Culture is future » Financing and economic models

07.18.2011

Always Further - Referencing, prescription of cultural contents - Interview of Marc Tessier, Video Futur

What kind of referencing proposes an editor of VoD? Are there several types of offers and different ways to prescribe?

The VoD sector is not an example in the sector of referencing and recommendation engine. There is a little number of determining innovations, in a transactional mode (fee for service) or by subscription (Svod).

Some are making an effort of editorialization or specialize themselves in a genre. But in overall, the Internet users are critic towards the presented offers: not enough choices, incomplete proposals, too small catalogues, movies unobtainable, in any websites.

We are finishing a 5-year period when the actors (especially the main US studios and the European producers) have clearly privileged the DVD market the most lucrative for the rights owners. Remember that the price of a 48 hour renting of VoD is equivalent to the price of a DVD location five years ago: the digital content at the same price as the physical one, it is a unique case in the world of cultural goods! That is why most of the business models are showing a deficit, or are not meeting the results expected.

At your opinion, what are the major effects of digital networks on the way that cultural services and products are referenced?

Today, it is more about the content of the offers that is the problem. Websites proposing movies in VoD have a structural inconvenient as they offer a very little number of movies, because the rights gave by the catalogue owner are precarious : about 6 to 8 months by movie.

The agreements between the Svod and the producers covers, in general, a 200 to 300 movies' catalogue in which the renewal is based on a system of a periodic in and out movies.

The Internet users find the standard price of a VoD too high (4,90 Euros), that the offer on the websites is not abundant enough and that the little editorialization makes difficult, for the client, to identify the product of her or his choice. There is not a full use of the digital networks capacities to offer the best possible ergonomics to the Internet users. 

What is the current relationship between publishers and services prescribers? 

In this new world, it is essential for editors of on demand services to access to the larger range of audience. The same goes for producers, whose interest would be to see their movies referenced as well as possible. This double wish is sometimes hindered by the Internet Service Providers (ISP or others) that limit the referencing of independent services when they exploit themselves this new business.

The situation should change with the arrival of the connected TVs (“over the top” offer) even if other intermediaries will emerge, such as Google TV.

In summary the situation is changing. There are signs that we are going to lower prices to adapt to the evolution of consumers on social networks, for VoD fee on service as well as for the SVOD.

To what extent does your cultural offer structure itself regarding the new referencing and prescription mechanisms? 

Video Futur is a company including thirty stores as sole owners and more than 100 franchised stores. We observe two types of cultural practices. On the one hand, a permanent renewal of the catalogue related to consumers' preference for new products (80% of the viewing are two months after the publication), on the other hand a more marginal phenomenon called “long tail” on a small number of cinematographic content (heritage, memory) prescribed by Video Futur.

Video Futur operates in two markets : the DVD rental and two modes: fee on services and subscription. The idea is to combine these different elements to give a real and relevant choice to the consumer, while anticipating the price that will prevail in the market.