The business of film
The business of film

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

The business of film

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.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

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.

OUFL_1010

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371