Monday, March 24, 2014

Consolidation Meets Indie Film Market

Industry consolidation isn't anything new.  On the operator side of the world, all the news is about the proposed Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable.  And on the independent film side, the latest plan is that MSG Networks is buying 50% of Tribeca Enterprises and the Tribeca Film Festival.  So where is the consolidation, in the hands of the Dolan family. 

Before MSG spun off, it was part of a larger company, Cablevision Systems, which also owned Rainbow Networks.  Each was spun out into its own public company with Rainbow rebranded after its largest network, AMC Networks which is also the home for IFC and the Sundance Network, both independent film networks.  All these companies, Cablevision, AMC and MSG are owned by the Dolan family with patriarch Charles Dolan heading Cablevision and son Jim heading MSG.  And Jim also sits on the board of directors of AMC. 

Ultimately, with the purchase of Tribeca Film, Jim Dolan will be involved in all three independent film companies - IFC, Sundance, and Tribeca.  Three major players who are also involved in production and distribution of independent films.  Consolidation indeed.  The purchase of Tribeca Films may not kill the world of independent films, but it certainly limits it.  But such is the nature of an industry's life cycle, birth, growth, and maturity.  And we now simply see indie films as smaller budgets run by bigger companies. 

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