UpStream Media Takes Off


Earlier this year, Tinopolis-owned Passion Distribution launched UpStream Media as a subsidiary to oversee its FAST and YouTube channel operations. UpStream works to maximize the value of content through protection, distribution and enrichment. The team is able to help clients reach new fans, realize their content’s full potential and build their audience. UpStream was borne out of Passion’s history of distribution, its understanding of the market and the needs of content owners, says Nick Rees, COO at Passion Distribution. He tells World Screen about this turning point for the business.

***Image***WS: What led to the launch of UpStream Media?
REES: We were early adopters of the YouTube content ID system as a way of protecting and providing further monetization opportunities to the content Passion Distribution represented. Out of that, a roster of extremely successful channel brands such as Naked Science, Origin, Filth and OMG Weddings were created, each featuring iconic and award-winning programming like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Traffic Cops.

The channels we created have given us a direct route to a highly engaged global audience and provided a whole new life cycle to the content we manage. It has also meant that we have organically built an in-house team of digital experts and a network of relationships to facilitate our activities from content origination to launching AVOD/FAST channels.

To continue that growth trajectory, we felt that we needed a stand-alone brand that would focus solely on pursuing digital opportunities. Positioning and promoting these digital services separately to our core licensing business provides clarity to conversations as we push for acquisitions, partnerships and representation opportunities specifically for AVOD and FAST rather than under the traditional distribution model.

WS: How is this a turning point for the business?
REES: It’s a turning point for the business as we double down in this area, investing in increasing the size of the team, putting additional resources into the infrastructure to facilitate further growth and extra focus to promote the business and the services we offer. Focusing on specific rights is also taking us into new genres that we would not typically have worked in as well as new funding opportunities for content origination.

WS: What can UpStream Media offer to the landscape?
REES: UpStream is obviously borne out of a strong history of distribution and our deep understanding of the market and the needs of content owners.

We can offer everything from ingesting and managing entire archives of content to creating channels and editing programs to stand out and get discovered. Our team of dedicated digital experts works closely with content owners to develop an ongoing strategy to unlock additional revenue streams.

Our approach is very flexible with windowing and geo-filtering to ensure the interests of the content owners are protected and that we are realizing the full potential of the content, getting it in front of our network of super engaged subscribers and attaining market-leading advertising rates.

WS: What are the company’s ambitions in the FAST space going forward?
REES: We have had a great deal of success with our FAST activities to date and have built good working relationships with all stakeholders in the chain from technology solutions and advertising agencies to the platforms themselves. We plan to continue the rollout of existing FAST channels on to new platforms and also take the knowledge and expertise we have to expand our more successful YouTube channel brands into the FAST ecosystem.

With access to thousands of hours of content spanning multiple genres, we will also be launching new brands and looking for new content opportunities.