Demystifying the Global VOD Landscape
Although many mainstream platforms are now investing in and spotlighting their own original content, other platforms are being launched. Producers, sales agents and distribution experts discuss the rise of these newer digital players, where opportunities for sales and funding are emerging, and how independent filmmakers can ensure their films are taking advantage of these new avenues to audiences.
Nick Isaak, Vice President of Sales, Gravitas Ventures
Peter Jarowey, Partner & CEO, Vertical Entertainment
Jason Pfardrescher, EVP of Digital Distribution, Well Go USA Entertainment
Kent Sanderson, President, Acquisitions & Ancillary Distribution, Bleecker Street
Stephanie Prange, Editor-in-Chief & Associate Publisher, Media Play News
Kent Sanderson President, Acquisitions and Ancillary Distribution, Bleecker Street | Co-President, DECAL (owned by Bleecker Street and NEON)Kent SandersonPresident, Acquisitions and Ancillary Distribution, Bleecker Street | Co-President, DECAL (owned by Bleecker Street and NEON)
Kent Sanderson serves as President, Acquisitions and Ancillary Distribution at Bleecker Street, an independently financed studio based in New York City that was founded in August 2014. The company has released more than 50 films and established itself as a trusted label and champion of original cinema, cumulating an impressive and lauded slate. He is also co-President at home entertainment label DECAL, which Bleecker owns with NEON, which Sanderson championed as a way of creating versatility in an age of constant change. In his two-part role, Sanderson oversees both the creative and deal making process of building Bleecker Street’s slate of films – including investments at script stage projects and finished films alike – while also managing their life cycles after their theatrical releases across various platforms including digital distribution, physical home video, subscription video on demand, airlines, and television.
Over the past few months, Bleecker Street has been active on the acquisitions front, recently acquiring the U.S. rights to James Hawes’ acclaimed film One Life starring Academy Award®-winner Anthony Hopkins, which premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival; Waitress: The Musical, starring Sara Bareilles, featuring footage from the acclaimed Broadway reprise run in 2021; and Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s I.S.S, starring Ariana DeBose, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Bleecker’s wedding comedy The Fabulous Four, starring Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Megan Mullally is currently in production under a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement.
Recent and upcoming titles for Bleecker Street also include: Meg Ryan’s What Happens Later, starring Ryan alongside David Duchovny; Marc Turtletaub’s Jules with Academy Award®-winner Sir Ben Kingsley; Golda from Academy Award®-winning director Guy Nattiv, starring Helen Mirren; Frances O’Connor’s Emily starring Emma Mackey; Alice Troughton’s The Tutor starring Richard E. Grant and Julie Delpy; and Catherine Hardwicke’s Mafia Mamma with Toni Collette.
Through the pandemic and beyond, Sanderson has enabled Bleecker to craft individualized windowing strategies for each of the company’s titles, with strategies ranging from nationwide releases leading into PVOD several weeks later, to more traditional theatrical rollouts, with each windowing strategy crafted to match every title. Sanderson also negotiated an exclusive multi-year output deal with Paramount+ with Showtime, which began with 2022’s Infinite Storm starring Naomi Watts.
Prior to Bleecker Street, Sanderson served as Executive Vice President, Distribution & Merchandising at GoDigital / Amplify Releasing. He also spent six years at Focus Features, where he guided their digital distribution strategy and ran the emerging Focus World alternative releasing label, which were the early adopters in playing with VOD strategies more aggressively. He started his career in the mailroom of WMA.
Nick IsaakVice President of Sales, Gravitas Ventures
Nick Isaak joined Gravitas in 2021 as the Director of Sales. His previous experience includes managing worldwide digital sales for MGM Studios, business manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Movies and TV service, and head of content acquisitions for Amazon’s Prime Video US TVOD store. His passion is connecting the breadth and depth of cinematic libraries with digital platforms to delight an optimized audience. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Business Management.
Stephanie PrangeEditor-in-Chief & Associate Publisher, Media Play News
Stephanie Prange is Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher of the leading home entertainment trade Media Play News. She has been covering the home entertainment industry for more than 25 years, from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray Disc to digital delivery — including subscription streaming, VOD, TVOD, AVOD, OTT, FAST and PVOD.
She has a B.A. in English from Yale University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of Southern California.
Jason PfardrescherEVP of Digital Distribution, Well Go USA
With over 18 years of industry experience, Jason leads Well Go’s distribution initiatives across all digital channels including windowing strategies for transactional VOD and programming/promotions for the company’s O&O subscription and FAST channel. Jason oversaw the company’s transition from physical to digital distribution and continues to cultivate partnerships across the distribution landscape while remaining at the forefront of industry innovations and trends.