admin   August 5, 2020

Heritage Online is an innovative service offered by Locarno Pro, with the aim to expand the horizons of Video On Demand and its global catalogue in order to include the past  

For the Future of Films, Locarno Pro remains an international hub for the independent film industry even in this “standby” year. The virtual Locarno Pro will launch Heritage Online, which aims to fill a void within the international film industry, with a platform where past and future go hand in hand.

Heritage Online is an innovative service offered by Locarno Pro, with the aim to expand the horizons of Video On Demand and its global catalogue in order to include the past. This unprecedented tool, a connective tissue that was previously unavailable to the international industry, will ideally bring the Lumière brothers next to the Marvel heroes.

Thanks to Heritage Online, rights holders (international sales agents, film archives, institutes, restoration companies) will be able to share their catalogues with potential clients, that is to say VOD platforms, from the giants in the field to smaller entities. By accessing this database of international film history, streamers will be able to view detailed information, including specifics concerning rights, and watch the submitted films. Locarno Pro is launching Heritage Online Platform enabling distribution of Heritage Films connecting right holders of classic films (premiered before 2006) and online OTT and VoD platforms.

During the days of Locarno Pro, on August 8, the catalogues of a selection of companies and institutions participating to Heritage Online will be promoted through a newsletter and the website. Moreover, the topic of heritage and library films’ distribution on streaming services will be discussed in a Round Table that will be streamed online on August 8.

“We believe that this initiative can really increase the circulation of Heritage and Library Films in what we think will soon be (or is already in most territories) the new standard for Home Video: Streaming Services,” says Heritage Online Project Manager Markus Duffner.

“Locarno Pro is always responsive to the needs of industry professionals. Its mission is to create tools that help people in cinema to work even more effectively. Our new project Heritage Online fills a gap in the audiovisual industry landscape and will foster links between rightsholders, VOD platforms and world cinema distribution,” says Duffner.

Heritage Online is a B2B platform and Heritage Films right holders can do a selection of their catalogue on the platform for a basic subscription of chf85 (Approx Rs 6400) A premium subscription priced at chf160 (Rs 12,000) for enables right holders to include one film in the Online Screening Room, where potential clients have the chance of streaming a selection of titles.

Subscription for VoD broadcasters is free. By creating a private account via free sign-up, they will be able to access the database and, like all other professionals with an account, take part in virtual meetings, pitches and roundtables. Starting in 2021, Heritage Online will be available via yearly subscription or a Locarno Pro accreditation.

Heritage Online offers film professionals a year-round database where streamers (and other buyers) will be able to watch available titles, consult their detailed technical information, including availability of films in the various territories, and get in touch directly with rights holders.

Heritage Online Project Manager Markus Duffner speaks

What’s the objective behind this? Will it continue beyond Locarno Pro Days?

With the absence of DVD distribution in favor of a dominating Online Streaming market – the distribution window that was dedicated to Heritage Films has shifted towards the second option. However, we think that Streaming Platforms are still looking mainly for recent and new content, rather than filling this gap left by the growing absence of DVDs. There are of course some great exceptions (MUBI, Criterion Channel, i.e.,) and our aim is to connect the Heritage Right Holder with Streaming content buyers (also Theatrical, TV, DVD buyers, Festivals and other film professionals can register to Heritage Online) through a year-round online Database dedicated to Heritage and library content (eligible titles are those that have premiered before 2006).

What’s the response among participating countries?

We have launched only a couple of weeks ago, but we already count registered users from all continents. We got a great feedback from both Right Holders and Streamers (VOD Platforms) since the early days of the project and we’re receiving more requests every day. I believe that the project will live throughout the year, gaining more and more importance with time.

Will Cinemalovers be able to watch films from Heritage Online?

The Online Database and its Screening Room is only accessible to film professionals with a registered account. I believe many of us in this industry are also cinemalovers (smiles).

