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Film Distribution Tips: Ways that Broadcasters May Acquire a Film

written by: twhatley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011

Distributing your film may involve getting your films to cable broadcasters. Before spamming them with your work, know the basics that all filmmakers need to be aware of.

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    You’ve made the next great film and now you just need someone to actually buy and see it. You may have heard somewhere that cable broadcasting is a great way to distribute your film. Before you do that, you need to know how they work.

    Networks have three ways that they actually acquire films. They all work the same way for any type of project from narratives to series. Here are the three ways that your film may be acquired by a network:

    (1) Networks acquire finished projects from film festivals and film markets. Festivals and markets like Cannes, Sundance, AFM, MIPTV and MIPCOM are where they look for these completed films. This option offers the producer the lowest acquisition price and lowers the expenses for the network.

    (2) The networks may commission a project if they wish to own the rights to a film or program. The producer is hired to produce whatever the network wants and is required to stick to the networks’ specifications. A&E is known for conducting business this way.

    (3) The last way that a network may acquire your film production is to sign a Co-Production agreement with you, the producer. This is the most frequent way that the network likes to handle acquiring new works. With Co-Production deals the network and the producer works together to complete a project and they both get producer credits on the film

    Broadcast distribution is a cut-rate business but can still be the most beneficial option for some. The best thing about this type of distribution format is that networks are constantly on the lookout for quality projects to fill their programming slots and are more than willing to pay good money for them. Plus, network markets are easier to sell to than other mediums.

    Some added tips for individuals that are looking to get their projects to networks for broadcast distribution is to always research the network to see what they are looking for. The first article of this series gives tips on what types of programming is mostly desired at this time.

Film Distribution Tips

Getting a film seen by others is the most valuable step after creating it. Unless you know where to look, you film may only be seen by you. This article series will give tips on how to get the film bought by different markets.
  1. Film Distribution Tips: Project Ideas for Broadcast Distribution
  2. Film Distribution Tips: Ways that Broadcasters May Acquire a Film