(L-R} Cineverse’s Yolanda Macias, Premiere Digital’s Michele Edelman and moderator Thomas K. Arnold of Media Play News on the “Monetizing Content Across Different Distribution Models” panel.
August 31, 2023
Panelists discussed different windows for optimizing monetization during the second day (Aug. 31) of presentations at the OTT.X summit in Los Angeles.
During the “Monetizing Content Across Different Distribution Models” panel, Yolanda Macias, chief content officer at Cineverse, referenced Terrifier 2 at an example of how content suppliers have to be flexible with distribution windows to maximize revenue.
“We looked at Terrifier one,” she said. “As a result of not such an amazing performance, we decided to take it [Terrifier 2] out theatrically as an event — and we had a champagne problem. It performed beyond our expectations, and we decided to get it more show times, and we rolled it out and soon it was a bonafide theatrical release. It was meant to premiere on the Screambox SVOD channel, and we decided to move it … to allow for another weekend in theaters. Three weeks later we took it out transactionally; again, it overperformed; 45 days later we took it out on DVD and it sold through over 90%. Then it continued on Screambox as an exclusive. Six months later, we did a co-exclusive license with Amazon for two months. And, of course, we always believed our enthusiast channels were complementary to the bigger, broader general entertainment channels and we proved that as well. And then we opened it up to everyone, all AVOD and SVOD platforms. We just announced this week we are re-releasing Terrifier 2 in theaters on Nov. 8.”
The enthusiasm for the release informed Cineverse’s windowing.
“We’re learning,” she said. “We’re going to use these findings when we release Terrifier 3 in 2024.”
“It’s always a challenge to maximize your revenue respecting the windows that exist,” added Richard Wolffe, CEO of Breaking Glass Pictures, on the same panel. “Trying to change some of the windows that don’t need to be there because the platforms don’t generate the revenue is a challenge. … You have to kind of bide your time or break a window. Nobody wants to break a window. However, it’s really tempting.”
“I always look at it through the lens of the consumer, the end user, the audience, how do they want to engage the content?” said Macias.
Moderator Thomas K. Arnold, editorial director and publisher of Media Play News, noted home entertainment has evolved “from rigidity to flexibility” with regard to windows.
Macias agreed. “Not all content has to go through the different windows,” she said. “That’s part of the fun of establishing a strategy for every piece of content.”
Titles can ride fads into different windows as well.
“A few years ago, no one was touching horror in the digital space,” said Michele Edeleman, noting most people thought it was a theatrical, communal experience. “Now everyone’s touching horror.”
Premiere Digital actually uses a score sheet for potential distribution of content and looks at that end score when deciding what to take.
“You’ve got to be really flexible with business models and with platforms,” said Larry Schwartz, chief revenue officer at Ottera.
During an earlier panel on the interplay between theatrical and home/streaming viewing, panelists noted that home entertainment provides important revenue streams for studios to finance new content.
A theatrical release “needs as many revenue streams as possible,” noted Scott Mendelson, film reporter at The Wrap.
“I always believed that theatrical and streaming did not need to be adversarial,” he said.
He praised the development of the premium digital (higher priced right after theatrical) marketplace.
“PVOD has been relatively successful,” he said. “The biggest evidence is they are still doing it.”
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He called out the importance of later windows’ revenue streams in supporting the overall business.
“I’m hoping that the PVOD and post-theatrical revenue streams are going to remain healthy so that we see bigger and more successful theatrical releases,” he said.