Transparency at Core of Vista”s Business Practices

admin   February 15, 2018

Vista India Digital Media – a passionate aggregator of content in the digital world – has transparency as the core value that drives all its business practices. Rajiv Raghunathan, CEO, Vista India Digital Media Inc, shares his unique insights on how the company – a Netflix Preferred Vendor – has earned its reputation and how it efficiently manages the whole gamut from acquisition to delivery

What’s the core ideology of Vista India Digital Media? What’s the agenda set for 2018 for Vista?

Our core ideology is to provide content owners with high calibre and secure Localisation, Post Production and Aggregation services.

Our media services include Ingestion, QC, Origination and Conformance of ancillary assets (i.e. Closed Captions, Timed Text, Forced Narratives, Metadata and Artwork design), Packaging and Delivery. We provide these specialised ser-vices to global OTT platforms, studios, broadcasters and independent filmmakers, both in India and overseas.

The VOD ecosystem is expanding rapidly with many top leaders like Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and GooglePlay leading the way. Vista believes that these factors and our ever expanding gamut of services attuned to the platform requirements, position us to play a more involved role from licensing to delivery. As the markets expand rapidly, the corresponding requirement for content is also growing. 4K delivery and growing our localisation services would be our core focus in 2018.

What’s your objective for the European Film Market?

Our objective is to reach out to content owners who would like to avail our distribution and supply chain services. We are also meeting with other OTT delivery facilities to offer our localisation services.

What are the various services offered by Vista to filmmakers? What’s Vista’s global footprint?

We are very passionate to aggregate content in the digital world. As an aggregator, our primary aim is to ensure that good content has a universal reach.

We are a Netflix Preferred Vendor (NPV). We are able to deliver content directly to Netflix and other platforms like Amazon Video Direct, Google Play, etc. As part of our service, we ensure that we cater to all the quality parameters set by premium OTT platforms. We have a dedicated technical team working on every minute aspect.

The Vista team has an extensive foundation in the content production workflows like DI, VFX, Editing, Sound mixing, Mastering, etc, and has adapted to the newer content specifications of the VOD platforms currently focusing on all aspects of delivery to the platforms from QC, Artwork design, Subtitling and Dubbing to Packaging and Delivery.

We have content partners across different parts of the world including Asia, North America and Europe.

Vista India is known for its transparency. What drives this intrinsic value in your business practices?

The media Industry worldwide is plagued with hidden accounting and reporting process. We are determined to change this and have ingrained this into the DNA of our company. Our ground up system architecture has been built to reflect transparency and accurate real time reporting.  We are proud to have been acknowledged by our International platform partners for our in house systems.  Transparency is something we take very seriously even to the smallest level and it is our constant endeveour to work with our engineering team in updating our re-porting process to reflect financial accuracy and reduce human error.  My vision is to build the highest quality organization comparable to the best in the World.

Vista India specialises to adapt a film for streaming (in various platforms – iTunes, Amazon Video Direct, Google Play (transactional)) from quality parameter perspective? Can you explain the process?

Each of these platforms has a very stringent set of delivery parameters that are also frequently updated. Vista specialises in the whole gamut from acquisition to delivery, with an emphasis on quicker turnaround for the online delivery, which results in better monetisation for our con-tent partners. Our extensive experience in the content production workflows and the OTT workflows enables us to tune all aspects of the delivery to the platform requirement in the quickest turnaround time for both the platforms and content partners.

Since Vista is one of the preferred aggregators for Netflix’s SVOD in India, does the final decision rests with Netflix on streaming it on their platform?

Yes, the final decision rests with Netflix.

What do VOD platforms look for in a film?

My general observation in the past 5 years has been that VOD platforms look for content that connects with the audience in terms of emotion, humour or story. Some of the pointers that play an important role would be the production value, strong story line, popularity of the star cast internationally and locally. Box office numbers, the number of festivals the film has travelled and the accolades it has garnered could also play a key role.

Many a time, a film gets rejected for various reasons. From your experience can you provide insights into this issue?

