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Peeking through the windows of Machinima’s international plans

In light of its new deals with Sky and Amazon, strategy SVP James Glasscock shares the company's plans and execution for global expansion.
August 4, 2016

It’s been a busy few months for Machinima. First, the network struck a deal with AMC Networks Iberia to brings its content to Spain and Portugal. Next, it joined forces with Chinese platform Sohu to distribute series such as Training Camp and Transformers: Combiner Wars in the country.

Now, the MCN has struck content deals with Sky in the U.K. and Ireland and Amazon Video in the U.S. It’s all part of a broader strategy, not just to expand into new countries, but to try new distribution and windowing methods on for size, said James Glasscock, the company’s SVP of strategy and business development.

“The way we’re approaching international markets is [by] looking for one exclusive partner per territory,” Glasscock told StreamDaily“We’ve learned that when it comes to international development, we don’t have the bandwidth or the resources to do five deals in one country, but rather we look for that one partner where we can observe the markets and expand from there.”

For the Amazon deal, Machinima’s content will become available as an add-on subscription for current Prime members (the price has not been finalized yet, but Glasscock estimates it should be somewhere between $2 and $3 per month). Amazon will become the “secondary” home to Machinima’s premium content, which has been (up until this point) only available on Machinima’s subscription service, which can be viewed through Playstation.

The Sky deal will see Machinima content now available on Sky’s new OTT system, Sky Q. Glasscock said this content will mainly be more topical shows and aggregated videos, such as “best-of” and list-style videos, in order to promote discoverability of Machinima’s best short-form content.

Glasscock said Machinima is looking at three main windows with other countries.

The first is to seek out possible exclusive partnerships, which would see Machinima’s content licensed to a single partner.

If they can’t crack an exclusive partnership (or once the exclusivity window lifts), the network will strike a deal with an SVOD or OTT service, like it did with Amazon.

Finally, ad-supported content will continue to play a part, however Glasscock said it’s less of a factor now. For YouTube in particular, the platform will serve as a sort of testing ground for innovation at Machinima.

When it does upload content to YouTube and other ad-supported platforms, Glasscock said, the company is still looking at a more experimental approach, such as only keeping episodes up on the platform for a limited amount of time. For example, with its upcoming international roll-out for Transformers: Combiner Wars, episodes will be uploaded to YouTube on a weekly basis, but after three weeks, the episode will be removed from the platform.

Glasscock said the strategy is to create a sense of anticipation among fans when it comes to tuning in. “We’re trying to drive them back to that old-school style of ‘appointment viewing,'” he said.

He said that strategy will also hopefully drive viewers in those countries toward transactional viewing. “For those who miss the series or want to have the whole season to themselves, in all those same countries they can buy the entire series on Vimeo at once.”

Machinima’s content on Sky Q and Amazon is expected to roll out within the coming weeks.

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