Throughout its 30 years in business, Artist View Entertainment has had to adapt its strategies to the changes in windowing of product, navigating theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free TV, cable TV, pay TV and all forms of VOD. With the DVD business having seen a period of decline, and AVOD and SVOD continuing to grow, the company is again shifting its approach to stay relevant as part of the digital world. President Scott J. Jones tells World Screen Weekly about the opportunities in the marketplace.
WS: What are the biggest shifts that the last year has brought?
JONES: I would say the biggest shifts, actually, should come as no surprise. The AVOD and SVOD businesses are continuing to grow, the DVD business is still alive but continuing to fight to stay so, and the television business is going through all sorts of changes, depending on which territory we are talking about. I believe the lockdowns due to Covid-19 helped to accelerate these changes in the market, but in fairness, they were clearly going to happen anyway.
WS: How has Artist View met these shifts?
JONES: We have made good decisions and shifted along the lines necessary to stay relevant and part of the new digital world. We are also focusing a lot more on in-house production and co-productions in order to make sure we have product that is needed by the marketplace. I’m excited about the second half of 2021, when a number of these projects will be presented to the marketplace.
WS: What are you hearing from buyers that they’re looking for at present?
JONES: As the marketplace continues to be more niche-driven, different buyers are looking for different products. There continues to be a need for romantic comedies, female-driven thrillers and holiday movies, but there is also a need for strong intelligent dramas and family product. I think that documentaries are also more sought-after in this market than they have been in the past.
WS: How is Artist View approaching the shift in windowing that the marketplace is seeing?
JONES: We are approaching these new windows with an open mind and feel that it will still be a few years before windowing of rights settles down. In certain areas and markets, non-exclusive rights have become a much more acceptable way to do business, and that is helping us to map out some of our windows, at least in the short term.
WS: Are you seeing the AVOD business accelerating?
JONES: Yes, there is no doubt that the AVOD business has given independent filmmakers a new avenue to generate income. I don’t believe that it has replaced the DVD business at this point, but over time it may be the most important platform for many smaller films, especially the ones that are not going to be accepted in the television business.
WS: What are you focusing on for the company in the months ahead?
JONES: As we finish our 30th year in business, the only thing I can be sure of is that things will continue to change. From a business point of view, we will continue to look for and be involved with product that we believe the market will acquire and profit from. Hopefully, the world will continue to open up in a safe way. Cinemas will reopen, and buyers will find their own niche markets within their territories. It’s our job to pay attention to the needs of our buyers and continue to shift in line with the buyers we are fortunate enough to do business with.