A street vendor offers a pirated DVD copy of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' to a prospective buyer in Beijing. Image Credit: AFP

Piracy is considered the biggest threat to the film industry when it comes to finance. It has the potential to damage young filmmakers’ careers, profitability and it affects the advertising industry. At a panel discussion at the Dubai Film Market during the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff), the issue of how to tackle film piracy was discussed, and potential solutions to generate revenue from the millennials’ generation were presented.

The panel discussion ‘Where the kids are at: Millennials and the Digital Generation’ was moderated by Sarah Messer, director of media at Nielsen. The guests were Matthias Puschmann, managing director of VAST Media; Randel Bryan, managing director of Endemol Shine Beyond UK; Maria Gedeon, marketing director at Majid Al Futtaim; and Josh Dickey, entertainment editor at Mashable.

“Piracy is a big problem and they’re affecting TV platforms,” said Messer.

Puschmann then elaborated by saying the evolution of how to make revenue has changed by fans getting to see celebrities and “charging them a fee.” He also pointed out examples such as meet and greets and concerts.

Another topic explored was ‘fandoms’, a term frequently used in pop culture, referring to communities of people who support a particular movie or TV show.

Dickey described fandoms as “very hard to build”. Yet, once a fandom is successfully built, it is the “biggest thing you could have”.

On a lighter note, Bryan joked about the difficulties of earning through monetising videos on YouTube, by saying “One flight would cost me monetising 100 million views.”

— The Young Journalist Award (YJA) at Diff is a training programme for high school and university students who are aspiring writers and reporters. Eight students are competing at the festival this year. One winner will secure a monthlong internship with Gulf News.