Film Licensing In Flux: Are You Geared Up For The Shift?


Streaming has ushered in fresh opportunities for showcasing your content. Yet, the environment constantly evolves, resulting in a heightened level of competition, with everyone on the hunt for the next blockbuster to boost their earnings. 

Simultaneously, many studios are focusing on more direct-to-consumer models instead of selling titles to streaming services—and they are licensing more content to their own FAST or paid channels once third-party licensing agreements expire. Today, pay-one windows may remain in-house or even wind up at a competing streaming service. Pay-two windows are winding up in-house more frequently. We’re also seeing more bundles where revenue is calculated based on licensing fees and titles in the bundle.

It gets complex fast. It requires careful monitoring and tracking to maximize rights and decide where to license titles to ensure you extract the full value from your contractual agreements.

The Streaming Environment Continues to Evolve

There are still question marks about how the streaming industry will shake out. Most experts believe only some D2C channels will survive. Consumers are starting to cut back and reduce spending amid rising streaming costs, inflation, and uncertainty. For streamers, churn rates are rising. 

Have streaming services plateaued? Even amid intense competition for subscribers, streamers are starting to pull back on spending from years past. As an industry, more than 550 scripted shows were produced last year (not including all the unscripted projects), but 2023 has already seen a significant reduction. 

While streaming growth looks to continue for several years, some speculate that only three major entertainment companies can sustain themselves in the long run. Acquisition and mergers further complicate rights management.

Still, within this environment, there are opportunities. For example, as streamers try to find the path to profitability, new deals are signed, including licensing titles for first-run on competing platforms or licensing non-exclusive rights to multiple partners. A pay-one window might be exclusive, but content may spread across multiple platforms as they expire, or the same titles might appear in various places. 

Entertainment companies will also have to decide whether licensing content to other providers is more profitable or keeping it in-house on D2C platforms.

Increasing Complexity in Rights, Royalties, and Licensing

As the streaming wars continue to heat up and new deal configurations are in place, the complexity of managing film rights, royalties, and licensing is increasing significantly. 

To maximize revenue, companies may need to consider tiered access to film libraries or limited-run licensing on key titles, which further increase complexity based on different distribution formulas and rights management. 

As the industry continues to shake out, companies need the best possible data for aggressive entertainment rights management to make informed decisions and be proactive about rights management.

Media companies need to:

  • Build Flexibility Into Rights Management

Traditional licensing models may no longer be sufficient amid marketplace volatility. You need to adapt to changing market demands and manage rights across multiple platforms, regions, and tiers.

  • Find New Revenue Streams

You can’t afford to do business as usual. Besides being flexible in your negotiations, you need to explore new revenue streams from new distribution sources. This requires deeper data analytics to understand market trends and viewing patterns to decide content licensing, distribution strategies, and pricing models.

  • Adopt a Modern, Robust Entertainment Rights Solution

Trying to manage the complexity of today’s film rights using a spreadsheet, manual processes, or homegrown systems no longer cuts it. You need a modern entertainment rights solution to track every nuance of your deals, ensure you’re getting paid accurately, and find new opportunities to grow your revenue.

Make the Shift With FilmTrack

FilmTrack has been evolving with the industry for more than 25 years and is the global standard in entertainment rights management and financials. Whether you are a boutique or enterprise media company managing hundreds or thousands of titles, FilmTrack helps you navigate the increasingly complex landscape.

You can simplify managing and licensing your intellectual property, ensure accurate royalty ins/outs, and make more money off your library. Reach out to our team and discover what's possible for your business. 

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FilmTrack is an RBC Company and subsidiary of City National Bank Member FDIC. City National Bank is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

This article is for general information and education only. It is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of FilmTrack. FilmTrack does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates or projections given are those of the authors or persons quoted as of the date of the article with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy  or change. This article may not be reproduced, distributed or further published by any person without the written consent of FilmTrack. Please cite source when quoting.

FilmTrack's Contracts & Availabilities Manager

FilmTrack's Contracts & Availabilities Manager

Increase revenue, get to market quicker, and optimize the value of your library. Our Contracts and Availabilities Manager provides automated, real-time contract and availabilities data across your entire catalog.

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FilmTrack's Financials Manager

Enjoy the most robust financial tools in the industry, built to handle the most complex calculations. Whether it’s circular deductions, financial waterfalls, or royalties in/out, you can relax and know that everything is being split and paid accurately.

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FilmTrack's Brand Licensing Manager

FilmTrack's Brand Licensing Manager

Increase revenue, save time, and measure the success of your brand licensing program. RoyaltyZone, a FilmTrack solution, makes it easy for you to automate your business and take your licensing game to the next level.

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