Friday, July 19, 2024

Very few Quebec films on US streaming platforms

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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The 30 Quebec titles shown on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix total just 0.1% of the Canadian show, according to data it collected. duty. Quebec film and TV series distributors are still struggling to sell their products to these American broadcast giants.

To get to these numbers, duty Browse in September full catalogs of products offered in the country by Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. It is constantly updated on JustWatch, a search engine that puts on the Internet the available titles on about two dozen streaming platforms, including those of American giants.

Note: A number of Quebec sufferers are anemic there. In September, it was not on Disney Plus, which has been in the country since 2019. For its part, Amazon Prime Video only offers five productions in Quebec out of 1,400 titles in its Canadian catalog.

Netflix has only significantly increased its offerings in Quebec. California has more than doubled the number of productions here in the past two years, from 5 to nearly 30.

Many of the titles now available on the California platform come from a recent agreement with Les Films Seville. Netflix’s main distributor in Quebec has launched an offensive in recent months by adapting its distribution model to the reality of platforms, explains Patrick Roy, president of Seville Films.

The company has provided online broadcasters with a selection of 100 theatrical films over the past decade. From the start, we told them that if they wanted to make offers on these movies, we’d prefer a non-exclusive model. This means that other platforms can offer these films at the same time,” says Mr. Roy.

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“Historically, all of our partners – broadcasters and platforms – buy the exclusive rights. That is why some films cannot be found on the platforms and Quebec content is less present there,” he explains.

The Seville Films approach paid off. The distributor announced in July that nearly 70 Quebec films — which have grossed $110 million at the box office — will be shown on Netflix, Club Illico, Crave and ICI Extra. “We are still in discussions with Amazon, and I have high hopes that we can come to an agreement,” notes Patrick Roy.

However, the company is in a special position. In 2007, it was bought by American Entertainment One (eOne), and it was bought by itself in 2019 by Hasbro, the gaming and gaming giant.

“It’s certainly true that when you have a certain weight – which is the same in other industries – you can negotiate things that are impossible to do for small businesses. We have history and we have a folder,” he points out.

The birth of the compilers

The reality is clearly very different for smaller Quebec distributors still struggling to get the attention of the American giants. “It’s hard to get contacts [pour les joindre] And to be in touch with them, both with Amazon Prime and Netflix,” confirms Chantal Bagy, CEO of Maison4tiers.

The stakeholders of these multinational corporations not only change regularly, but are generally located outside the country. “Apart from the agreement between Les Films Seville and Netflix, we can’t say it works easily,” she notes. It also specifies that Netflix appears to be more interested than its international competitors in financing local production and purchasing Quebec content.

To give them a voice, a new type of medium has emerged: assemblers. These last ones, so to speak, are the “distributors of the distributors,” explains Jean-Christophe J. Lamontani, president and founder of h264 Distribution. “The compilers were invented a bit by the platforms themselves to simplify the loading process.”

It would be too complicated for the US giants to negotiate with all distributors on a global scale, Mr. Lamontani estimates. Instead, they decided to grant licenses to the target companies. They told others, “If you want to deliver content to us, go to these companies,” he sums up.

When it was created in 2015, h264 Distribution—which at the time specialized in distributing short films—found that the collectors were roughly American and European. Since then, the company has taken the necessary steps to obtain assembler permits from the platforms.

Each of them decides how he wants to work. It is not a process that has been standardized at all. It’s a way of doing things that started in the music and books sector in the beginning – because they saw their digital revolution just before the cinema. “

Quebec’s offering is set to increase, because the platforms’ interest in Quebec French language content is real, he says. During a meeting in Los Angeles with Amazon representatives, h264 Distribution thought it was taking the opportunity to offer English-language titles and thus be more attractive.

everyone of them [les entreprises des agrégateurs] Decide how you want to work. It is not a process that has been standardized at all. It’s a way of doing things that started in the music and books sector in the beginning – because they saw their digital revolution just before the cinema.

“At one point, people at Amazon stopped us and said, ‘You’re from Quebec, what’s your content in French? Because that’s what we want…’ Their goal was to work with us because we have one foot in this culture and we can provide access to that content. -he confirms.

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