Can Survive Rough Waters Now,
and Rougher Waters Ahead
Stephen J. Kerr & Sarah Nean Bruce
This past month our firm polled about a dozen mid-sized film and television distributors to get their take on the current state of the industry. We have been doing these periodic state of the industry reports for more than 20 years. Here is what we recently found: while independent film distribution has rarely been an easy business, never has the path ahead looked so difficult.
The prognosis for 2019 is much the same.
One of the bright spots continues to be Asia, where the gargantuan China market is just opening up to more Western IP. Any foreign sales company without an Asia sales specialist on staff is missing out.
Film and television distributors know that they have some difficult choices in front of them. Do they stay the course and just hope they will acquire breakout hits to give them the revenue to keep going? Or, do they retrench and diversify their companies to stay competitive? The answer of course is – both.
In the 1990’s our firm was heavily involved in publishing industry M&A activity. By 2000, we saw the consolidation of that industry happening, and we advised many of our clients to sell or merge – which is exactly what most of them did. Today the publishing industry is smaller, but healthier, because many of the smaller companies either left the business, sold out, or merged into financially stable ones.
From 1998 through 2009, we were instrumental in selling and merging numerous home entertainment companies. Many had risen up in the 1980s and early 1990s with the advent of the VHS/DVD business, and reached their peak in the late 1990s and 2000s. We witnessed – and were glad to assist in – many payouts in the millions to home entertainment entrepreneurs who changed their course, capitalized on the trend – and then retired with hefty payouts.
For almost a decade we have been cautioning the film industry that there are “still too many film distributors in the world, all vying for a shrinking number of marketable films.” We have often suggested that merging a number of film distributors together would be a smart move for the entire industry.
“I still think that while the film industry would benefit from stronger, better funded distributors and sales agencies, the ones that remain have proven themselves highly adaptive to the new digital delivery marketplace.
Our firm, Bel Âge Médias (B.Â.M.}, is a company specializing in providing Business Development, Branding Guidance, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) expertise, Exit Strategies, and Investment Banking services. Additionally, under out ongoing Streaming / OTT / 4K / Ultra HD initiative, we continue pursuing strategic alignments with high-end, entertainment technology providers, and explore low-cost alternatives for theatrical, televised, streamed, and online distribution of 4K and 2K films & television programs globally.
Bel Âge Médias • Santa Monica, California
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Stephen(@)BelAgeMedias.com • Sarah(@)BelAgeMedias.com
LinkedIn-Stephen J. Kerr – https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenjkerr
LinkedIn Sarah Nean Bruce – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahneanbruce
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1 - ARE THERE STILL TOO MANY FILM/TV DISTRIBUTORS? | BMC Online – 03/06/2017 by Stephen J. Kerr
2 - TO EXIT, OR NOT TO EXIT – STRATEGIES FOR FILM DISTRIBUTORS | BMC Online – 09/18/2017 by Stephen J. Kerr
3 - HOW TO BUY SELL MERGE OR VALUE A FILM DISTRIBUTOR |
BMC Online – 06/06/2017 by Stephen J. Kerr
4 - VALUING A SINGLE FILM OR ENTIRE FILM LIBRARY (Updated) | BMC Online – 04/04/2017 by Stephen J. Kerr
IMAGE-Sunset Sailing Boat-675847_1280_CC0 – via CC0 Creative Commons
PHOTO_Sarah&Stephen.png – via BelÂgeMédias
LinkedIn-Stephen J. Kerr – https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/stephenjkerr
LinkedIn Sarah Nean Bruce – https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/sarahneanbruce
BAM News – https://belagemedias.com/news/