The Path to VOD Success: Strategies for Independents

The Path to VOD Success: Strategies for Independents

Our executive panel will provide insights into the marketplace and platforms, revealing how they navigate the streaming opportunities and challenges for independent content.

Bruce Eisen, President, Eisen Law

JJ Caruth, President, Domestic Marketing & Distribution, The Avenue
Michael Messina, EVP, Distribution, Screen Media
James Emanuel Shapiro, EVP, US Distribution, XYZ Films


Nov 03 2021


11:00 am - 12:30 pm




  • Bruce Eisen
    Bruce Eisen
    President, Eisen Law

    Bruce David Eisen is a veteran entertainment attorney and media executive. Eisen’s legal practice focuses on the intersection of new and traditional media and the technology powering them. Eisen’s current and recent clients include Comcast, AMC Networks, Shout! Factory, RLJ Entertainment, Brainstorm Media, Shoreline Entertainment, Sobini Films, Stargazer Films, Xumo, Viant, Wurl, Nagra/Kudelski, OTT.X and a number of independent producers, among others.

    Eisen’s services include structuring, drafting and negotiating film development agreements, content acquisition and distribution agreements, film finance agreements, technology agreements, production legal services as well as and providing general legal/business affairs services for film, television, new media, technology and other clients. Other recent activities include M&A legal work on multi-million dollar deals representing the Hollywood Film Awards in its sale to dick clark productions and representing Shout Factory and Ace Film HK Company Limited in their acquisition of Roger Corman’s library of films and television shows.

    Eisen regularly advises companies regarding the new California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), drafting privacy policies and terms of use that adhere to the CCPA and working with clients to ensure that their business practices are CCPA compliant.

    Individuals and companies that Eisen has recently negotiated with on behalf of his clients include Allison Janney, Sean Hayes, James Cromwell, Bruce Dern, Bret Easton Ellis, James Franco, Cross Creek Pictures, Palm Star Media, Grindstone Entertainment, Voltage Pictures, Netflix, Fandango, Tugg, The Orchard, Vudu, Hulu, Redbox, inDemand, Vubiquity, Verizon, Amazon, PlayStation Network, Showtime, Starz, HBO, Vimeo, Brightcove, Comcast, DISH, Oracle, ComScore/Rentrak, TiVo, OperaTV and Zype.

    From 2009 through 2012 Eisen was the Vice President Online Content Development & Strategy for DISH Network where he negotiated agreements with most of the major television networks on behalf of DISH, licensing over 20,000 television shows for distribution and acquiring on-demand rights from the major Hollywood studios including VOD/EST/SVOD rights for distribution of their content across multiple platforms including set-top boxes, DishOnline.com, iPad, iPhone and Android devices. In addition, Eisen negotiated agreements with various partners for DRM and other technology services including Synacor and Adobe.

    Eisen was one of the principals who started CinemaNow in 1999 and, as the company’s general counsel, negotiated financing for the company in excess of $40 million, negotiated CinemaNow’s agreements with over 200 content licensors including all of the major Hollywood studios as well as agreements with local ISPs, portals and film distributors to bring CinemaNow to the U.K., the Netherlands, Taiwan, Philippines, Latin America, and Singapore. In addition, Eisen was instrumental in creating CinemaNow Japan, Inc., an affiliated entity that raised over $15 million in funding.

    Eisen structured the strategy and business aspects of CinemaNow’s technology requirements to enable the efficient, cost-effective distribution of content on a worldwide, video-on-demand basis and, in that regard, licensed all required technology including agreements for content delivery network services, data services, data hosting, geo-targeting, recommendation engines, web analytics, network storage and customer relation management with companies such as Akamai, Limelight, Savvis, Intel, Microsoft, EchoStar and Qwest.

    Eisen started his career as the head of Legal and Business Affairs for Trimark Pictures where his responsibilities included negotiating the company’s distribution agreements with companies including the Walt Disney Company, Miramax, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Columbia Pictures, HBO and others. Eisen also negotiated and drafted Trimark’s development agreements as well as its production legal agreements including those with such talent as Samuel L. Jackson, Renee Zelweger, Peter Jackson and Jim Belushi. In addition, Eisen structured the company’s relationships with the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America and was instrumental in negotiating Trimark’s $25 million line of credit with Bank of America and Trimark’s $75 million line of credit with The Chase Manhattan Bank as well as numerous production financing agreements with various lenders and bond companies.

    Eisen received his J.D. from the University of Southern California and his B.A. cum laude with high honors in Philosophy from Clark University.

  • James Emanuel Shapiro
    James Emanuel Shapiro
    EVP, US Distribution, XYZ Films

    James Emanuel Shapiro is an entertainment executive veteran for twenty years and has been the COO of both Drafthouse Films and NEON where we helped build both distribution companies from the ground up. He’s worked on several academy award campaigns including BULLHEAD, THE ACT OF KILLING, THE LOOK OF SILENCE and I, TONYA. He most recently started the analytics department and helped build the booking department at the Alamo Drafthouse. He’s also active in the festival world having worked with both Fantastic Fest and Beyond Fest and he occasionally writes about the entertainment industry for Birth, Movies, Death and The Bulwark. He is an avid fan of sports, rye, New Wave films, Galaxie 500 and lives in Austin, Texas with his partner Deb and their many, many, many, many cats.

  • JJ Caruth
    JJ Caruth
    President, Domestic Marketing & Distribution, The Avenue
  • Michael Messina
    Michael Messina
    Head of Distribution, Screen Media