“We want content to travel, but still make money inside territories”

3 Questions to Dan Maag, chairman of Pantaleon Entertainment AG and CEO of Pantaflix

Per Strömbäck: Could you tell us about Pantaflix’s purpose?

Dan Maag: As a producer, I have been confronted to the same problem for 20 years. We want content to be available not only in Germany, but in all over the world. There is one solution currently being discussed in Brussels, the end of geo-blocking, which would result in the end of territoriality. However, territoriality is the way we finance our activity.

PS: So you defend the concept of territoriality, but you want the content to travel at the same time. Isn’t it paradoxical?

DM: Yes, we want content to travel, but I still want to make money inside territories as a filmmaker. It works, let me tell you how! The irony when people talk about the elimination of geo-blocking, is that it sometimes sounds like producers do not want their films to travel, but that is not true. Producers from Germany want people in Portugal to see their movies, for example. They want to make money like this. The problem is that the distribution sector does not want to buy foreign films, as they believe their audience is too small in their countries. If you eliminate geo-blocking, the business opportunities would still not be a key to have films from abroad, even if a small audience could be interested.

We created an industry solution which leads to the same results without putting an end to geo-blocking!

What we have developed with Pantaflix is a direct channel for producers to control the global market where their films are, outside the territories where they used to pre-finance them. Co-productions can be made, selling French or German speaking rights for example, which protects territories’ value. So, we geo-block territories, indeed, we are not giving away my films for free. We wanted to create a very simple system where territories in Europe or in the rest of the world which have paid can make films available. But producers remain in charge of the process and can geo-block their movies in other territories, with a simple click. All producers can do this on our platform. We have about 2 000 films online, and 10 000 films in the supply chain. This is how we are creating solutions for the industries.

PS: So if what you say is true, then you have accomplished a new online platform, exactly what the Commission wants to by eliminating geo-blocking. But you have delivered the Digital Single Market without!

DM: Yes, it respects the DSM principles, with a sort of control for people who deserve it! We would like other platforms to do it, like Netflix, to give power to producers. I still don’t understand why people keep on discussing the elimination of geo-blocking. Putting an end to geo-blocking cannot be done without killing related industries. We, however, created an industry solution which leads to the same results.

PS: The other video platforms have a problem with unauthorized uploaded content. How do you fix this?

DM: Users of our platform have to register, as a company. The initial registration process requires time, but once register, we are trying the best to check if there are problems. Of course we cannot eliminate 100% of risks, but our response team can delete illegal uploaded content.

PS: How do you compete with others like Youtube and Amazon, Netflix, etc. ?

DM: Well, we do not compete with Youtube, as we are a feature film platform. Our business model is also different from Netflix or Amazon, as they represent the “old world”, they buy content. This is the reason why there is no European or global Netflix. They have different programs in different countries. For a platform like ours, producers keep a higher share.  In traditional platforms, as there are many gate keepers in between, like sales and sub-sales agents, it leads to a lot of fees, with little money left at the end for the filmmaker. In our platforms, and this is how we want to beat the others, the technical “subs” are the responsibility of the producer itself, which leaves more money for them in the future, to also market their films, or to create online campaigns.