Introduction to Media Distribution: Film, Television, and New Media, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Introduction to Media Distribution

Film, Television, and New Media, 1st Edition

By Scott Kirkpatrick


242 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-09-04
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Introduction to Media Distribution offers a clear, direct and comprehensive overview of the entire film, television and new media distribution business, valuable to both students and professionals. In this book, author Scott Kirkpatrick draws from over a decade of personal experience in the distribution arena to explore what fuels the distribution process, and explains in real-world terms how the business works from beginning to end—not merely what happens to a film or television series after a distributor acquires it, but how distributors develop, pre-sell and broker deals on content before it even exists. Kirkpatrick covers deal structures, release strategies, acquisition approaches, rights sales, international co-productions, tax credits, audience research, global regulatory boards, and even ‘behind closed doors’ monetization practices.

The book offers:

  • A straightforward, clear and insightful approach to understanding the fundamental basics of how the global distribution marketplace works, and how distribution companies actually operate and create the content they need;
  • An insider’s analysis of all levels of the business with an emphasis on the independent scene, the root from where development in the industry grows;
  • A comprehensive overview of how film and television markets and festivals work, and how buyers and sellers actually broker deals in the field;
  • Detailed explanations of how each media right is defined and windowed to maximize potential revenue;
  • A detailed overview of several major international territories, and how each operates within the context of the global media business;
  • Guidance and advice from an industry expert on how one can initiate their professional career in the entertainment industry, applicable to individuals in all roles;
  • A robust appendix containing in-depth studies of legal definitions, material delivery requirements, territory-by-territory financial projections, and more.

An accompanying eResource offers template contracts, sample agreements, and further resources for download.


"A real development ‘Bible.’ An entertaining and extremely informative read that provides a practical insider’s perspective of the entertainment industry. It will appeal to both entertainment business and creative hopefuls as well as seasoned professionals."

—Amy Sauertieg, M.A., Lecturer in Communications, Penn State University, USA

"Too many of those studying to enter the film and TV industries with ambitions to express themselves creatively—as writers or directors—fail to appreciate the complexity and significance of the content acquisition and distribution business and how much influence is exerted through this buyer’s market. For them, Kirkpatrick’s book should be mandatory reading."

—Stephen Gordon, Program Leader, BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology, Birmingham City University, UK

"Understanding the principles behind the distribution of film and TV within the industry is crucial in preparing our own content for the world. Scott's book breaks down this complex business and makes it both simple, and relevant to producers like ourselves. A must-have for any content producer."

—Noah and Brigham Sunday, Co-Founders of StoryBox Studios

"The Pulitzer Prize-winner E.O. Wilson once wrote, ‘We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.’ The same could be said for filmmakers who are ‘drowning in the production of content while starving for answers on how to distribute their content effectively.’ Kirkpatrick’s book provides this much-needed wisdom."

—Scott McMahon, Founder of Film Trooper Podcast; Author of How to Make and Sell Your Film Online and Survive the Hollywood Implosion While Doing It

"Media distribution is the piece of the puzzle that separates Hollywood players from Hollywood wannabes. I am in awe of Scott Kirkpatrick's deep understanding of the content market and his ability to snap it all into place."

—John Ott,

"Many filmmakers mistakenly rush to market without having a solid plan for distribution. This book provides the necessary foundation for how distribution works, so you can avoid common pitfalls and improve the chances for ROI. It is a recommended read for any filmmaker who wants to ‘level up’ their career."

—Jason Brubaker, Film Distribution Executive, Founder of Filmmaking Stuff

Table of Contents




Chapter One – The Principles of Media Distribution

Chapter Two – Developing and Distributing Media Content Before it Exists

Chapter Three – The Acquisition of Finished Content

Chapter Four – Negotiating and Brokering Content Distribution Deals

Chapter Five – Windowing Rights and Strategizing Releases

Chapter Six – Global Media Distribution

Chapter Seven – Marketing, Metrics and Audience Cultivation

Chapter Eight – Accounting Practices, Monetization and Business Structures

Chapter Nine – Practical Approaches for Kick-Starting Your Career


  • Appendix I: List of Exploitable Rights with Definitions
  • Appendix II: Materials Delivery Schedule with Definitions
  • Appendix III: Projections Form & Schedule of Minimums
  • Appendix IV: Metadata Forms




About the Author

Scott Kirkpatrick is the Senior Vice President of North and South American business development and global digital strategy for DRG, a London-based production, development and distribution company that manages over 1,000 media properties including Channel 4’s Shameless and ITV’s Doc Martin. Previously, Kirkpatrick served as Executive Director of distribution for MarVista Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production and distribution company that produces original TV movies and has managed international TV deals on major franchises, including Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Before shifting to the distribution side of the industry, Kirkpatrick worked behind the scenes on major studio productions, including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Kirkpatrick has produced and directed TV series and feature films including Eye for an Eye, Muslims in America and Roadside Massacre, and is the author of the book Writing for the Green Light: How to Make Your Script the One Hollywood Notices. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Film & Video
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General