The Ins and Outs of Educational Distribution Part 1: What Are Educational Rights and How Are They Monetized?

POSTED ON May 21, 2018 / IN Documentary Toolkit


Steven C. Beer, Jake Levy and Neil J. Rosini

This Q&A was originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of Documentary magazine, a publication of the International Documentary Association, a nonprofit media arts organization based in Los Angeles.

Within the framework of non-theatrical media, educational rights include sales, licenses and rentals to schools, colleges, universities, public and academic libraries, community and nonprofit organizations, museums and houses of worship. Most all-rights film distributors do not have the in-house capability to service these numerous far-flung customers, and have not developed their own technological platforms, which is why they often delegate these rights to educational sales and distribution companies for sub-distribution. Sub-distribution often comes at a steep price, however. The primary distributor will occasionally add the educational sales commission to the existing distribution fee, which greatly reduces the flow of revenue to the producer. For this reason, producers are encouraged to reserve non-theatrical/educational rights from their primary distribution arrangements and to contract for these rights with a specialized education sales agent or distribution company directly.

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