Babelgum eyes day and date deals

Babelgum, the online-video provider, is looking to secure more “day and date” distribution deals with independent filmmakers by acquiring serialized rather than full-length versions of feature films and documentaries.

The company recently started buying rights to serialized or episodic versions of films, which it releases online or on its mobile platform on or even before the full length versions are first shown in cinemas.

Babelgum hopes that a focus on serialized content will enable it to work on an increasing number of simultaneous release deals without alienating filmmakers’ traditional distribution partners. “Most traditional distributors or television folks freak out when they hear that someone has the online rights,” Karol Martesko-Fenster, general manager and publisher of Babelgum’s film channel told TBIvision sister publication New Media Markets.

Babelgum will soon be “day and date” releasing Rage, a feature film starring Jude Law, on mobile telephones and online in seven episodes.

In June, it released the first of six custom-made episodes of documentary film End of the Line, which incorporated about 60% of the full-length version, on the same day that the film previewed. Martesko-Fenster said that simultaneous, episodic releases helped independent filmmakers promote and raise awareness of their films beyond traditional distribution channels.

He said that traffic for End of the Line on Babelgum had peaked at 43,000 unique visitors a day watching a single episode, more than 60% of whom watched 80% or more of the clip. “These are pretty serious figures for a documentary filmmaker,” he said.