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The business of film
The business of film

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2 The distribution life cycle of a film

Alex Hamilton is Managing Director of Entertainment One UK, one of the more significant independent film distribution companies in the UK, with operations all around the world.

His company operates in the UK, Spain, the Benelux Union, Australia and Canada.

The distributor of a film is responsible for exploiting the film once it has been made. As you will see later on in the course, the distributor, along with the sales agent, can also play a critical role in how the film is financed, but let’s focus here on distribution.

The existing model for the exploitation of films is the concept of ‘windows’. This refers to the fact that films can be seen in many different ways – in the cinema, on television, via VoD, etc. Over the years, the film industry has developed a pattern of releasing films on these different platforms, in a particular sequence, over an established time frame. In the video, Alex gives a step-by-step guide to the life cycle of a film.

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Video 2 Alex Hamilton talks about the life cycle of a film
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The focus on cinema release and promotion is instrumental for recouping investment, but the current system of ‘release windows’ is under increasing pressure from changes in audience behaviour. The standard sequence of release for a feature film places cinema release at the top, followed by video/DVD/BluRay, VoD, pay-TV and finally free-to-air TV. However, Europeans watch films mostly on free TV, on DVD, and via on-demand services.