Pathe UK has confirmed the structure of its in-house distribution team, following its move to pull out of third party distribution and tie up with Warner Entertainment UK (WEUK)to handle sales in the UK.
The Pathe UK team will continue to be led by John Fletcher as managing director of distribution. Lee Bye, deputy managing director for distribution, Alasdair Nicolson, marketing manager, Emma Taylor, creative co-ordinator and Katy Morris as publicity co ordinator, will also remain with Pathe.
However three marketing staff have been made redundant following the deal with WEUK and a further six sales staff are in consultation over their roles potentially being made redundant.
Fletcher and his team, who were behind the marketing campaign for award-winning Danny Boyle movie Slumdog Millionaire, will handle an increased slate of Pathe-produced movies over the coming years.
‘We intend to produce somewhere between four to five movies a year’, said Fletcher.
This compares with just one film - The Duchess - produced by Pathe UK last year.
‘Last year we dealt with 15 films through Pathe UK distribution but the vast majority were acquired’, Fletcher told ScreenDaily.com.
‘Now we will be focussing on Pathe productions and overseeing all key marketing, promotions and distribution decisions around those films. The p&a will be set and funded by us for Pathe films.
‘We want to make it clear to directors and people who deal with Pathe that when it comes to the films we produce, it is business as usual in terms of the key people handling marketing’.
Francois Ivernel, executive vice president of Pathe, said the deal with Warner reflected the business realities of the UK and would not be repeated in France.
He said high prices paid by distributors who are competing for films and low prices offered by broadcasters for television deals are key factors in the decision. ‘On the one hand you have prices being driven up in the market place and on the other hand you have revenues going down because TV buyers pay a lot less’ says Ivernel.
While he sees UK production as more profitable than the acquisition business, Pathe’s French operation is not going to follow suit.
‘In France we are a large player whereas in the UK, the market is dominated by American majors. We need to align ourselves with one of them. It’s the same with Fox.’(Pathe’s arrangement with Twentieth Century Fox, which sees Fox exploit DVD rights, will continue.)
‘Like in any market, there is a balance of power when you are 10-15% of the market as a distributor, when you are Fox or Warner Bros who are in a stronger position. When you are 2-3% it helps to align with a studio.’