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The business of film
The business of film

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2.1 A journey through windows

In Figure 2 you can see the various ‘windows’ that a film passes through as it is exploited by the distributor for its maximum value.

Described image
Figure 2 Film distribution windows

The journey from theatrical exploitation to the catalogue stage can take some time. Generally, after theatrical release (the first ‘window’), it will be approximately four to six months before the film becomes available on DVD, VoD and pay-per-view (PPV) platforms. It will also be on airlines. Then, 18–30 months after initial release, it may be on free TV (the standard broadcast channels, as opposed to pay TV).

There are many, many outlets for a film throughout its life, and at each stage, each outlet (each window) tries to maximise its exclusive or non-exclusive access to the film.

Activity 1 Major brands and companies

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Take another look at Figure 2. What do you think are some of the major brands and companies within the windows depicted? Think about who they are in your country, and spend a couple of minutes researching big film brands and companies operating in another country of your choice.

Make notes in the box below.

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In the UK, the BBC and ITV are TV channels that sit in the free TV window, whereas Sky and Amazon Prime Video, for example, are companies that exploit films in the pay TV and subscription video-on-demand window.