Category: Future heads

©Dan Maag

©Dan Maag

©Dan Maag

With PANTAFLIX, a new video on demand platform, Dan Maag and actor Matthias Schweighöfer aim to consolidate the fragmented foreign market for film rights. Their vision: Those 100 million people who are not living in a country they consider their home country, can now get access to old and new film classics from their country of origin in their native language with just a click of the mouse. Dan Maag, who initiated the project together with actor Matthias Schweighöfer, explains how exactly they plan to implement their vision.

Mr Maag, the internet increasingly links our world together. Against this backdrop it seems almost absurd that it continues to be difficult to get access to current German films when abroad. What are the reasons for that?

The principle of international film distribution has been in place for more than 80 years and has seen only minor changes. Whoever plans to make a film available across borders to an international audience has to deal with middlemen, film agents and an extremely fragmented market. This leads to a situation where, apart from the big blockbusters, virtually no other films make it abroad. We will change that. In May we will be launching our streaming service PANTAFLIX, the first video on demand platform that operates on a global scale, enabling producers to feed content into it and directly target international customers. There will be no more middlemen and no gatekeepers. Customers anywhere in the world will have direct access to products that are provided by the producers. 

Do you have any numbers on how many Germans who live abroad have been desperately waiting for a simple way to watch films from their home country?

Our product is geared towards cinema lovers from all over the world, not just Germans living abroad. With PANTAFLIX expats living anywhere in the world will be able to get access to films that suit their personal preference. There are over 100 million people who are not living in their country of origin and who are constantly looking for thrilling films, content from their home country and perhaps even in their native language. PANTAFLIX targets exactly these people. We have identified more than 100,000 films that are worth including in our portfolio. These films are shown in cinemas in the country of origin, however, they are hard to come by abroad. Let me give you an example to illustrate the size of the market: There are more than one million Germans living in the US who are constantly looking for German cinema films. In order to accommodate this demand PANTAFLIX we will be offering films in the US; similarly, we will offer Turkish-speaking films for the Turkish community in Germany since there are almost three million Turkish people living in Germany who have no access to Turkish-speaking films.

How many and which films can German film enthusiasts living abroad look forward to? And: How do you motivate film producers to offer their films through PANTAFLIX?

Unfortunately, we can't predict the relevant numbers down to the last figure. But let me ask you this: Which German films have you seen lately that you really liked? As a platform, PANTAFLIX can offer you all these films. Producer motivation is a rather small problem when it comes to this. We offer producers direct access to previously untapped target markets which provides them with additional and very transparent sources of revenue. Already today we see a huge interest on the part of producers.

Large internet companies such as Netflix, Amazon or Google are pushing into the video streaming sector. Are you sure that you can hold your ground with your niche platform?

Actually, PANTAFLIX has nothing to do with the providers you just mentioned. Our product fully complements the existing offers. We don't buy rights, either. This is not part of our concept. PANTAFLIX provides a market place and as a service provider takes a central position in the supply chain. We don't consider ourselves as competitors to the large internet companies - this is not something we're aiming for. Instead we serve a market and accommodate a demand with a product that is unique on the market and that is not targeted at any other platforms. We bring our know-how and our entire creativity to bear on this. We have been part of the film industry for 20 years and we know the problems in the industry. Now we are able to offer a truly innovative solution that is accessible anywhere and at all times.

Together with film star Matthias Schweighöfer you run a film production company called PANTALEON. Can you provide us with insight on how your collaboration works?

Matthias Schweighöfer is an actor and a true creative mastermind. And we want him to stay that way. This is why Matthias is only marginally involved with administrative tasks in our company. PANTALEON Entertainment AG has filled these positions with very capable employees which frees Matthias up to focus on what he does best, which is to develop brilliant films and series.

Finally, could you please complete the following sentence: Berlin is...

...not just Germany's largest centre for cinematic arts (just consider the Berlinale film festival and all the film studios based in Berlin) but also one of the most influential hot spots for innovation and creativity. This is why we're very proud to have been able to establish PANTAFLIX in Berlin.

Dan Maag has been producing cinema films since 1999 and for several years worked as a production manager for financing and production companies. Since 2012, Maag has been managing the operations of PANTALEON Entertainment, a production company that he founded together with well-known German actor, director and producer Matthias Schweighöfer. He initially served as the company's Managing Director and, after the floatation of the company, took over the role of chairman.