XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => News and Theory => Topic started by: Sleepless on September 06, 2013, 02:08:09 PM

Title: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on September 06, 2013, 02:08:09 PM
This is something that we've touched on quite a bit in other threads, and is something which really interests me at the moment. What Shane Carruth did with Upstream Color I think will continue to evolve and become the norm for many indie filmmakers, where a theatrical release is not necessarily the only option. For better or worse, the internet has leveled the playing field and now anyone who has a mind to can theoretically make movies for a living on their own terms.

As alternatives to cable also become increasingly popular (Netflix, Apple TV, Aereo, etc.) additional means of consumption and potentially distribution are also opened up.

I'm going to start posting articles that jive with this subject in here as I come across them. Please feel free to add others you find.


From Variety (http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/dvd-sales-decline-effect-studios-1200600256/):

Studios Find Their Best Hope for Offsetting a DVD Decline

When Walt Disney Pictures releases “Iron Man 3” on homevideo Sept. 24, it won’t be the first post-theatrical glimpse fans will get of the film after its theatrical run. The movie will be available for high-definition download three weeks earlier on a range of digital platforms from iTunes to Amazon, instead of the typical simultaneous rollout with disc purchase and digital rental/VOD formats.

What was once an exception to traditional windowing for movies is steadily becoming the rule. One year after Fox announced plans to offer all of its films two to four weeks early under the “Digital HD” banner, more and more blockbuster titles are getting the same distribution treatment. Warner Bros.’ “The Great Gatsby” was available on select digital platforms weeks before its Aug. 27 street date, while Paramount’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” did the same Aug. 20 — though disc buyers will have to wait until Sept. 10.

And after a few years of scattered trials with what the industry calls “early electronic sellthrough,” or EST, it’s not just the timing and duration of the window that’s being tweaked. Both where and when films are offered is being tested outside the home in retail stores and movie theaters.

Enabling this increasing experimentation is the changing operational structure at studios, most of which have combined their digital and disc divisions. Sony, Fox and Paramount have made such moves over the past several years, followed more recently by Warner Bros. and Universal.

With disc sales struggling to maintain the value they’ve long enjoyed on conglomerate balance sheets, EST growth is critical to studios, which must transition the whole notion of ownership to digital, a format far more conducive to the much lower margins being earned by rentals.

“We’re looking to encourage ownership in a digital world, and what EST does is separate the ownership piece out, brings it directly to the consumers, and creates impulse sales like we never had before,” said David Bishop, worldwide president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, who said Sony was the first to offer EST, through an exclusive iTunes sell-through for 2011 documentary “It Might Get Loud.” It soon followed with the studio’s fi rst major title in the window, “Bad Teacher.”

Disc Decline

Even in decline the disc business is the most valuable window after theatrical. In January, Nomura Securities estimated that home entertainment was responsible for 14% of total revenues at News Corp., 12% at Time Warner and 5% for Disney. Homevideo generated $18 billion in sales in 2012, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, slightly up over the previous year.

Whether an earlier electronic sell-through window is working is difficult to quantify, considering detailed statistics aren’t easy to come by in home entertainment, which is seeing a combination of Blu-ray sales and digital compensating for DVD losses. How much EST has to do with that isn’t clear: The early sales aren’t parsed out by the Digital Entertainment Group, which did fi nd, however, that EST overall soared by more than 50% in the first half of the year over the same period in 2012. That amounted to $490 million of the $8.6 billion spent on home entertainment in the first half of 2013, putting the category on track to reach $1 billion this year.

An earlier digital window could be propelling that growth, or perhaps such growth can be credited in part to the emergence of Ultraviolet, which has reached 13 million accounts via its cloud-based system for digitally accessing movies from every studio but Disney. That said, while EST’s growth is far stronger than that of any other subset of home entertainment, it still amounts to less than half of what VOD or subscription VOD collects.

Still, the margin on EST is so much greater than on its digital counterparts that studios can’t ignore it. At an investor’s day earlier this year, Time Warner disclosed that HD EST contributed $17.50 per transaction — $14 more than what VOD gets, and $16 more than SVOD.

Fox’s EST revenues are up 200% vs. a year ago on comparable titles in 2012, which the studio’s CEO, Jim Gianopulos, deemed “extremely encouraging” last month. “Many people have their credit cards already loaded into their (digital viewing) devices,” said Mike Dunn, worldwide president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. “We are now getting back that impulse purchase with early digital offers.”

With an early two-week window on “Paranormal Activity 4” in January, Paramount sold 12 times the EST copies sold on “Paranormal 3.” “For those who want the film first, they’ll come out and purchase,” said Dennis Maguire, president of worldwide home media distribution at Paramount.

Divisions Unite

Those successes have been enabled by integrating disc and digital departments at the studios instead of forcing them to compete for development, marketing and distribution resources.

In mid-May of this year, Warner Bros. became the most recent studio to make such a realignment. Previously, Ron Sanders oversaw physical sales and rentals at Warner while Thomas Gewecke, Warner’s former president of digital distribution, held the reins over digital film and TV transactions.

But in the wake of Kevin Tsujihara’s ascension to CEO of the studio, Gewecke was promoted to the more strategic role of chief digital officer, freeing up Sanders to deploy digital-fi rst sale offers with more gusto.

“When you’re only in charge of one piece of the business, you resist giving an advantage to digital, because you feel you like you should be protecting that one side of the business,” explained Sanders, now Warner’s president of worldwide home entertainment distribution. “When you are viewing across the whole P&L, you are willing to try things to drive ownership that you wouldn’t have been able to try in the old days.”

This single-shop approach enabled the EST international release in July on “42,” significantly before its street date in the U.S. Sanders needed to think big to connect a film about baseball to global audiences that weren’t at all familiar with the sport.

