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Q: Rights for Distribution ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Rights for Distribution
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: gsr721-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 10 May 2005 23:24 PDT
Expires: 09 Jun 2005 23:24 PDT
Question ID: 520295
If I want sell movies via an internet site how do I aquire rights to
that kind of mass distribution?  What is the cost per movie generaly?
What kind of Licence would I need form the movie studios as far as
this kind of distribution is allow?

Clarification of Question by gsr721-ga on 10 May 2005 23:32 PDT
Also if you could give me contact info on the right people to reach in
all the major studios; ie: paramount, disney, MGM, sony, etc

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 11 May 2005 09:23 PDT
Hi! How are you planning to sell the movies? Download? DVD? Tape? 
Any particular genre of films? cath-ga

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 11 May 2005 10:19 PDT

Also, you specifically want to SELL, not RENT? cath-ga

Clarification of Question by gsr721-ga on 11 May 2005 11:16 PDT
I would sell the movie and an on demand service via
internet. The rights to it would be the same no?

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 11 May 2005 15:10 PDT
Thanks for your response. Still not clear if you mean DOWNLOADS or
HARD COPIES, or both. Which would you like to do? cath-ga

Clarification of Question by gsr721-ga on 11 May 2005 16:36 PDT
It would not be any kind of hard copy all via internet

Clarification of Question by gsr721-ga on 11 May 2005 16:39 PDT
To further explain it would be selling and renting but all done via
internet download.  A secure way of course so no one could download
more copies and and upload

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 13 May 2005 19:01 PDT
Hi gsr721:

I know now what kind of license you need, and have contacted the 
major studios to find out whether they're willing to negotiate
for those rights, and who to talk to. I hope to be able to get
back to you early next week. Thanks for your patience. cath-ga
(p.s.) not really looking for clarification, just wanted to let
you know.

Clarification of Question by gsr721-ga on 13 May 2005 19:55 PDT
Thanks so such....Let me know when you have the info.

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 18 May 2005 22:21 PDT

Hi, I've heard back from five of the six studios. I've got a contact
with the sixth, just waiting for confirmation from her...I'll probably
be able to give you your answer Thurs. cath-ga

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 19 May 2005 13:01 PDT
Hi gsr,

The woman I need to hear from is out of the office now 'til next
week. I have the rest of the answer ready for you, except that
6th studio contact confirmation. 

Are you in a hurry to get started? Would you like me to post the
answer today, and add her info next week when she gets back to me?
Or would you rather wait for the full answer next week? Either
way is fine with me. cath-ga

Clarification of Question by gsr721-ga on 19 May 2005 13:26 PDT
We can just do what you have now and do the rest later next week
Subject: Re: Rights for Distribution
Answered By: cath-ga on 19 May 2005 14:34 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear gsr721,

thanks very much for your question! Your idea to sell movies on the 
Internet is indeed a wave of the future. There are at least two major
operations doing this legally now,  Movielink and CinemaNow, and other
smaller ones as well.

The type of license that you will need to sell and rent Video on Demand 
by downloading is a Video on Demand Internet License (commonly referred 
to as a VOD Internet License.)

If you do decide to sell video this way, security, or digital rights
management (DRM), is going to be your biggest challenge. I'm told the
studios are still very leery of piracy, and will send a technology team 
to investigate that you have the type of secure technology they
require to download encoded films.

To negotiate rights to distribute movies via Internet you can contact:

Walt Disney Studios/Buena Vista Television

Seth Zachary is Director of Pay Television at Buena Vista, the company 
that does distribution for Disney.

You can phone him at 818-460-7518.

Seth Zachary says he is the person to talk to about downloading
video RENTALS on the Internet. He can put you in touch with 
the person involved with SALES. 

Paramount Home Entertainment:

Steve Madoff is Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs
He is willing to talk with you. His number is 323-956-5740.

His e-mail is:

Madoff volunteered that currently his office gets about 3 requests of 
this nature each week. Currently they will license some people and not 
others. You would have to satisfy Paramount's questions about your 
financial capital, whether you have high-security technology, etc. In 
answer to your question about the cost/movie, he said that most of the 
VOD deals are revenue-sharing, i.e. based on a percentage of your take. 
But, he said, everything is negotiable. (This is the same "price/movie" 
answer I got from others.)

