Quicksummer Entertainment LLC

Baltic states battle over split rights deals

●Since the Baltic States have joined the European Union and Baltic distributors have access to Euro subsidies, they are increasingly lucrative as a territory separate from Russia. Same goes for the populous Ukraine, with a population of 47 million. ●Russian distributors are not interested in having these territories carved out of their deal. ●"For me it's not very good if sales agents want to sell the Baltics separately, especially for DVD and television rights. It makes TV sales very complicated because the signal of Russian broadcasters also reaches the Baltics and the Ukraine," said Intercinema XXI topper Raissa Fomina. ●"The Russians aren't happy when we sell the Baltics separately, but it's ridiculous for them to still see these culturally and economically very different territories still as part of their deal," said A-Company topper Alexander von Duelmen, who sells titles across the whole of Eastern Europe. ●"When the Hollywood majors went into the region they treated the Baltics separately right from the start." ●As far as the Ukraine is concerned, it's a different story. ●"We sell TV licences to Ukraine separately, but theatrical and home entertainment is still sold jointly between Russia and Ukraine," von Duelmen said. "The ties between these two countries are still so close that it doesn't make sense to completely split them up." ●And the Russian distributors are determined to keep the Ukraine. ●"I can make compromises with the Baltics, but if I do a deal, it has to include Ukraine, I'm very strict about that," said Fomina. ●"Only if a film is really strong and the Russians really want it, you can carve out the Ukraine," added sales exec Alex Walton at Hanway. "Otherwise, you'll have to sell jointly." ●Meanwhile, down in the Balkans, the great split is also taking off. As the Balkan countries emerge as markets, sales agents often no longer treat them as "former Yugoslavia." ●Instead, Serbia-Montenegro is treated separately from the Slo-Bo-Kro states (Slovania, Bosnia and Croatia), with Serbia taking up 40% of the market share and the Slo-Bo-Kro countries 60%. ●Splitting up is hard to do. If you see a sales exec glaring at a Russian buyer late at night in the Hyatt bar, you might be excused for thinking that they're in the middle of a romantic tiff. ●But they are far more likely to be haggling over Eastern European territories. ●By KATJA HOFMANN http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117938478?categoryid=13&cs=1
2006-04-18 18:06:58