He and his team opted to give Apple’s iTunes a two-week exclusive to sell the title in the 86 countries where the American-centric story wasn’t playing theatrically. The iTunes service trumpeted its exclusivity by prominently promoting “42” on its home page in those nations. The movie was an iTunes top-five seller in a number of those territories during “42’s” first week of digital availability, and Warner is calling the experiment a success.

Universal Pictures is also more streamlined since May. The studio lured Fox digital guru Peter Levinsohn to take charge of physical and digital content across all windows after theatrical and broadcast runs worldwide. In overseeing subscription VOD as well as the transactional business, the newly minted president and chief distribution officer stands apart from many home entertainment chiefs who leave all film and TV subscription content oversight to their TV division colleagues.

What’s in Store

While Universal has been transforming the way its titles are released, the studio, instead of simply accelerating the window, has connected the transactional opportunity to a movie’s merchandise tie-ins before the movie even hits theaters.

“Despicable Me 2” made a unique splash at the retail level one week before its U.S. theatrical launch July 3, when Walmart and others were selling early EST pre-orders bundled with “Despicable Me 2” plush toys out of large cardboard stand-up displays. Consumers got to take the toys home right away and could access a digital sneak peek of the film. They will score the digital movie two weeks before its general home entertainment release across all formats at a to-be-determined date. They’ll also receive a Bluray/DVD copy on its street date.

Early EST availability for “Fast & Furious 6” was similarly marketed across retail, encouraging the digital buy at the time of the film’s launch in theaters. Brick-and-mortar stores have digital relevance given that many major chains have branded online storefronts, with Target the latest entrant to a category already occupied by Walmart and Best Buy.

Collaborating across departments was crucial to making such an innovation work, according to veteran U home entertainment chief Craig Kornblau. “There are a lot of different complications to consider before making the final move in regards to windows and timing,” he said.

In addition to pre-theatrical retail, early EST popped up this summer in select theaters in the form of souped-up movie tickets that were tied to new releases.

For about $25 plus the price of theatrical admission, patrons of Canadian theater chain Cineplex scored a ticket to see “Pacific Rim,” and guaranteed future access to an early digital HD copy. Purchasers were also granted immediate exclusive access to digital content created by the film’s director, Guillermo del Toro.

At select U.S. theaters, folks were offered a deluxe $50 ticket to Paramount’s “World War Z,” encompassing movie ticket, future digital copy, limited-edition poster and 3D glasses.

Rattling Windows

Tying pre-orders to a digital-first title in theaters is all the more unusual considering early EST treads on the tail-end of the theatrical window, which generally runs about four to five months until the DVD window begins. It speaks to the delicate balance among all windows in the distribution scheme that is the backbone of the studio business.

An earlier EST window may be less of a threat to that old world order than so-called premium VOD — the delivery of in-home rentals before or during the theatrical window — a prospect exhibitors have treated as a nuclear option for top-tier titles. While early EST could conceivably dilute the value of the theatrical window by riding its coattails so closely, it’s a bet home entertainment divisions are willing to make, because the window is seen as a way to train the subset of the audience who are DVD collectors to make the jump to digital ownership by getting movies earlier than they would on disc.

Digital storefronts where early EST is made available also benefit. John Batter, CEO of M-Go, a relatively new service that provides films and TV for purchase and rentals from many studios, sees it as a win-win. “Viewers value getting the movies earlier, and it’s great for services like M-Go because it drives adoption,” he said.

While a consistent window might help in that regard, too, don’t expect one anytime soon. Lionsgate in particular has tried multiple options; there’s a gap of just three days between the Aug. 30 digital release of “Now You See Me” and the release on disc, for $14.99 in standard definition and $17.99 in HD. That’s within the $13-$20 range most EST is priced at regardless of whether it’s on the early side or not, though there is experimentation there as well.

“I think the only standard is that there is not a standard,” said Steve Beeks, co-chief operating officer of Lionsgate and the president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. “Sometimes we go early with different pictures. It’s (calculated through) an algorithm that we use to try to maximize what the return can be.”

Lionsgate centralizes control of what it calls “all entertainment in the home” in one integrated department that pushes disc, transactional digital, VOD and TV distribution. Beeks has ultimate oversight, with Ron Schwartz, president and g.m. of home entertainment sales and distribution; and Jim Packer, president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, his top lieutenants primarily focusing on physical and digital, respectively.

Disney Undivided

Disney is the only major currently sticking to a separated digital and physical sales strategy, overseen by Janice Marinelli, president of ABC-Disney Domestic Television; and Lori MacPherson, exec VP of global product management, respectively.

Adding a third unique layer, Bob Chapek serves as Disney’s president of consumer products, managing all retail distribution of studio franchise merchandise, spanning toys, food, clothing, titles and other items.

Because Disney deals more in multiproduct brands and franchises than in single-title launches, the studio believes it takes a more complex approach to get product to consumers. Nevertheless, those on the team said they go out of their way not to compete with each other.

“This absolutely works for us,” said Marinelli, who handles subscription, streaming and transactional digital operations. “We are all coming to the table to discuss ‘Iron Man 3’ for fall. Lori is looking at setting up a window for the physical world; I’m looking at advancing the digital, and Bob is inside retail stores on this. We’re looking to try to manage the whole brand, as opposed to individual businesses.”

Disney has been slower out of the gate on early EST, with “Wreck-It-Ralph” its first such offering Feb. 12, prior to the March 5 bow of the title on Blu-ray/DVD and VOD. It’s important for the studio to take its time figuring out how to maximize revenues when considering this new way of looking at the home entertainment sector.