Warner Brothers:

This is the person you should talk with at Warner Brothers:

Andrew Mellett, VP Sales, VOD & PPV.  
818 977-8280

Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer

Trish Francis, VP of Entertainment, Legal. I"m told it would be her 
department that you deal with, since she handles licensing. However she 
is out this week, so hasn't returned my e-mail. I reached her office at:

I'll confirm with you when she gets back to me whether she's the right

20th Century Fox

The response I got from 20th Century Fox was negative. One of their
lawyers, Mark Myerson phoned me and told me that Fox isn't interested
in negotiating VOD licensing with anyone since they are planning to
do it themselves. They apparently do already have a distribution
rights agreement with CinemaNow. I would not take this as a permanent
situation though, everything is changing in this field.


Neal Skuro, the Manager of Retail Marketing for Sony Home Entertainment,
was very negative about Sony licensing movies for Internet download. He 
told me that right now there's nothing Sony is willing to do to license 
that kind of distribution. His quote, "Downloads, how many people want to 
watch movies on a computer?"

If I were you, I'd go ahead and contact the accessible people at the
first three studios. Once you have jumped through their hoops, you
will have learned enough to come across as a legitimate agent, and
can then approach the less welcoming people at the other studios.

Here is some background information I found during my preliminary

Movielink has been doing this since 2002. see "Movielink Ready to Roll"

According to Jeff Levy's KNX Radio "Show Notes," from March 19 adn 20,

"Four of the biggest studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures,
Universal Studios, and Warner Brothers, jointly back Internet movie
download service Movielink, and Disney has launched trials for an
over-the-air download
service called MovieBeam."

However, Disney's three month experiment with Moviebeam is already
over. They pulled the plug on it last month:

Tivo and Netflix have also been working together since September of
'04 to provide a movie-on-demand digital download service via the

"If you look at the Internet, it's really just starting out to be a 
delivery mechanism for content. Long term, that's the way we think movies 
will get delivered," said Daver, who just joined Netflix this week as head 
of corporate communications. "We have a strategy to deliver movies across 
the Internet, and TiVo is one step in that direction."

(Shernaz) Daver declined to specify a definitive release date for the 
service, but Netflix has said previously that it will have some
digital distribution of films by the end of 2005."

Also see "Warner Bros License films to Netflix VOD partnership" at

However, the Tivo/Netflix venture is not off the ground yet.

I also pulled up some good info on what you would do if you wanted to 
sell hard copies of movies. (If you change your mind about the VOD,I can 
tack that on at no cost, if you're interested.)

If anything in my answer is unclear, please feel free to hit the
"Clarify Answer"  button before you rate my work.

Good luck in your venture!


search strategy:

movie distribution rights
internet movie sales
internet movie sites
internet movie download

extensive use of the Hollywood Creative Directory for phone numbers

Request for Answer Clarification by gsr721-ga on 24 May 2005 18:03 PDT
sorry it took me so long to respond...Thank you for your great
response.  Let me know what other info you can find....also I rated
the question but cant seem to tip anymore...Maybe there is a way to
add a tip now?

Clarification of Answer by cath-ga on 24 May 2005 21:47 PDT

Thanks for your kind rating and the offer of a tip!

I did finally reach the woman at MGM today who had not responded
to my calls and e-mail. She told me that MGM has sold most
of its catalogue to Sony for distribution. She gave me another
name at Sony for licensing, a woman named Thanda Belker: 310-244-4609. 
Since the other person I spoke to at Sony was very negative, perhaps this 
gal will be more receptive, both about Sony films and their newly acquired 
MGM stuff. Worth a try for you!

As for the tip, once your rate the answer, you can't tip on that
question anymore. But you could post another question, "for cath-ga only."
Then say anything, such as "How'd you like a tip?" Then I'd answer it,
"You bet!" (not to sound too greedy!) That way, you could attach 
whatever tip you'd like to the $2.00 question. Google Answers gets
25% of our question fee, but researchers get 100% of our tips.

Thanks very much for taking the trouble to ask. Sorry it's a little
inconvenient to add later. I will be sure and forward to you any
other late responses to my calls and e-mails. Good luck!

Request for Answer Clarification by gsr721-ga on 25 May 2005 00:21 PDT
I went ahead and ask another question.  Thank you and keep me updated
if you find out anymore info

Clarification of Answer by cath-ga on 25 May 2005 08:56 PDT
I answered your other question. Thanks!! cath
gsr721-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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