by Luke Hickman
As we all know, digital media and on-demand content are changing the way we watch movies and television. A major player in this technical transition is GoDigital, one of the growing companies that's making VOD (video on demand) content available today. Leading GoDigital is Logan Mulvey. In the past, Sundance films deemed unworthy of acquisition and theatrical distribution never saw the light of day after closing night of the festival, but now that it's so easy to stream digital video content, those films – as well as the bigger mainstream ones – are finding a home on the internet. GoDigital is actively pursuing becoming the digital distributor of these titles. In a search for new content, GoDigital has been present at Sundance, and CEO Logan Mulvey took some time to tell me about his company, the future of the medium and the battle against piracy.
HDD – Luke Hickman: Logan, you're 27 and at head of one of the fastest growing digital media companies right now.
Logan Mulvey: (laughs) No. No. There's people out there much smarter than I am.
HDD: But looking at what your company is doing – and in such a short period of time – it's impressive. You have over 1,000 titles now, right?
Logan Mulvey: Right. We have a library of over 1,000 titles now. Two weeks ago we acquired Might Entertainment, that's where we got 750 of our 1,000 titles – from the Kino Lorber library.
HDD: I reviewed one of their Blu-rays recently – 'Rapt.'
Logan Mulvey: Yeah! We put that one out. We do all their video – digital and on-demand. And we also just got a Lionsgate output deal for all of their home videos, so if we wanted to utilize the Lionsgate machine, we can put movies out through them as well now. Our deal will allow us to give them our product occasionally. They are looking to us to supply some video-on-demand content.
HDD: That's a great partnership!
Logan Mulvey: Yeah, the Might [Entertainment] guys were really smart at locking in that deal. Before we acquired them, we were much more focused on the technology side and the workflow side because we wanted to get to the place where we could sell and actually deal with 1,000 titles in a cost-effective manner, so we built a software program called Content Bridge which manages all of the movie assets – the actual physical digital media, the compressed mezzanine file – and we built the cloud, manage the asset and deliver to all of the partners from that single pane of glass. Point, click, deliver. It does all of the transcoding in the back end and delivers right into iTunes.
HDD: Awesome. With everything going digital, where do you foresee the future of the medium?
Logan Mulvey: I think TVs are going to continue to get bigger and cheaper and high-speed internet is going to become more and more prevalent – everybody is going to have it at some point – and there's going to be four or five platforms where people consume everything. I'm thinking the big boys – Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony – will be trying to fill that entertainment gap.
HDD: With piracy being such a major issue right now, I've got to ask you how you plan to combat it. There are open source programs out there that only require the touch of a button to record anything that appears on your screen. How do you fight that?
Logan Mulvey: For us, the shutting down of the peer-to-peer networks is a huge win. That is the start of the snowball that needs to effect the change. I think it's a generational gap where people under 20 years old don't even feel like sharing a file on the internet is stealing because that's just been commonplace since they were on the internet, their tablets, or whatever.
HDD: They've never had to buy the albums or the DVDs.
Logan Mulvey: Exactly! They've never had to pay the $17.99 for a CD that had one good song on it. We need to start educating the youngest and make sure that they understand that it's intellectual property and that it costs you money.
HDD: Since GoDigital has been around, have you noticed the effects of piracy in your own business?
Logan Mulvey: We try not to think about it.
HDD: Sorry for bringing it up.
Logan Mulvey: It's ok. It's everywhere right now with SOPA and PIPA. Business would surely be up if this wasn't a current issue. We just need to focus on supplying high quality content to the platforms that are legal, that cost money to purchase. This way we can give money back to the filmmakers and they can continue to make films for us to enjoy.
HDD: What are some of the companies that you are currently working with?
Logan Mulvey: Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, X-Box, PlayStation, Time-Warner, Cox, Comcast, and so on.
HDD: Since the merger, what's new? What's in development?
Logan Mulvey: We're going to be acquiring movies here at Sundance and at the rest of the festivals. We're going to continue to monetize the 1,000-title catalog. And we're going to continue to deliver high quality cinema. I think right now it's about 100 million homes that we're getting into.
HDD: So you have folks here [at Sundance] right now attending screenings and looking for new content to purchase?
Logan Mulvey: Yeah. There are three or four people doing acquisitions as we speak. I haven't seen one movie and probably won't get to.
HDD: You won't?
Logan Mulvey: No! It's so lame.
HDD: You'll own a bunch in no time so you'll see them soon anyways. Have you acquired anything here so far?
Logan Mulvey: We've lobbed up some offers, but we haven't locked anything in yet. We're trying to stay competitive, so we'll continue to make offers on things that we like.
HDD: Is there a certain genre of content that you're interested in? During the Press & Industry screenings, there are often walk-outs by industry acquisition folks when a movie takes a turn in a direction that studio doesn't usually want to represent. Is there anything is specific that you're looking for?
Logan Mulvey: We're looking for anything. I know this sounds broad, but we are literally looking for anything good. We give everything a chance. We have foreign, horror, documentaries – we really run the gamut.