It was quite a year for the film industry in 2020. From production slow-downs to a new focus on streaming, we’ve seen some massive changes that will continue to affect the industry.

We have a lot of work to do when it comes to adapting to the current and future climate. From managing your avails to onboarding new deals, there is a lot to think about when it comes to managing your rights.

Here are the five industry trends we see continuing in 2021, and how having the best rights management software will help your media and entertainment company deliver quality consumer products to eager audiences: 

Rise of the low-budget original modified features

Big budgets aren’t dead. But big-budget productions aren’t bringing in as much cash as they used to, especially when theatre access is limited. 

Popular streaming series like The Mandalorian still boast episode costs somewhere around $15-million for their shorter film-quality content. But traditional big-budget features like Wonder Woman 1984 are struggling to meet their revenue expectations in a streaming-forward landscape. 

With a lack of theatre access and viewers that are fast becoming accustomed to an on-demand and streaming model, original content with lower budgets is starting to become more appealing. We’re already seeing changes with large franchises bringing in lesser-known talent both on and off the screen to help reduce production costs. And it’s likely that this is just the beginning.

Changes in the streaming landscape

Long gone are the days where the only major player in the streaming industry was the almighty Netflix. While they have recently announced they no longer need to borrow money to keep pumping out their massive amounts of content, the waters of the online stream have muddied with the introduction of major players like Disney+, HBO Max and other branded OTT content providers.

But to be able to upkeep a streaming platform, fresh content needs to keep being added. And while this might seem like a lofty task for established brands looking to build their own OTT they have a secret weapon—a back catalogue of content. 

While popular original content like Disney+’s The Mandalorian and Netflix’s The Crown certainly made a splash, the real winners of the 2020 streaming wars were shows like The Office and Criminal Minds that are no longer in production. It turns out people will really pay to watch old content.

We also saw pricing changes in the monthly fees for platforms like Netflix but their Q3 numbers still report a cool 195.15 million paid subscribers worldwide. Similarly, the price for Disney+ outside of the US will go up in 2021 with the addition of the Star platform (Disney’s answer to Hulu), but the platform still manages to grow its subscribers to over 73.7 million by Q4 2020.

Streaming platforms allow brands with a catalogue of content to continue to monetize it long after its original air-date. But to do this artfully, it’s imperative to have an online rights management system that’s easy to access, use and can help you deliver product to eager audiences.

Straight-to-stream talent deals

With people stuck at home, the demand for content is high and it’s shifting from the traditional theatre outlet to streaming service. But the emerging straight-to-stream trend brings in a whole host of new challenges. The main one being talent deals. 

Warner Bros. made an industry-shattering move when they changed their 2021 theatrical releases to a straight-to-stream model partnering with HBO Max. But while audiences rejoiced because they could still enjoy highly-anticipated films, this created challenges for talent deals that were already in place. 

Warner Bros. crafted these in real-time as their release schedule changed, but we predict that future talent deals for both theatrical releases and straight-to-stream projects will be modified in the future. And having a database that can manage these business legal affairs is becoming increasingly crucial.

Rights-buying frenzies

What happens when film productions are shut down and the ability for studios to work on their current projects is stunted? They start buying material. 

This past year was a “gold rush” of book rights purchases for film studios with a furry of film rights for novels new and old being snatched up by studios across the board. From HBO to Netflix, everyone seems to be getting into the book-to-film game. 

Not only that but the increased involvement of writers in the film production process indicates that this might be a trend that’s here to stay for a while—making your rights management software crucial.

With new deals on the horizon, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what you have access to and what you can do with it in real-time. The slowdown in production and the increase in material means that in the coming years when we’re back up-and-running, we’ll be busy.

Shifting production schedules

The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on ongoing production schedules. 

While some jurisdictions have allowed productions to continue as an “essential service,” shutdowns have plagued the sets of big film and TV projects around the world. And those that are running are navigating the new world of increased health measures on film sets.

It’s likely that 2021 will continue to see shifting production development schedules due to the ongoing health crisis, even as more sets continue to open around the world.  

Is it time to upgrade your rights management software?

This new digital-first landscape calls for updated tools with the right capabilities to ensure success. Those managing rights have met with a host of new challenges and an influx of deals that need to be captured and organized in a way that’s easy to understand and simple to use.

If you’re wondering how to streamline your contract, rights and clearance processes and better access your data in real-time, let us see if we can help