“Everything is in transition,” said Marinelli. “For the longest time, home entertainment was content delivered to your home. Now it’s something that is so much broader. Ultimately, we’ll have to come up with a better term to acknowledge how the business is transforming itself.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on September 06, 2013, 02:57:35 PM
Good idea for a thread. VHX (http://www.vhx.tv/) is the method by which Upstream was distributed.

Edit - Apparently the platform Louis CK used was also commission based, don't know which one. So much for that idea.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on September 11, 2013, 11:02:42 AM
Thanks for that info. I didn't know VHX was specifically what was used. It's a cool idea. I haven't spent a great deal of time on their website, but it seems like even though VHX of course takes a cut, it does give the filmmaker much more control than the conventional studio/theaters distribution system.

As for the DIY model you referenced, there are certainly some similar out-of-the-box options out there already being utilized by various experts and gurus that a filmmaker could take and adapt for their own purposes.

Here's an interesting article from Indiewire (http://networkedblogs.com/OXqI5) which was abridged in Filmmaker Magazine (http://networkedblogs.com/OXqI5):

Digital On Demand: Show Us The Numbers

Video on Demand is a fast-growing distribution sector for films. But unlike theatrical box office reporting, cable companies and other video viewing platforms don't report viewership in a uniform and transparent way, leaving filmmakers and the industry without any benchmarks for where audiences are engaging with their content. Liesl Copland, of WME's Global Finance and Distribution and Digital Media groups discussed the future of Big Data and the need to change the system in a rousing speech at the TIFF Doc Conference this afternoon. She emphasized the need for transparency in the VOD industry and called upon filmmakers to demand it. Read her full speech below:

You may have seen a New York Times article a couple of Sundays ago that profiled one of the largest consumer information gathering companies in the world of "Big Data" - the Acxiom Corporation. Acxiom, founded by a former Microsoft executive Scott Howe, was doing something novel and perhaps even counter-intuitive.

They created a website called Aboutthedata.com that allows you and I to view our consumer profiles - all of that information that is secretly gathered every time we make a purchase, and that advertisers are eager to know so that they can specifically target their products.

Now on this site you not only can view your profile - but you can engage with that data - editing it to better reflect your consumer behavior, and even choosing to opt out of the system completely.

In an industry known for its lack of transparency, this is a truly disruptive move on Acxiom's part.

By crowd-sourcing consumer behavior, Acxiom hopes to breed efficiencies that advertisers have dreamed of and that will make us as consumers less annoyed by those targeted ads.

I decided to check it out for myself. When I looked up my own profile, I realized that the system isn't flawless. For instance, Acxiom pegged me as a "high-volume/low-end retail purchaser" -- which I was truly hurt by, having spent a considerable portion of my disposable income stocking my closet well beyond my means with upscale retail items.

But I decided to take control of my data nonetheless. After filling out a couple of questions and making some changes to my personal information, I suddenly realized that it was not only kind of fun, but revolutionary in that I was playing a role in crafting my consumer identity.

This two-way and participatory nature of where consumerism is going was sold to me in an instant. And while our personal data is certainly a hot button issue these days, I have to give Acxiom credit for bringing the consumer under the tent when it comes to their data gathering goals. And hey, if it means that I'll be receiving fewer credit card offers and more notices about sales on upscale kids' clothes, I'm all for it.

All of this made me think about our own industry, and what could be possible if there was more transparency about our data.

I think a lot about how data relates to our business. As we're all too aware, it can be currency for how our projects ultimately get off the ground.  I got this bug, as I mentioned the last time I gave a talk here in 2009 when I worked for Netflix.

Seeing film lovers put movies in their queue when festival awards were announced half-way around the world sparked both my inner data geek and opened my eyes to where movie consumption - particularly documentary viewing - was going. The big, opaque world of "digital media."

So, that great unknown is clearly here to stay.

And here's what it's telling us: the viewership for documentaries is increasingly happening on "home" entertainment platforms:  Netflix, iTunes, to some degree Hulu and Amazon.  In addition a lot of new platforms have cropped up - a few in that strange and new "crowdsourcing" category I mentioned (a-hem) and many on the consumption side like VHX and Chill.

Theatrical has even become digitally "enabled" and "on demand" with platforms like Gathr and Tugg,  – and hence you have heard of titles like Indie Game, Sound City, Girl Rising and #Regeneration.

Along the path of innovation, the "new" undoubtedly favors the documentary, whose audiences are passionate, leaning in, eager to eventize and highly "gatherable," and increasingly interested in seeing all the great stories that you filmmakers are compelled to tell.

The digital world is rich with data and documentaries are overindexing in the digitally enabled present, so suffice it to say, I found the "novel tactic of openness" mentioned in the Acxiom article reassuring. But not all platforms are equal regarding the data they offer, and hence the title of this talk today -- "Digital on Demand: Show Us the Numbers."

My goal here is to give you a snapshot of data tracking in the digital space now, some input on what we’re missing, and a few solutions to get us closer to that novel idea of "openness."

Of course, the motion picture business is no stranger to data.  We use a lot of consumer research in our industry – MPG theater test screenings, Rentrak home video numbers, Nielsen ratings, online tracking, exit polling, focus groups – there seems to be a measurement system at every point of a film's lifespan.

Studios and agencies like mine pick our poison and try to get ahead of the curve and the world goes round.

But there are some analytic "black holes" that we - the buyers, sellers, and content creators - can't see into. For starters Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu. And we are receiving data but there is no uniform reporting or clarity along the chain that would allow us to really do something with that information.

A "viral video" from the last week or two is also relevant to this discussion about data and content. You may have caught this speech from Oscar-winning, Emmy-nominated actor Kevin Spacey at the Edinburgh Television Conference.

In it he discussed his experience getting "House of Cards" off the ground, and how Netflix and similar platforms are affecting the traditional television development model.

