Films4U ramps up search for film investors as Netflix, Sky, Amazon produce more online content

As cinemas languish empty, nobody could blame you for thinking that investment in film is dead - for the time being, at least. But, just like so many other things that have been challenged by the oddity that is 2020, the film industry has pivoted and landed on its feet.

The coronavirus pandemic took streaming services and catapulted them to success.

Quarantined families argued over which Friday-night film to watch, and separated loved ones binged the same TV show to feel closer to one another. Others, furloughed and at a loss, slipped into their sweatpants and settled in to watch the Harry Potter films for the umpteenth time.

Netflix gained over 16 million subscribers in the first month of lockdown, and the other big streaming services echo its success. As demand for online content has gone through the roof, Films4U, a UK film production and financing company has ramped up the search for savvy investors looking to invest in film and get a return on investment in an industry that is thriving despite the pandemic.

Investing in films before COVID-19

A new film required a cinematic opening. Intensive marketing - celebrity interviews, posters, high octane trailers - would all culminate in thousands of people ready to hit the cinema on opening night. The amount of people who came to see the film on the big screen would have a direct impact on the film’s profit margins - and the amount of money the film investor would pocket at the end.

Without cinemas, movies have to make money in a different way. That’s where streaming services come in.

The rise of the straight-to-streaming movie

Let’s be clear - the pandemic doesn’t mean that cinemas will become a thing of the past. Online content cannot replicate the huge screen, the popcorn-addled atmosphere or the thundering sound effects.

However, streaming films offer something else; ease. You don’t even need to get dressed or leave the house; and there’s no need to hide the illicit jelly babies under your shirt as you walk in either.

How do straight to streaming movies make money?

For big-budget films that were ready for cinematic release but were dismayed by a persistent quarantine, film producers released the movie to a streaming service; but with a high price tag.

Trolls World was one of the first films to do this, and Amazon Prime charged £15.99 to watch it online. Mulan, perhaps the most hotly anticipated Disney film of the year, costs £20 on Disney+. Bear in mind you already need to have an active subscription for these streaming services to be able to access them. This makes money both for the producers and the streaming services.

What about Netflix-own movies and TV series? Essentially, the streaming service makes enough revenue from subscriptions to be able to curate high-quality content itself; if the content is good, then people will recommend it to their friends. With very little spent on marketing, Netflix then gets more subscribers and more revenue, which in turn gives them more opportunities to make original content.

For independent movies, online streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix pay the producers a licensing fee that allows them to stream their films. This price varies wildly and depends on the perceived value of the film and whether the contract is exclusive or not.

Online content makes money because streaming has become such an integral part of how we entertain ourselves. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Streaming Video on Demand (SVoD) revenue had been increasing by millions of dollars year on year. Films on streaming services have an almost guaranteed audience, so now more than ever is a good time to think about investing in the industry.

How you can invest in online content

Films4U partners with streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky, so they have an in-depth understanding of which online content does well - and what doesn’t. They’ve been working with streaming services throughout 2020 to help gain investment in films and get their quality content onto streaming services.

The increased demand for online content means they’re looking for investors to help create innovative new films and distribute them across streaming platforms.

To find out more about how you invest in film and the latest film titles in production visit the website at films-4u.co.uk

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