilight franchise’s Breaking Dawn, still draw record revenue under the traditional model, he noted.

“You don’t necessarily have to tweak them, you have to find the right model,” he said in a keynote interview at the Multichannel News/ Broadcasting & Cable On Demand Summit here last Wednesday (May 8).

Packer noted there is flexibility in distribution that didn’t exist before; Lionsgate is planning for up to seven windows now, including traditional, early viewing and early electronic sell-through. Likewise, he said one of the biggest changes he has seen is the percentage of revenue derived from these alternative distribution windows.

“VOD is now 10% to 15% of box office; a few years ago it was 5%,” he said. In fact 2012’s The Impossible made $6 million through on-demand viewing, one-third of box office gross, a phenomenon that wasn’t happening five years ago.

He noted that in the case of Lionsgate’s Margin Call and Arbitrage, the multiple distribution strategy didn’t lead to cannibalization. Polling found that an overwhelming majority of people who went to theater didn’t know the films were on VOD and vice versa.

Andrea Morabito is programming editor of Broadcasting & Cable.

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