Events » Distribution Planning Masterclass (SYD)

This Masterclass is presented by Screen Producers Australia (SPA) in conjunction with AFTRS. In this Masterclass you will learn about designing a realistic distribution plan for your program to attract financing, and maximise audience and revenue.

Class Purpose:

  • To increase the knowledge base of producers about available distribution opportunities and the rights necessary to exploit programs as widely as possible in a rapidly changing digital world.
  • To increase knowledge of deal structures and distribution considerations.
  • To assist producers to draft realistic distribution plans for their programs when approaching funding bodies and the market


This Business Class will be split into the following sessions:


Before being able to construct a plan for your program, its first necessary to know how distribution systems work domestically and globally. What rights need to purchased when you make the program? What do the various standard contract terms mean? What rights are becoming standard in digital distribution and what do the many platform shorthand terms mean?  What are the key differences for each genre and format - Feature film, TV Drama and TV factual programs, comedy and children’s programs? What rights can you retain during financing?   

The following concepts will be covered:

  • Theatrical, free to air television, subscription television, and ancillary rights.
  • The Video On Demand space – SVOD, AVOD, TVOD, EST, DTO
  • On Line rights, webisodes.
  • Primary and Secondary windows
  • Multiple Window deals
  • Territories
  • Distributors, Presales and Distribution Guarantees
  • Sales agents and Minimum Guarantees
  • Digital Aggregators
  • Commissions
  • Retaining rights

Speaker: David Whealy, Principal DWA Entertainment Lawyers (Sydney & Melbourne)



Markets for television programs shift with technology and audience tastes. Limited channels gave way to multi channels, home entertainment received a boost from DVDs that has now dwindled and Video On Demand is the new kid on the block. How is digital disruption affecting sales and revenues? Is the competition between linear television and VOD creating more opportunities and more complications? What are the new directions in audience tastes? Producers often partner up with distributors so what do the deals look like and what do producers need to know?

This session will cover:

  • Sales opportunities, trends, and players
  • Sales types – royalties and commission based
  • Distribution advances – is it in your interests for more or less?
  • Payment terms – what to expect
  • Marketing expenses – approvals, limits, considerations
  • Distributor consultations and communication

Speakers: Joanne Azzopardi, Senior Vice President Sales and Acquisitions, Beyond Distribution (Sydney)

Jessica Ellis, Head of Content Sales & Distribution, ABC Commercial (Sydney)



Big Data is playing an increasing role in the advertising and marketing strategies of major brands around the world. Distributors are constantly developing new ways of using social media to reach and target their audiences. A case study of two campaigns for The Dressmaker and Dance Academy.

Speaker: Beatrix Holland, Digital content and social media strategist, ScreenHerd. (Sydney & Melbourne)



The session will cover the following: 

  • Cinema release in Australia – Distribution Guarantees, terms, P&A issues.
  • Box Office and Sales estimates
  • Alternative distribution – Cinema on Demand, self-distribution and 4 walling.
  • Expectations of screen agencies.
  • Policy settings – Producer offset, marketplace attachments.
  • Encouraging private investment – marketing investment vs equity.
  • Film Festivals – How to use them as platforms for distribution deals.

Speakers: Tait Brady, Producer, The Acme Film Company and Distributor, Label. (Sydney & Melbourne)

Brian Rosen, Producer, SixtyFourSixty. (Sydney & Melbourne)

Brian Cobb, Creative Producer, Cobbstar Productions (Sydney)

View the course outline here.

Masterclass Details:

 Wednesday 13 September, 2017
TIME: 1.00pm - 5.00pm
VENUE: AFTRS, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park NSW
INCLUDES: Afternoon Tea 


SPA Members: $90 | Other Industry Guilds: $135 | General Price: $150 

To receive the SPA members special discount, select ENROL on the AFTRS booking page, and choose SPA member registrant type.

Presented by Screen Producers Australia and the Australian Film Television and Radio School.


For lawyers attending the Business Essentials Workshop:
Seminars and other CPD activities are not accredited by The Law Society of New South Wales. Under the CPD Rules, if SPA’s Business Essentials Workshop is relevant to your immediate or long term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of the law, then you should claim one “unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.


Graduating from the AFTRS Producing and Screen Business course in 2011, Brian had two short films selected as part of the Cannes Film Festival's 'Cinemas Des Antipodes’ in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

In 2013, SPA chose Brian for their 'Ones To Watch' program and in December 2014 Screen Australia chose Brian in their early talent identification program, ‘Enterprise People’.

Brian produces THE HORIZON digital series. This record series has amassed over 50 million views globally and has been nominated and won many festival awards for acting, writing, directing and also the coveted award for Best Series.

In July 2015, Screen Australia granted Brian funds to produce a one-hour drama TV special.  HORIZON, based on the digital series, attracted the signature of award winning film writer/ director Stephan Elliott, the man behind iconic film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

In January 2016, Brian produced his first feature film titled INDIGO LAKE which had its theatrical release in April 2017.

In 2017, MIP TV chose PATRICIA MOORE as one of six projects globally to pitch in the digital series forum.  This was closely followed by DREAM CHANNEL VR being chosen by the Cannes Film Festivals’ NEXT VR THEATRE which premiered in May.

Brian has been working in the film and television sector for over 40 years. He has produced feature films – both live action and animation – and television drama. He has worked in Australia, the USA and Europe both as an independent producer and as an executive.  He was CEO of the Film Finance Corporation of Australia from 2003 until 2008 and was instrumental in bringing about the recent government film incentives of Producer Offset and merging of the federal film and TV agencies into Screen Australia.

