Auditors argue that in the electronic age there will be a new transparency


Rights holders might have been expected to regard the brave new world of digital, video on demand (VoD) and gaming with mounting alarm. The growth in distribution outlets would surely add to the complexity of revenue collection and rights enforcement. How do you audit cyberspace?

In fact, collection agents and auditors welcome the new-media landscape — in the electronic age, they argue, there will be a new transparency.

“[The digital age] offers the market a great opportunity. Finally, we have a way of getting some hardcore data on how the film is performing and who’s downloading it, how many times it has been downloaded and in what patterns,” notes Rebecca Roffey of Protocol International.

VoD platforms such as Filmflex actually encourage the co-owning of information. It is obvious the paper trail will soon diminish. Distributors, meanwhile, look to online distribution to compensate for the slow decline in DVD and the reluctance of TV broadcasters to buy their wares.

What is clear, though, is that this is a market at a very early stage. “It all starts with negotiating the contracts. Negotiating a contract means you have to define the media,” says Tim Haslam of HanWay Films, adding that this includes new media. “How do you define all the various different parts of new media. What is video on demand? And how is it accounted for?”