Revealing the Financial Deals Behind Top Market Films at Major Festivals

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Mainstream Streamers Look to Independent Films to Attract Subscribers

The recent deal between A24 and Warner Bros. underscores the escalating competition in the streaming space and the pivotal role of content acquisitions, primarily from untapped resources.

Integrating independent films into mainstream platforms like Hulu and Max signifies a broader shift towards looking outside the studio system for films to attract and retain subscribers.

Content valuation has never been more critical, with streaming platforms investing billions in original programming and licensing agreements to stay competitive in a crowded market.

Below are 95 splashy distribution deals that made headlines from major film markets, including Cannes, EFM, TIFF, AFM, and Sundance.

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Uncover What Streamers Like Max, Paramount+, Amazon, and Netflix Pay to License Films and Shows Worldwide.

Gain invaluable financial intelligence inaccessible until now to support you in making informed decisions and validating development, production, and distribution strategies.

Worldwide Film & Television Distribution Intelligence

Get unparalleled access to market intelligence reports that draw on financial data and insights from dozens of content distribution deals worldwide between key industry participants, including — Distributors, Producers, MPVDs, and Streaming Exhibitors.

Film and Series distribution rates and terms deriving from dozens of agreements for rights to transmit films and episodic television via PayTV and SVOD.

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Licensing Terms & Included Programs:

Pay-1 & SVOD Rate Cards for Motion Pictures and Series Exhibited Worldwide in Multiple Availability Windows

  • Motion Pictures: Pay-1, First Run, Second Window Features, Recent Library Features (Tiers AAA,A,B,C), Library Features (Tiers AAA,A,B,C), Current and Premium Made-For-TV Films and Direct-To-Video Films, covering many license periods over the last decade
  • Episodic TV: Current, Premium, Premium Catalog (1HR & 1/2HR), Catalog Series (1HR & 1/2HR), and Catalog Miniseries + Case Studies on Current Mega Hit, Catalog Mega Hit, and Premium Catalog, covering many licensing terms from 2012-2024
  • Because most-favored-nation rates operate in practice, the rates and terms apply to a diverse range of content and distributors worldwide in multiple availability windows.

Content Licensing Dynamics: A Complex Interplay of Slate Programming

The intricate interplay of content licensing has become increasingly complex, with streaming giants like Max, Paramount+, and Disney+ maneuvering to secure lucrative deals with independent production studios.

The latest major industry output deal is between A24 and WBD, structured as a Pay-1 output deal. After finishing their theatrical run, all A24 films will be available exclusively on platforms owned by WBD, including HBO, Max, and Cinemax, for a predetermined period. Altogether, the agreement will deliver over 100 films to WBD throughout the term, thought to be three years.

A24’s primary competitor in the independent distribution space is Neon, whose films predominantly stream on Hulu through a 2017 distribution agreement.

Major Content Licensing Deals in the U.S. (Updated)

Film StudioFilm SlatePay-One WindowPay-Two Window, etc.
Disney20th Century Fox /
Disney+ / Hulu /
HBO / Max
A24A24HBO / Max / CinemaxN/A
LionsgateLionsgate FilmsStarzN/A
MGMMGMMGM+Amazon / Paramount+
SonySony PicturesNetflixAll Disney Platforms
UniversalAnimated FilmsPeacock / NetflixNetflix
UniversalLive-Action FilmsPeacock / AmazonStarz
Warner Bros.Warner Bros.HBO / MaxN/A

A24 previously had a comparable Pay-1 deal with Showtime, signed in 2019, but it has since lapsed. Likewise, in 2018, Apple TV+ partnered with A24 on a multiyear agreement to produce a slate of original films for the tech giant. Both of which failed to raise the profile of A24.

A24’s departure from its previous deal with Showtime signifies a strategic realignment, as the independent distributor seeks to capitalize on HBO and Max’s broader reach and subscriber base.

The financial terms of the A24 and WBD deal remain undisclosed, but its significance for both parties is undeniable. For A24, aligning with HBO and Max provides access to a larger audience and potentially higher revenues, while for WBD enhancing the prestige and appeal of its streaming platform.

The steadfastness displayed by A24 is remarkable, especially considering the company’s near sale in 2021 when it was valued at $3 billion. Instead of pursuing that path, the distributor opted for a $225 million equity investment, demonstrating a commitment to its vision and strategic objectives.

FilmTake Away: The Rise of Independent Distributors and Niche Content

The prominence of independent distributors like A24 and Neon highlights the growing demand for diverse and eclectic content in the streaming era. While larger studios dominate the blockbuster landscape, independent films uniquely appeal to audiences seeking authentic storytelling and artistic innovation.

Integrating independent films into mainstream streaming platforms like Hulu and Max signifies a broader shift towards looking outside the studio system for films to attract and retain subscribers.