We launch a new chapter in our Distributor of the Month section focusing on new trends and challenges of film distribution. In the coming months we will talk with European distributors about the digital single market and the VOD, trying to understand how they see the future through these lenses.
This month we talk with Marcin Piasecki, Managing Director of Kino Świat, the leading film distributor in Poland. Founded in 2001, Kino Świat deals with theatrical distribution,home entertainment production and distribution,Video on Demand and TV sales, and is also active in the field of film production and coproduction, both domestically and internationally.
FNE: What impact would the digital single market have on your work?
Marcin Piasecki: The Digital Single Market has already influenced our work. Several third party companies contacted us within last year to obtain global or European VOD rights to our films in Polish language as well as films in national languages.
We have started to acquire such rights since then. We plan to increase the acquisition of global rights for Polish films as well as foreign films in Polish language.
FNE: How important is VOD for your business? Does it constitute an important part of your income?
Marcin Piasecki: VOD is very important to our business especially considering drastically declining revenues from the DVD market. Unfortunately there is still a great amount of piracy which kills the legal VOD market.
FNE: Where do you see VOD it in five years from now?
Marcin Piasecki: Within five years VOD could overgrow TV market especially if the war against illegal websites will become more effective and the amount of piracy decreases to the US’ number (5% instead of 70%). New and cheaper technologies coming into our market, especially broadband internet will increase the coverage and availability of VOD in Poland.
VOD is a more natural way of accessing the films for young audience. In five years a new generation will start appearing on the VOD market and the actual generation (the so called “generation head-down”) will start to earn money, so they will buy even more VOD.
FNE: How can VOD distribution for the independent European films be improved?
Marcin Piasecki: We do not have a problem distributing European films in Poland. Our main obstacle is the foreign distributors’ financial expectations. Producers and distributors forget two things. We have four times lower income per citizen than they do, so the price for TVOD in Poland is lower, average for TVOD premiere is 2.5 Euro, for library it is less than 0.5 Euro.
Another obstacle connected with income is the piracy. 47% of the Polish population have pirated at least one movie in their lifetime. Illegal websites are not even recognised by Poles as illegal. Piracy decreases our income as well as the legal development of this service. We have to fight against illegal distribution by making our prices low.
We are rejecting a lot of European offers based on strictly financial calculations. The minimum guarantees expected by European producers, especially from Western Europe, are so high that we distribute less films than we want, selecting only those with higher commercial value. We would love to distribute more European classical or independent or festival films or new TV series!
FNE: What was your biggest hit in the last 12 months? Did you use any particular strategy?
Marcin Piasecki: The bestselling Polish movie on VOD was Ryszard Zatorski’s Polish rom-com Good Morning, I Love You / Dzień dobry, kocham Cię produced by Figaro Film Production Ltd. , Non Stop Film Service , Arek Trawiński & C. The biggest foreign movie hit on VOD platform was the family comedy Nicholas on Holidays / Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas by Laurent Tirard.
As for the strategy, we always try to participate with our partners as much as possible in promoting the movie, meaning cooperation with the VOD services organising thematic competitions for potential viewers, associated with the film or the director or the main actor of the movie.
Similar actions are organized with thematic newspapers - short articles about the film plus a contest with prizes. We constantly look for partners willing to work with us and often our partners support us by recording their own commercials, TV for thematic channels (cable TV).