Babelgum strikes world cinema content deal

9 Feb 2009

The free-to-view web TV service Babelgum, which is headquartered in Dublin, has struck a landmark deal to present 24 independent world cinema classics as online exclusives.

The deal was negotiated by Andreas Lemos, content acquisition manager for film on behalf of Babelgum, and Teun Hilte, on behalf of Content Republic.

Titles include Lars Von Trier’s The Boss Of It All, the academy-award nominated Before The Rainand Steve Barron’s Choking Man. Two films will be made available per month over the course of a year, beginning in May of 2009. After each ‘exclusive’ month, the films will remain on the platform non-exclusively.

“We are proud to be working with Babelgum at this exciting time where new routes to market are finally opening up and we can add value for the distributors, sales agents and producers we represent by tapping into previously untapped revenue streams,” explained Teun Hilte, co-founder of Content Republic.

“This is where Content Republic really comes into its own, so we look forward to working with our friends at Babelgum on the upcoming online releases, and many more to come.”

Babelgum recently launched an original mobile application in Italy and the UK that brings web-tailored programming to smart phones (at present, iPhones and Nokia N96, N95 and 6210, with more to come) via 3G and Wi-Fi.

Babelgum’s editorial focus is on independent film and music, comedy, travel and adventure, and nature and environment, and is supported by a series of thematic communities.

The company has set up two online contests to nurture independent film and music talent: the Babelgum Online Film Festival, chaired by award-winning director and producer Spike Lee (now in its second year), and the Babelgum Music Video Awards, judged by acclaimed film director and music video maven, Michel Gondry.

Babelgum also launched a Digital Studio Initiative, producing new, exclusive and original content. Two productions have already been commissioned: Downstream, focusing on the controversy over the development of Alberta’s oil sands and Extinction Sucks, a wildlife series on the subject of conservation and protection, with the active involvement of WWF.

“We are thrilled about our partnership with Content Republic, and this deal significantly strengthens Babelgum’s film offering and reaffirms Babelgum as the online and mobile destination for cutting-edge independent film,” said Karol Martesko-Fenster, general manager and publisher at Babelgum’s film division.

“It is important to us to feature the vision of filmmakers from every corner of the world, and Content Republic’s presentation of award-winners and festival favourites perfectly complements our commitment to emerging talent worldwide through the Babelgum Online Film Festival,” Martesko-Fenster said.

By John Kennedy