Spacey sort of embodies the bridge between old media and new; he is the Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre Company in London and the co-founder of Trigger Street Productions and Labs with digital pioneer and social media maven Dana Brunetti.

If you haven't seen Spacey's talk yet (which some of you probably have since it's already had more than 1M hits), I encourage you to watch it.

One of the most interesting things he said was that when he, Beau Willimon and David Fincher met with all the networks in pitching the series "House of Cards," something unique happened at Netflix. They said, and I quote: "we looked inside our data and know our subscribers will enjoy your series --  'we believe in you.;" (

He also made a point that should be very compelling to content creators in the room about the difference between the traditional TV pilot model and the "straight to series" /"House of Cards" model.

He implied that there would naturally be a different product at the end of these two processes by the very fact of how they operate and strive for success.

Netflix greenlights approximately 13 episodes at once, releasing them at the same time, trusting that the audience is going to allow the story to play out.  In the traditional model, networks order about 100 pilots a season, air about a third of them, and decide what they will send to series based on the reaction to more or less one block of 22 or 44 minutes.

The full season approach allows for and recognizes that it can be afforded more patience from the audience. Meanwhile in the network model, makers of TV pilots have to describe everything that's at stake, define all of the characters and their motivations, and wow and cliffhanger their way to a positive response from execs and focus groups in less than an hour.

Spacey talks about how focus groups almost tanked "House of Blues" for all the wonderful characteristics that made it so unique and special, and draws our attention to how both "The Sopranos" and "Seinfeld" developed audiences over 4 or 5 seasons before reaching their peak. Sometimes content needs time to connect with its core audience. And sometimes that might not even happen it a film or TV series' primary window.

At the recent season premiere of season 5.2 of "Breaking Bad," the accumulated audience from the series picking up speed on other platforms - ringing in the highest ratings to date - was called "The Netflix Effect.

People are watching things out of time, on demand, and that very fact is also giving the content more of a chance.


Most of the platforms showing content out of time are creating original series, but the point is the data set is helping them do it in potentially more effective ways, and also helping audiences connect with them, paying dividends back to the creative process.

Of course we know that both Netflix and the networks have data.  But the types of data they have are very different.

Over the past decade Netflix has developed a much more complex data set for film and television content viewing.  They know everything you and I have ordered since the day we became subscribers.  They know if you consistently rate content from different genres, if you're watching "Breasts:  A Documentary" in the middle of the afternoon…they even know if you are cheating on your spouse - Have you seen those ads?

I can see the engineer who was puzzled at the behavior of all of these households watching episodes twice.  Probably right at the beginning of a binge, and intuiting that it meant someone in the household couldn't wait to get further ahead into their favorite series so they committed Netflix Adultery.

Networks don't have data at such a sophisticated level.

They don't have the ability to see all of the series that you're watching, they can't follow what you’re watching on your office computer, and they definitely don't have insight into what series you are passionate about, evidenced by a weekend of binge watching, willingness to sit through an episode twice to keep your marriage alive, or whether you give a series of film a 2 or a 5 star viewer rating.

The idea here is that access to data is not enough. More so, it's the complexity of that data and the ability to relate it to data about other content that will ultimately allow creatives like many of you in this room the opportunity to make better content. And relate it across platforms.

So if this is a means to richer content and more engaged audiences, where are we with gaining access and analysis of this data?

While we have insight into some of the data, the reporting hasn't evolved with the rapidly increasing viewership patterns. There is still no uniform reporting system that aggregates all data on, say, a film or documentary across all of the platforms.

 Here's a brief primer on how home viewing has been traditionally measured:

 At the outset of home viewing, the ad supported model took hold and it was part of the institutionalized Nielsen system – what we all know as the barometer by which ads are sold and series are judged.

As the VHS and DVD came to bear, viewership tracking adapted to include DVD rental and sales. With a Rentrak subscription you can pull up most of the market on a DVD (aside from Wal-Mart in some cases), but overall the system is an accurate measurement tool.

But as we all know, home viewing has shifted from an ad supported model to one of digital transactions and subscription viewing.  There is no ratings equivalent in this space, no title-specific tracking system available to all data subscribers about "on demand."

Cable VOD viewership is tracked and I have some numbers to share on that in a minute. But for the moment this space is equivalent to a landfill in an earthquake - all the patterns go haywire. We - as the subscribers to the data - can't track performance across media at even a title level when it comes to the cable VOD platform.

We are able to get data on our titles if we are the network or distribution company, but the data is not transparent like Nielsen or Rentrak’s data across the industry.  We have experienced the day-and-date boom (starting in 2007) and bust to independent film and still we have no system of reporting.

If you're lucky enough to be on the other side of a movie's release, you may have some additional data -- the accounting statement can be a hefty tool into this fuzzy world. But in many ways, information actually gets even more confusing and frustrating because the data - what the revenues are from various platforms and windows during which your film has been exploited - are lumped imperceptibly together into a few seemingly simple categories that aren't telling us enough.

We don't know if more people bought a film at $2.99 vs. $12.99, we don't know if they loved it so much that had to own a digital copy or if they just were happy to stream it. And we don't know if it over-indexed on iTunes like "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop" and "Marley"; or found more of an audience on cable VOD like maybe "Joan Rivers"; or whether it ran a more or less consistent audience, evergreen on Hulu like, say, "Super Size Me."

I am not citing actual performances here – maybe making educated guesses – but that’s exactly it. I can still only guess.

If we could make even the simplest of connections, we could learn things.  But of course, the platforms are learning, and the scariest part of all is that they are learning how much to pay for our content.

I think one of the reasons why this lack of reporting gets little attention is because if you look at the digital space in general -- and by that I'm primarily referring to the web -- the metrics business is presumably thriving.