Brian began producing films in the US in 1991 with the animated film ‘FernGully – The Last Rainforest’ distributed worldwide by 20th Century Fox. In 1994 he moved permanently to California when Walt Disney Pictures brought him to San Francisco to executive produce Roald Dahl’s ‘James and the Giant Peach’ with Tim Burton and Denise DiNovi as producers. From 1996 until 1999 he had a developing and producing deal with 20th Century Fox Family Entertainment under Chris Meledandri. In late 2002 he returned to Sydney to be CEO of the Film Finance Corporation of Australia.  With the merging of the FFC into the new federal government agency Screen Australia, Brian returned to the independent sector.

Brian was Executive Producer on the 2015 animated film ‘Blinky Bill The Movie’. Brian’s recent live action film ‘Around The Block’ starring Christina Ricci premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013.  He is producing Maya The Bee 2’ as a German co-production with Studio 100 Media in Munich through his animation company – Studio B Animation. With partner, Su Armstrong, he is actively in development on a number of projects with directors Vincent Ward, Claire McCarthy, Kim Mordaunt and Peter Hewitt. He has just closed financing with JuVee Productions in Los Angeles for the feature film The Personal History of Rachel Du Pree to star US Academy Award winning actress Viola Davis. 

With over 16 years of experience working as a senior manager in the Australian Digital Media & Entertainment industry, Jessica Ellis possesses an extensive understanding of strategic business development, global TV distribution and content acquisition strategy. 

As Head of Content Sales & Distribution for ABC Commercial, Jess is responsible for leading the ABC’s international broadcast and digital sales, managing global distribution rights across DVD and digital download platforms, developing content distribution and release strategies across the ABC’s complete domestic and international release slate, and driving revenue through traditional retailers and exisitng and emerging digital platforms, including EST, TVOD, SVOD and AVOD.

Jess also oversees ABC Commercial’s content acquisition strategy for domestic exploitation, the management of the division’s growing third party partnerships portfolio (including YouTube, Twitter & Facebook) and the syndication of ABC content across external commercial platforms. 

Under Jess’ leadership, ABC Commercial has signed major output deals with international distribution partners, leading to exponential growth in yearly revenue; secured launch partnerships with leading digital clients, including Netflix, Stan, Presto and iTunes; launched The Wiggles YouTube channel globally, generating dramatic increases in watch time and channel subscriptions; and signed a landmark syndication deal with out-of-home advertiser oOh! Media to syndicate ABC News content to 20 million people each week. 

Jess first began her business career working in drama investment for Screen Australia, before later moving to BBC Worldwide where she focused more heavily on sales and digital media.

Since joining the ABC in 2007, the busy mother of two has become one of the most highly regarded executives in the Australian entertainment industry, working with talent as diverse as Chris Lilley and the gang from Sesame Street, to forging relationships with world-class producers behind such hit series as Rake, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Janet King and more delivering their content to audiences the world over. 


Beatrix is a content strategist who specialises in working with screen projects. With Matt Atkins, she runs Melbourne-based ScreenHerd, a consultancy providing marketing strategy and support and sales packaging to titles from Australia and New Zealand.

Recent projects include the social and influencer strategy and execution for both The Dressmaker, and the Dance Academy feature. Away from the screen industry, she has collaborated with brands including Medibank, Australia Post, Telstra, Kmart, Intrepid Travel, BUPA and The Good Guys.

Before focusing on marketing, she worked across production, development and funding for screen organisations including the London Film Festival, MIFF, Film Victoria and Eyeworks Television.

Previous speaking engagements include General Assembly, the ICAA Conference, Open Channel and Melbourne Web Festival, as well as guest lectures and presentations at La Trobe University, RMIT and VCA. 

Tait has worked in a range of roles within the Australian and international film industry for more than 30 years which combine to create a unique skillset embracing creative development, producing, marketing, distribution, exhibition, financing and curation.

Tait is the principal of The Acme Film Company, a Melbourne-based production company; and established the boutique distribution company Label, in 2014. As a producer, over the last 5 years he has co-produced 6 projects and has others in active development, with collaborators including Rolf de Heer, Jason Byrne, Richard Frankland, Stephen Amis and Trish Lake, spanning features, documentary, webseries and television.  

Joanne Azzopardi joined Beyond Distribution in 2009 and is currently SVP of Sales & Acquisitions for Asia Pacific. Prior to joining Beyond, Joanne spent thirteen years at Southern Star, where she managed Southern Star's distribution activities, both Television and Feature Film Distribution, in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and South Africa.

David is the principal of entertainment legal firm DWA and is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW.

David is regarded as one of the leading and most experienced entertainment legal practitioners in Australia, possessing over 20+ years’ entertainment legal experience including senior executive positions with Omnilab Media, Holding Redlich, Beyond, ABC TV and PolyGram. 

David’s areas of expertise include copyright, trademarks, Australian and international film and television financing, production and chain of title agreements, music, advertising, distribution, production and marketing funding, and sales. He has been in involved in providing legal advice to Australian and international clients ranging from studios, distributors, broadcasters, major production companies, talent and creative across the globe across hundreds of film, television, advertising, music and theatre projects. 

David has also executive produced cumulatively over $350 million worth of film and television production in his career.