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Rotterdam reviews VoD initiative

A year after its launch, VOD initiative IFFR In the Cloud is looking to boost viewers by increasing its online visibility.

IFFR In The Coud, Rotterdam’s collaboration with digital distributor Under The Milky Way is now a year old – and lessons are being learned on both sides on how to maximize the impact of the festival’s films in their own iTunes room.

“It’s not like you press a button and the film is online,” said Jacobine van der Vloed, manager of IFFR In The Cloud.

Jeremy Teicher’s Tall As The Baobab Tree was the first IFFR title to appear on iTunes through IFFR In The Cloud. Initially, the film was available in Belgium and Luxembourg and sold slowly. The Netherlands was added in January and the aim is to spread to around 40 territories.

The attraction of the scheme for Rotterdam producers is obvious.

They don’t have to make an investment up front. Under The Milky Way and the festival pay for films to be put up on iTunes.  The average cost per title for uploading, encoding and providing two subtitle tracks is around €795 per film. Once 400 units are sold, the rights holder stands to begin to make money.

Under The Milky Way has worldwide connections from London to Paris to Tokyo – there is therefore the chance to reach a global audience.

More and more IFFR titles are now being added to iTunes. They come from the Festival’s Tiger competition and its Bright Futures and Spectrum sidebars.

Given the huge amount of material available on VOD, the challenge is to get the films on iTunes noticed.

“It’s not only about the digital distribution of these films. It is really about how people find them,” van der Vloed observes.

By marketing and branding the films together under the Rotterdam flag, IFFR and Under The Milky Way hope to make them far more conspicuous than they would be if launched on VOD on their own.

Why iTunes rather than the many other online sites available?

“iTunes is one of the most well known platforms. If you want to have visibility, I think you should really go with a large fish,” said Melissa van der Schoor.

In the long run, the films could spread further than iTunes. According to van der Vloed, Under The Milky Way has deals with Google Play, Amazon, Daily Motion and Vudu among others.

“We offer the rights holder the possibility also to have it (the film) on those platforms but then there are sometimes additional costs involved because the encoding house needs to deliver different materials to different platforms.”

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