Dozens of information systems like comScore, Mass Relevance, Google analytics, Klout, ContentID and ZEFR have cropped up that literally measure every click of online activity - online or fan - and every shade of gray of relevance among taste-makers. 

But when comparing these tools to what is available on the "on demand" platforms we're discussing today, the black holes are really overwhelming.

Let's take a look at them:

VOD : Almost half the country is watching VOD via cable. 8.9B transactions in 2012, 78% of which were "Free On Demand" (FOD), 19% were "Subscription On Demand" (SVOD), and 3% were "Transactional On Demand" (TOD).

*

Not surprisingly, among FOD content, the "TV Entertainment" category is the leader with over 2.3B transactions and 1.3B hours of viewing in 2012.

The availability of more long-form content is driving the categories growth.

*

Extending the IP's value via FOD... The "TV Entertainment" category reaches 30% of cume transactions by Day 3, 50% by Day 7, and 72% by Day 15.

In other words, a significant amount of viewing is happening beyond 7 days, which means there is an opportunity to monetize content well beyond the "7-day window."



Among the three SVOD PROVIDERS, we see a lot of activity on a monthly pay model.
*

NETFLIX has 37.6M Global streaming subs, *HULU PLUS - 4.0M subscribers, available on more than 350M mobile/connected devices. * AMAZON PRIME, 10.0M subscribers, and so on.

In 2012, PRIME members accounted for roughly 4% of AMAZON's 182M active customer base, but they accounted for nearly 10% of purchases and they spend twice as much as non-prime customers on the platform, $1,224 vs. $505 per year.



iTunes is a little different, it's a TRANSACTIONAL platform but practically ubiquitous, and some of those VOD numbers on your accounting statements are coming from rental on the platform.  Apple's iTunes music store is now home to 577M users, adding nearly half-million new accounts every day.

At its current rate, Apple will add another 100M iTunes accounts by the end of 2013, and have served up over 15 BILLION media downloads.



But you and I don't know anything about them beyond what the analysts tell us in aggregate or what Apple or Amazon chooses to reveal.  And that is a LOT of valuable information that we are missing out on.

Consumer behavior varies greatly across these platforms and is measurable against entirely different things.

At the moment, cable VOD has virtually no user experience, no algorithm offering more movies similar to those you have watched or paid for, no metadata - it is, as people lament, an alphabetical list of titles "foldered" into a growing number of categories.

To put it mildly, discoverability is a bitch. Now, of course the cable companies are working on this because they too would love to be able to serve up more transactions by title than 3% of the overall usage on the platform. And believe me, business will grow when discoverability gets better.

By comparison, Netflix allows you and your household to curate your own content library, Amazon can correlate film recommendations to things you purchase and read. Oh, and it controls the Internet Movie Database which is a sleeping giant of a film network. And iTunes has a ton of information on price sensitivity around content.

The fact that this data exists and we still can't see it or cross-reference it across different films is truly an oversight whose time has come to bear.

We can't have any leverage in a market if we don't have access to this information.

 Simply stated, the player that controls the information has the upper hand in a deal.



We're missing out on opportunities here. Transparency breeds efficiency - it shows what's working, what isn't. What programs, genres, nights, talent, themes are generating audience interest. Where audiences are, go after they watch, to whom they tweet and post and share.

Consumers should want this because right now the studios are only relying on their own data, making for poorly researched greenlight decisions. Studios should want this because they will be able to access their competitors' data as well as their own. And the data companies should want this because it will maintain their relevance and hence increase their revenue in this new content ecosystem.

The technology exists, but perhaps the will does not. Right now huge deals are being structured between these platforms and the studios. Libraries of content are being turned over, and so far to my knowledge, no deal has included the rights to see detailed consumption and viewership data on a mass reporting level that can be cross-referenced.

I don't think anyone wants to diminish the huge expenditure, both financially and intellectually, that these platforms have spent to create their products and algorithms, and gather all this consumer information that helps them grow their businesses.  But it seems unfair that the people who are creating this content are boxed out of learning about their own audiences.

And for filmmakers like you this can be maddening, considering that every festival panel features execs like me telling you to "know your audience."

You have the power to track audiences through social media, ask for their emails, encourage them to tell their friends about your project and ultimately tap into their networks.

Now, this where I envision the utopian future that I have to believe will eventually become a reality.

Imagine we will one day track a film's audience from the very first point of discovery - say here at TIFF.

We will follow it through theaters, gaining audiences, and emails - pick up who watched the trailer on various websites. Who bought a ticket, then voted 5 stars on some app that knows they left the theater and then tweeted about it, causing an additional 25 people to see the film the next day.

Follow this pattern through exhibition, VOD, all the other platforms and distribution windows... or reach back perhaps to the film's crowd-funding campaign and discern who the film's most influential evangelists were. And then use this data to cross-reference it against other films with either similar or entirely different characteristics to uncover what audiences are responding to.

I don't think my utopian future is very far off.

And for docs, very much the beneficiary of these new technologies, the present is bright.  That same week the Acxiom and Spacey news hit, The Economist published this article about the rise of documentary films in the UK. One point you will find particularly interesting and that many of you I am sure have read, is that Netflix is now producing documentaries as it moves further into original content.

But the article moreover is about the new health in the documentary space – in this case in the UK.  The genre has been making better content – a "new breed of theatrically-minded, more commercially viable documentaries” and the numbers, at least in the UK, are growing.

So I wondered about the numbers in North America, and so I did a little digging.

The numbers are growing year over year here as well.  One theory is that day-and-date releases are bringing a large number of docs and films in general into a small number of theaters for a brief time to create awareness for a multi-platform release. But nonetheless, we are on the rise – and since we know docs do so well on all these platforms, now all we need is the data and we have a perfect system.

