Producers tap into VOD with Web site


CANNES -- With a theatrical countdown, Spanish producers on Wednesday launched the international Web site to facilitate the safe, legal and quality downloading of movies.

Producers' Rights Management Organization EGEDA backs the initiative under its EGEDA Digital label but has opened the site internationally and welcomes producers worldwide to participate.

"We have created a seal of quality for downloading films in a secure system that responds to the demand of those who want quality on the Internet," said Ricardo Fraguas, head of Content Strategic Advisors.

The move looks to harness VOD rights, strengthen producers' position in negotiations with distributors and tap into the wave of downloaded movies from a position of power.

"As an independent producer from Denmark, I realized that VOD is the future. There's a fantastic future, full of wealth, in VOD. The question was how to do it," Bo Ehrhardt of Nimbus Films said on behalf of the Danish digital rights platform E-Films, explaining how E-Films came to the EGEDA initiative.

E-Films has united with EGEDA, offering Danish content for Filmotech. Ehrhardt appealed to other producers to follow suit.

"Rights holders and producers need to join forces to survive," he said. "If not, we will be run over by the big distributors that will tell us what we have to do."

The site, which has 250 titles, will include features, documentaries and animation and will initially charge €1 for rentals and €5.80 for the sale of the films in its catalog, which includes hits like Alejandro Amenabar's "The Others" and "The Sea Inside" and Julio Medem's "Sex and Lucia" and classics like Luis Garcia Berlanga's "Welcome Mr. Marshall."

Fraguas said the portal, which launched only in Spain in late March, had lifted the international blockade and was available worldwide.

EGEDA does not charge producers for the digitalization of their product, with 70% of the revenue going to the producer and 30% reinvested in Filmotech.

Not content to simply keep abreast of the opportunities in the digital world, EGEDA has started talks with Yahoo, Google and other titans to develop new marketing -- including the introduction of hyperlinks to the Filmotech portal.

"Our aim is not the business. The business will be for the producer," Fraguas said. "It's to step ahead and create a safe way to download quality films."