Different platforms have different requirements. However, if one must generalise, many films are rejected because of:

  The content does not pass the QC standard of the platform

  The content does not meet the plat-form’s programming strategy

  The content is not available  exclusively

  There is a disconnect in the offer and expectation of the license fee

What are some of the innovations Vista has adopted in recent times?

We are working on extensive tooling to augment our delivery capabilities in terms of project management, process automation and delivery workflows. We are switching to a full 4K workflow to cater to the newer delivery standards from various digital platforms. Apart from this we are also expanding our service offerings within the SVOD/ OTT spectrum.

Blockchain, Diversity, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence – the Future in Focus at EFM

admin   February 14, 2018

The future of film business and pioneering developments in the media and entertainment worlds are the focus of “EFM Horizon”, successfully launched at last year’s European Film Market (EFM). The progressive market platform has been expanded and will take place this year over the course of five days, from February 16 – 20 at Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin), across the street from the Berlin Marriott Hotel. In keynotes, talks and workshop events, “EFM Horizon” will spotlight hot new themes such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain, and diversity in the film industry. In addition to digital innovations and current developments in technology, “EFM Horizon” will focus on the storytelling of tomorrow and ideas for new business models and strategies. “EFM Horizon” is supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

The “EFM Industry Debates” – officially hosted by IFA, the leading global fair for consumer electronics and home appliances – will take place this year for the first time as part of “EFM Horizon”. The “EFM Industry Debates” highlight improvements and contemporary transformations in the industry. Themes will focus on “The Future of Sales Business”, in cooperation with Screen International and “The Financing and Monetization of Virtual Reality Content” in cooperation with Variety. „Why Diversity Matters“ is the title of the debate in cooperation with Knowledge Partner McKinsey & Company and The Hollywood Reporter. Dame Vivian Hunt, Head of McKinsey UK and Ireland will be presenting the Diversity Report of which she is co-author.

“EFM Horizon” will be also dedicated to a variety of aspects of virtual reality, one of the most exciting technological developments in recent years, and which raises a number of questions for the film industry regarding financing, practicality, technology and storytelling. The “VRNEXT Investors Club”, hosted in cooperation with VRNEXT, will bring together investors, producers, distribution representatives, tech experts and creatives. The “VR NOW Summit”, held in cooperation with Virtual Reality e.V. Berlin Brandenburg, will be made up of keynotes, presentations and a moderated talk on the scope of virtual reality as a technology, as a platform and as a medium. For the first time, the EFM 2018 in cooperation with INVR.Space will present official market screenings for 360° VR projects in the newly constructed “VR Cinema at Marriott”.

“EFM Startups” – the market initiative that brings the film industry into contact with original and lateral thinkers in the creative industries and technology scene – will present ten selected startups from Berlin and Europe as well as two startups from Canada, the focus country at the EFM 2018.

“Propellor FilmTech Hub”, the cooperative project by the EFM, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), the International Documentary Festival Copenhagen (CPH:DOX), and the Berlin innovation studio Cinemathon, invites this year’s EFM visitors to a meetup – a fireside talk with an industry visionary, moderated by Alex Stolz for the podcast series FILM DISRUPTORS.

A new “EFM Horizon” partner this year is the Frankfurt Book Fair, with its innovation platform THE ARTS+, an event with five spotlight presentations and roundtable discussions on artificial intelligence (AI) and its effects on creative processes in literature, art, film and TV. Another new format this year is the event in cooperation with Téléfilm Canada as part of the “Canada in Focus” 2018 programme, which will highlight blockchain in presentations, case studies and a co-creation workshop, presenting participants from film, TV and digital media with the newest applications and technologies. In cooperation with Creative Europe MEDIA, “EFM Horizon” will also host a roundtable networking format for the first time, with the theme “Building a Bridge between Tech & (Online) Distribution”, where film distributors, VOD platforms, online aggregators, startups and tech firms come together to start a conversation about how they want to shape the future of entertainment services and experiences together.

“EFM Horizon” events are open to Market Badge holders (priority) and accredited festival visitors.