So how could we engender this Utopia even more?

Books have ISBN numbers, every single product we purchase has a UPC code or some sort of tracking system associated with it. So why the bleep hasn't the movie business been able to come up with some sort of equivalent? Why isn't there some sort of universal code or content watermark that follows the shelf life of a film and provides us with valuable information along the way?

Well that would mean that every movie ever made would have to be cataloged. A Herculean task to say the least, much like mapping the entire human genome or every street corner on the planet (hint: Google), or cataloging every book ever put into print or... something as completely insurmountable as that...So what can we do until the impossible becomes possible? 



CROWDFUND: on sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo, you can engage directly with super passionate early adopters or "alpha audiences,” get their email addresses, bring them on as evangelists.

KEEP THEM ENGAGED and watch your social footprint grow.



USE NEW PLATFORMS.



HELP IMPROVE USER INTERFACE.  Cable promises to improve beyond the alphabetical list, but look at VHX and Chill and see what the future should be.



CONTROL YOUR METADATA, INPUT IT SOMEWHERE.  EVERYWHERE.



SHARE INFORMATION. Create a Wikipedia of reporting until such time we have a uniform reporting and metrics system.

And someone invent the Universal content SKU please.

If you are a member of a guild, think long and hard about the negotiations coming up in 2014. Many of the big platforms that control a lot of your audience are not at the table and don't have a uniform contract with the studios.  This near-future transparency could have a watershed moment in those negotiations where monetization of new media is likely to rear its head again as a hot-button issue.

You can start having an impact on the metadata right now, here at the film festival. Ask your festival coordinator what you can learn from the behavior of the audience here and on the TIFF website. Find out how many trailer views you have and share share share.



All of this information should be part of the conversation.

Hollywood is woefully behind but with a little ingenuity and passion from all of you, we can catch up and eventually surpass the present reality.  I am very optimistic and deeply believe in the possibility of a clear, transparent reporting model that gives us visibility into everything. One that makes us all smarter and better at making movies, frees up the artist, and creates more engaged moviegoers who are eager to support fresh voices.

I am happy to have a little, but hope I don’t have to have too much – patience.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on September 23, 2013, 02:41:44 PM
Direct Distribution & Marketing Roundup: A Who's Who of Today's Digital Tools (http://nofilmschool.com/2013/09/direct-distribution-roundup-whos-todays-digital-tools/)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on October 07, 2013, 11:30:57 AM
Distributing Films In The Internet Age: Interviews with Pivotshare and Fandor

Source (http://networkedblogs.com/POCr3)

The Film, TV & Digital Session at the recent Hacking Arts event focused on film distribution, with panelists Richard Matson from Gathr Films, Adam Mosam from Pivotshare and Albert Reinhardt from Fandor. The panel was moderated by Elle Schneider of Digital Bolex.

All three firms are involved with distribution. Pivotshare offers tools to help the filmmaker sell their videos online. Fandor is an online subscription platform that pays its filmmakers a share of its subscription fees. Gathr Films provides an on-demand theatrical experience; a screening of a film can be requested at a local theater, and if enough people buy tickets, the screening happens.

The event was held at MIT and attendance skewed strongly towards students, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that when Gathr’s Matson asked who had a cable subscription, less than a third of the audience of about 400 put up their hands. More significant was that when asked “who buys DVDs on a regular basis?” only two people in the entire audience raised their hands.

Pivotshare’s Mosam observed that there are some disturbing trends facing the industry. “While filmmakers want everything at 4K, I was on a panel with a guy from Google, and they’re working on screens on your toaster. What it’s really doing is taking the acceptable quality down. What that means; it becomes all about context and interaction.”
Film & TV Panel: Matson, Mosam, Reinhardt and moderator Elle Schneider

Film & TV Panel: Matson, Mosam, Reinhardt and moderator Elle Schneider

Asked whether they feel any pressure from ISPs or the studios, Fandor’s Reinhardt said that they had felt no pressure from the large studios, who probably don’t see them as a competitor. Of the ISPS he went on to say that “they haven’t directly challenged the data we’re pushing through [the networks], but we do face issues with performance.” Both Pivotshare and Fandor have to work on getting their traffic routed as efficiently as possible to minimize the hops between stations, something that larger services like Netflix have spent years optimizing.

In talking about movie distribution, Gathr’s Matson said, “You need to have an understanding of the space and how movies make money, because even if your motivation isn’t to do so, you need to understand what everyone else’s is.” Matson went on to say, “The more niche your movie, the easier it is to market,” but he’s clearly uncomfortable with that statement, as he goes on to add, “that worries me because I’ve handled lots of issue-oriented things, and you can get your core audience behind that, but how valuable is it? I want people outside of that niche to be coming and experiencing movies because those are the ones that are most likely to be affected by them.”

We spoke to both Albert Rienhardt of Fandor and Adam Mosam of Pivotshare about their online services:

Fandor

Filmmaker: What is Fandor?

Reinhardt: We have an echo system where all these filmmakers can have their films together. It’s a subscription service, and we have layers of curation and recommendation built up so that we can lead subscribers from one film to another.

Filmmaker: How is it different from, say, YouTube or Pivotshare?

Reinhardt: We have a closed echo system; not everyone can upload to it, and we make choices about what’s in the library. We have a revenue share with our filmmakers so that they can get direct compensation from the monthly subscription revenue and put it towards paying off their old credit card bills or starting a new film!

fandor

Filmmaker: What kinds of films are you looking for?

