Tired of facing the same rights issues with broadcasters, a newly formed union called the European Coordination of Audiovisual Distributors (ECAD) is taking a stand. ‘Each European distributor fights roughly the same fights and we want to preserve our companies’ place in the market,’ says Guy Knafo, GM of Paris-based distrib 10 Francs. ‘The channels want more and more programming and we agree to sell more and more, but we need the rights to be valorized and evaluated.’
A member of Le Syndicat des Entreprises de Distribution de Programmes Audiovisuels (SEDPA) – a like-minded French union for distribs that formed a year ago – Knafo organized a meeting of his European colleagues at MIP to officially launch ECAD. ‘We want to optimize the quality of program sales and the rights,’ he says. For instance, if a European distributor makes a sale for three runs over two years and the runs happen within the first year, ECAD’s members believe they should then be able to reclaim the rights to try and sell them again elsewhere.
The group also believes each right sold in a contract should be individually valued, whether it be terrestrial, VOD, or cable and satellite rights. ‘Many channels try to pay the same price for everything, and pay what they used to,’ says Knafo. ‘But we should be able to say, ‘ok, you don’t want this program for cable, so we will wait for the hold-back period, but after that we will take the program to cable and satellite companies.’
So far, roughly 30 companies representing over a dozen countries have joined ecad, including GA&A (Italy) and Europe Images International (France). One person from each country represents their region to the rest of the ECAD’s members and also reps the union locally. European distribs interested in joining can contact Knafo via www.10francs.fr.