September Films MD to launch online biz

Sally Miles wants to help indie producers make money. With that idea in mind, the managing director of London-based September Films will launch by the end of January.
December 13, 2000

Sally Miles, managing director of London-based September Films, knows from experience the constant challenge to generate revenue faced by doc-makers. That’s what inspired her to create, a business-to-business e-commerce site focused on the purchase of clips, which is scheduled to go live at the end of January.

Miles explains: ‘I’ve been thinking for a while that for a lot of independent producers with good material, they don’t really exploit their clips. The phone rings and it’s done on a very ad hoc basis. It’s a nuisance to your day-to-day business because it’s resource-heavy to provide that service. However, there is a possible revenue stream there that isn’t tapped into.’

With, says Miles, indie producers need only supply their clips on a digiBeta tape. From there, staff take care of indexing and encoding the material, so it’s viewable online. Royalty statements and payments will be sent out quarterly to all content owners, she adds.

Unlike traditional archive houses, aims to be strictly contemporary. Says Miles, ‘There’s no real shop window for 21st century production material. It’s not archive, it’s not news, it’s the latest interviews, it’s exclusive access, it’s up-to-date footage of locations – from all genres of programming.’

The initial set-up for, which includes technology, rights, library acquisition and manpower, is estimated at £1.1 million (US$1.6 million), though Miles expects to turn a profit by year two. She has already partnered with Telecine (a European post-production house) and Virage (a software and application services supplier) to develop the business.

Though Miles would not reveal the list of clients signed up for so far, she did say that the company has attracted interest from several independent producers, as well as two U.K. broadcasters. ‘We’ve had tremendous response in the U.K. and also internationally because producers don’t have anywhere to go with their footage.’

Miles will continue as MD at September Films while heading up The two companies will be based in the same office, though they are separate entities.

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