The Business of Media Distribution : Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World book cover
3rd Edition

The Business of Media Distribution
Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World

ISBN 9780815353362
Published June 18, 2019 by Routledge
606 Pages

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USD $49.95

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Book Description

In this updated edition of the industry staple, veteran media executive Jeff Ulin relates business theory and practice across key global market segments—film, television, and online/digital—providing you with an insider’s perspective that can't be found anywhere else. Learn how an idea moves from concept to profit and how distribution dominates the bottom line: Hollywood stars may make the headlines, but marketing and distribution are the behind-the-scenes drivers converting content into cash.

The third edition:

  • Includes perspectives from key industry executives at studios, networks, agencies and online leaders, including Fox, Paramount, Lucasfilm, Endeavor, Tencent, MPAA, YouTube, Amazon, and many more;
  • Explores the explosive growth of the Chinese market, including box office trends, participation in financing Hollywood feature films, and the surge in online usage;
  • Illustrates how online streaming leaders like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, YouTube, Hulu and Facebook are changing the way TV content is distributed and consumed, and in cases how these services are moving into theatrical markets;
  • Analyzes online influences and disruption throughout the distribution chain, and explains the risks and impact stemming from changing access points (e.g., stand-alone apps), delivery methods (over-the-top) and consumption patterns (e.g., binge watching);
  • Breaks down historical film windows, the economic drivers behind them, and how online and digital delivery applications are changing the landscape.

Ulin provides the virtual apprenticeship you need to demystify and manage the complicated media markets, understand how digital distribution has impacted the ecosystem, and glimpse into the future of how film and television content will be financed, distributed and watched. An online eResource contains further discussion on topics presented in the book.

Table of Contents


  1. Market Opportunity and Segmentation: The Diverse Role of Studios and Networks
  2. Intellectual Property Assets Enabling Distribution: The Business of Creating, Marketing, and Protecting an Idea
  3. Financing Production: Studios and Networks as Venture Capitalists
  4. Theatrical Distribution
  5. The (Non-Download, Non-Streaming) Home Video Business
  6. Television Distribution
  7. Internet Streaming and On Demand Access: A New Paradigm Matures - On-Demand and Multi-Screen Access, FAANGs+, Cord-Cutting, Online Originals, Cloud Applications, Social Media, Changing How We Watch, Direct from the Creator, and More
  8. Ancillary Revenues: Merchandising, Video Games, Hotels, Pay-Per-View and Transactional VOD Roots, Airlines, and Other Markets
  9. Marketing
  10. Making Money: Net Profits, Hollywood Accounting, and the Relative Simplicity of Online Revenue Sharing



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Jeffrey C. Ulin has worked as a media executive, attorney, lecturer, and entrepreneur. Nearly half of his 25+ years in the film and television business were at Lucasfilm, where he headed worldwide distribution for all markets (theatrical, video, TV, online), and managed sales for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Jeff also co-founded and ran animation studio Wild Brain (where he created Disney’s pre-school hit Higglytown Heroes), helped manage Paramount and Universal’s overseas video joint venture, and used this book to teach the class "Media & Entertainment: Economics, Policy and Strategy" at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.


"The Business of Media Distribution has been an invaluable part of our Entertainment Law program since its first publication. While feature and episodic production are exploding, the world of distribution is in a major state of flux, and this book has been one of the most up-to-date resources for me, as a practitioner, and for our entertainment and new media students. This edition further addresses the latest changes in the evolving economics and structures of the distribution universe. It will continue to be on our course reading lists."

—Professor Jay Dougherty, Professor of Law; Director, Entertainment & New Media Law Institute and Concentration Program, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

"For anyone generally interested in how networks and studios make money and put money at risk, from the TV shows and movies they produce to the novel challenges they’re facing today, this book provides a unique overview and a glimpse into the future."

—Blair Westlake, Former Corporate Vice-President of Media & Entertainment, Microsoft Corporation

"Jeff Ulin brings his practical experience and academic understanding of today’s complicated media world together to provide us with a comprehensive guide to navigating a world that changes almost daily!"

—Marion Edwards, President of International Television, 20th Century Fox (Retired)

"It's very difficult to find a text that gives both a comprehensive overview of the history of the entertainment industry as well as informed insight into its future landscape. Nothing out there does it better."

—Judd Funk, Professor, Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Chapman University; Former Head of Legal Affairs, Universal Pictures

"Anyone who wants to know more about how films and TV shows are distributed and exploited can learn a huge amount from this book."

—Jim Morris, President of Pixar Animation Studios; Producer, Wall•E (2008); Former President of Industrial Light & Magic

"Jeff Ulin’s broad spectrum of expertise, spanning all aspects of motion picture and television distribution, from theatrical to home entertainment to new media and television licensing, render him uniquely qualified to illuminate the business side of the entertainment business."

—Hal Richardson, President of Paramount Worldwide Television (Retired)

"The entertainment industry is an industry with ongoing challenges with constant change. Jeff provides a roadmap to see where you are going by understanding where you started."

—Louis Feola, Former President of Universal Home Video and Paramount Famous Productions

"This is the book that everyone in the business has been waiting for—Jeff’s seen it all and has written a must-read book for those wanting to understand the jigsaw of media distribution and in what ways the web is influencing how, when and where money is made."

—Michael E. Uslan, Executive Producer, Batman (1989), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Lego Movie (2014)

"Jeff Ulin’s book is a must-read for practitioners, academics and potential investors in the new media space. Having worked in all segments of the industry, Ulin brings together a unique combination of experience and analytical rigor to deconstruct the driving forces of an industry in dynamic change."

—Pablo Spiller, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor of Business and Technology, Emeritus, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

"Ulin expertly depicts the fluid nature of content creation and distribution in a concise and understandable way. There’s never been a better insider’s look at the choices and challenges that studio executives face every day."

—Gary Marenzi, Head of Entertainment Sales and Partnerships, Endeavor Content (WME) and Former President of MGM Worldwide Television

"Every Silicon Valley start-up working with Hollywood needs to know what Jeff knows. With his knowledge, you’re better able to fast forward the future of online video. Without it, you risk being stuck on pause."

—Kevin Yen, Former Director of Strategic Partnerships, YouTube

"I couldn’t help but be impressed at how up-to-date the book was… [T]his book manages to provide a mine of useful practical information in an interesting and enjoyable style."

—Jim Slater, Cinema Technology