Reinhardt: We’re looking for a wide variety from people who aren’t completely unseasoned. They’ve been in festivals or they have tried to get their films into festivals, so they have some sense of what the world is like and, as Richard was saying, they know a little bit about what the framework for this distribution is and they’re open for having us as another means of distributing their film. They’re not expecting an upfront payment for it and they’re not necessarily bound by some exclusive contract. And if they’ve done carve-outs, or not signed with other people, and they have worldwide rights, then we can look towards the future and bring it to a global audience, not just U.S. and Canada.

Filmmaker: How does a filmmaker get on Fandor?

Reinhardt: It’s curated; submit a DVD or a hard drive and we take that and we do all the prep and then there’s a 50-50 revenue share.

Filmmaker: What sort of analytics do you provide?

Reinhardt: We have a lot of data, but primarily we’re giving breakdowns on seconds per film viewed, and we do some territory information so that filmmakers have a sense of how there individual titles are performing by state.

pivotshare

PivotShare

Filmmaker: Where does Pivotshare fit into the market?

Mosam: In the whole value chain you have the content itself, you have distribution, and then you have marketing. With us, you’re selling, renting or subscribing content, and the filmmaker gets 70%. The difference between what we do and what Fandor does is that they provide marketing; they’re bringing you an audience. With our platform, we’re empowering you to distribute to your audience.

Everybody is trying to figure out; what services do I need? Do I have a social following that is actually substantial enough to make money? Or is it just going to be a blip on the radar? And the answer everyone is coming to is, “My film should be everywhere, at different times.”

If you’re going to do a VOD-only play, your film needs to be on iTunes, on GooglePlay, on Amazon, and wherever else you can put it. What’s the difference? Everyone will do distribution; they’ll all get your bits from A to B. The perceived benefit of iTunes is the large audience.

What we tell filmmakers is put it on us, and put it everywhere else as well. You’re going to make the most money with us, but if somebody finds your film through iTunes and buys it, then iTunes has earned their percentage. Amazon will charge 50%, but Amazon has earned that if they have brought you the customer; you’re paying marketing.

If you have a website for your film, you should use us to power your site.

But still the biggest challenge for filmmakers is building an audience and rallying the community depending on the type of film it is.

Filmmaker: So you’re more the playback and payment mechanism?

Mosam: Sure, the infrastructure layer for serving your content, accepting payment, seeing the analytics.

If you don’t have a site, we will automatically generate one for you — you don’t need to have any technical knowledge. If you have a site, you can embed a Pivotshare embeddable player on your site.

The main message to filmmakers is there’s more to life in the future than iTunes, Netflix and YouTube.

Filmmaker: How do filmmakers sign up?

Mosam: There’s no cost to sign up. We take 30% of sales.

Filmmaker: What sort of analytics do you provide?

Mosam: As with many of us, it’s evolving. We start with the website analytics side; where is your business coming from? How long are they on the site for? How many views, bounce rate etc.? It’s what you’d typically find in a Google analytics package, and then we move on to the income analytics: how many people pay per view, rent it or bought it? Who are they? You can export a customer list, names, email etc., all the way down to the media-level analytics. It will tell you viewership by device, how many plays on web, iPhone, etc., the drop off or when they stopped watching, all the way down to total income.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on January 10, 2014, 01:23:21 AM
Ted Hope Takes CEO Post At Fandor, Subscription VOD Service For Indie Films
8 January 2014
via Deadline

BREAKING: Ted Hope, the veteran independent producer who took a sabbatical to run the San Francisco Film Society, has resurfaced in a new gig. He starts at the end of the month as CEO of Fandor, a subscription service that hopes to do for festival and foreign films what Netflix does for mainstream films and TV series. He has been on Fandor’s board of advisors since the service launched in 2011 and sees an opportunity to redraw what he feels is an arcane infrastructure that results in all but the most commercial or exceptional arthouse titles falling through the cracks.

“At the Film Society, I went from project producer to trying to build something better for the ambitious hyper film culture and as much as I loved that mission, it is hard to be nimble and entrepreneurial in a non-profit world,” Hope told Deadline. “The entrepreneurial for-profit world felt like a perfect transition to refocus myself on the mission to enable change.”

Hope said that Fandor already has more than 5000 titles, and the basic subscription fee for cinephiles is $9 per month or $90 annually. That catalogue is growing—Hope said Fandor has formed alliances with 13 distributors in the last quarter alone and that the service is available on Roku—and he said that the combination of choice, and aggressive and informed curation of titles to a hungry specialized film audience, will bring greater revenues to makers of these films and the rights holders.

“It is set up to favor the artists and rights holders, and 50% of the subscription fees are generated back to them in a revenue sharing program based on the idea that the more the film is viewed, the greater the financial benefit,” said Hope, who will remain in San Francisco.

Hope has been around the block in the indie space since the 90s, forming Good Machine with James Schamus and producing over 60 indies that range from Happiness to The Ice Storm, American Splendor and In The Bedroom. He has watched the prestige film biz evolve but not take full advantage of digital possibilities to corral the niche audience for festival films.

