When it comes to screeners, distributors are having to square the potential piracy risk with the benefits of getting their film in voters’ DVD players.
But piracy from awards screeners is fairly rare and in an era where campaigning can reach fever pitch months before awards night, the benefits of mailing DVDs are obvious.
Copy protection can also limit the potential for piracy - from a watermark linking the screener to the voter to technology that ensures a disk is unplayable after a set date.
After an expensive launch that saw it sending gratis DVD players to thousands of awards voters, Cinea has this year decided to end its S-View screener programme, citing unfavourable economics (although it remains in the anti-piracy business).
With Bafta screener season still to get underway in earnest - most DVDs arrive in November and December - it remains to be seen how Cinea’s retreat will affect the volume of screeners.
One possible effect could be a reduced number of pre-release films sent out. ‘With Cinea, distributors were comfortable sending out pre-release films because it was a fantastic system,’ says Amanda Berry, chief executive of Bafta.
However, not all distributors used the Cinea system, opting for their own watermarking, or none at all. Pathe UK will be sending a watermarked five-disc set to Bafta members of Michael Clayton, Eastern Promises, Youth Without Youth, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly and Rescue Dawn.
Paramount will be posting out Bee Movie, Shrek The Third, Stardust, Sleuth, Things We Lost In The Fire, No CountryFor Old Men and The Kite Runner. Optimum Releasing will be mailing This Is England, In The Valley Of Elah and Brick Lane.