We launch together with Europa Distribution 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 speak with Robert Berberih, the head of Continental Film, a leading distribution company in Croatia and one of the main players in the region, focusing both on major (Sony) and independent films.
FNE: How important is VOD for your business? Does it bring in an important part of your income?
Robert Berberih: Continental film was very strong in video rentals in our territories in the 90’s and especially in the early 2000’s. However, VOD still hasn’t that big share in our business; it did not continue the tradition that was set by video rentals. VOD has a solid income, but nothing too drastic. Maybe one of the reasons for it lays in the fact that only one provider did invest in VOD promotion so far. Hopefully, others will soon follow its example.
FNE: Where do you see VOD in five years from now?
R.B.: Unfortunately, as long as there is a piracy problem (and it is still a big problem), I don’t see any big impact of VOD in near future. Only after some drastic measures are established we can expect a positive push of the VOD; until then I’m afraid it’s all going to be more or less the same as it is today or even a bit in decline.
FNE: How can the VOD distribution for the independent European films be improved?
R.B.: Although providers today have some kind of commitment regarding the number of European films they have to have in their offers, bigger engagement on their part is needed for VOD distribution. Since they don’t have any kind of support from any of the funds, maybe the answer is in establishing some kind of cooperation with the funds and therefore bringing VOD distribution on a whole new level.
FNE: What was your biggest hit in the last 12 months? Did you use any particular strategy?
R.B.: We had a few successful films, but I especially would like to point out three domestic titles: Nenad Djuric's Hiljadarka / A Thousand, Milan Karadzic's Gorcilo and Boris Petkovič’s Utrip ljubezni /The Beat of Love. A Thousand (Heft Production Sarajevo) is a Bosnian feature film which had its premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival and which was later distributed not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in all the other countries in our region (ex-Yugoslavia territories – Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia).
The same happened with the two other titles with the only difference that Gorcilo, produced in Montenegro, had the premiere there and that The Beat of Love (Gustav Film) is a Slovenian movie so it had its premiere in its own country.
However, all the three movies had the same strategy: a big premiere in its domestic territory and then a couple of local premieres in other countries with the cast and crew. Besides the domestic titles we had a great success with Gaspar Noé's Love which was distributed in almost all the above mentioned territories (except for Serbia where it will be released in November 2015). The movie had some very creative and interesting marketing and PR campaign, so we’ve managed to intrigue the audience with it.
Continental filmZavrtnica 1710000 Zagreb, CroatiaPhone: + 385 1 6194 660Fax: + 385 1 6194 663www.continental-film.hr robert.berberih@continental-film