“The industry has done a poor job matching these films with the right people,” he said. “Most people see three movies a year, and the art house audience, people like me who might see 250 films, is 3% of the film going audience. Yet these films are marketed to everybody. Creating a strongly curated pool to help those people find what is most appropriate for them creates an opportunity for the artists. Once you move past the 500-600 titles distributed theatrically, what about the other 49,455 titles? The ventures that succeed are the ones that will best match those films with the audiences that want to see them. To rely on impulse buys or encourage passive consumption of film is not unleashing the potential of cinema. I think Fandor can be an important part of changing that.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: pete on January 10, 2014, 01:54:42 AM
I love that man.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Axolotl on January 10, 2014, 02:23:06 AM
Does anyone here subscribe to Fandor? Are you mostly able to find what you're looking for or just end up watching what looks interesting from the selection they have?
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on January 10, 2014, 09:53:39 AM
Looks like they have a 2 week free trial so you can find out.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on April 21, 2014, 12:16:41 AM
Something to consider about the distribution landscape moving away from physical media, from a thread on Criterion Forum - Major New Films Getting DVD-Only Releases (http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13147#p478522) (of which Under the Skin is apparently one)



Quote from: warren oates
(http://i.imgur.com/cAibCtZ.jpg)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on April 29, 2014, 09:42:33 AM
From Variety (http://variety.com/2014/film/news/jeffrey-katzenberg-predicts-3-week-theatrical-window-in-future-1201166052/): (bolding mine)

Jeffrey Katzenberg Predicts 3-Week Theatrical Window in Future

DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg thinks the windowing model of feature films will become a “pay by the inch you watch.” During the Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Corporate World panel at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Katzenberg explained what he thinks is the future of scheduling and distributing feature films.

“I think the model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that’s exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies. On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75” TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99. That enterprise that will exist throughout the world, when that happens, and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies,” he told the crowd.

And according to Katzenberg, this scenario will play out 10 years from now.

In the meantime, DreamWorks Animation is hedging its bets and diversifying its interests.

“Movies are not a growth business,” Katzenberg said — which is why he aggressively lobbied for DreamWorks’ new interests, primarily shortform, digital and television content.

Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media Corp., a major distributor of programming including Discovery Channel, QVC, Encore and STARZ, agreed with Katzenberg, first noting that Liberty tried three times and failed three times to launch a movie division.

“Few networks are impacted (by technology) more than the media business,” he said, adding that the amount of “clutter” in the entertainment universe, including videogames and social media, directly affects and reduces the value of the more traditional channels, e.g., film.

Katzenberg also threw out the idea that young adults today should not follow passion but skill.

“Great leaders and thinkers talk to kids today and say ‘follow your dream.’ I’m not sure that’s a great idea. How about follow your skill? That thing you are really good at, that may become your passion,” he said.

The DreamWorks chief then documented how, in 1984, Michael Eisner pulled Katzenberg into his office on his first day at Disney. Just before Katzenberg was walking out, Eisner called him over to a window and asked if he knew what they did in the building across the way.

“That’s where they make the animated movies, and it’s your problem,” Eisner said to Kazenberg. “My problem became my passion,” Katzenberg said.

Barry Sternlicht, the chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, and Tom Wyatt, CEO of Knowledge Universe U.S., were also on the panel.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on May 15, 2014, 10:44:03 PM
Vudu Launches ‘Share My Movies’ Program with UltraViolet
via Variety

Walmart’s online video service Vudu is looking to make its digital libraries more attractive for users, with the service launching a “Share My Movies” program.

The lending option, which Vudu designed with UltraViolet, will allow members to share their movies with up to five people for the first time.

The program is a clever way for Vudu to sign up more members, especially if current users want to share their purchases with friends or family members that don’t yet have a Vudu account. Until now, Vudu users have been sharing their account passwords to let others watch titles they’ve bought.

The timing also comes as more consumers are buying digital copies of movies and TV shows than ever; they spent a little more than $1 billion last year on such purchases, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

To share titles, people need to be invited to access a person’s account and are sent a link to create a Vudu account. The sharer’s UltraViolet movies and TV shows then appear in the My Vudu page.

In addition to digital purchases, “Share My Movies” also applies to DVDs and Blu-ray movies available at a Walmart stores that come with an UltraViolet digital copy.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to unlock more value from your movie purchases -– from providing free Vudu digital copies with most new movie releases sold at Walmart, to our in-store and online disc-to-digital service that allows you to convert the physical movies you already own into a digital copy you can watch on virtually any device,” the company said in a blog post on Wednesday. “We know you’ve spent a significant amount of money and time building your collection and have plenty more films to add to it. Share My Movies by VUDU is another way we’re helping you get the most out of your collection.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Mel on May 16, 2014, 04:27:57 AM
Some of my comments, that probably aren't accurate or exhaustive enough.

Quote from: warren oates
(http://i.imgur.com/cAibCtZ.jpg)

Geographic restrictions is one of the main issues/obstacles that digital distribution faces. Film industry is fighting this as hard as possible, but it will eventually adapt or it will be replaced by something else. Some TV networks are already building their platforms, example: I can watch "Game of Thrones" the same day as the rest of the world. I can't say that about films.

Geographic unrestricted distribution has a lot of promise for products in long tail. You can make sophisticated product that is attractive to small group, yet global distribution can help to offset this. I wouldn't be surprised if self-distribution becomes more important. If filmmakers can make more money by directly selling their goods than going through distributors, it will happen.

On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75” TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99.

Different price for smartphone/TV doesn't make sense for me, not that I watch films on phone myself. It seems that vendors of smartphones in near future will compete on screen density. Reason? This is one of the metrics that can be still improved by huge factor. Hardware guys know that everything that is improvement bellow 25% is hard sell - customers are less like to upgrade/buy new product. Small screens with big resolution means that you need to provide high quality to those devices.

TV screen will see improvement is this area also, we see that happening with 4K. Problems here is that it will hit barriers soon. 4K is pretty much an amount of detail you can get from 35mm negative - old films won't see improvements after that. For new films, cinematographers have already problems with too much details - they are using filters, because otherwise too detailed picture can make actor's faces ugly. VFX are also problematic, backgrounds are often blurred out to not reveal too much. You can't improve that without spending more on VFX.

Smaller devices will come like smartwatches, but I'm not sure if there is market for watching films on 1 inch screen.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on May 16, 2014, 10:25:20 AM
Two different issues here...

Geographic restrictions is one of the main issues/obstacles that digital distribution faces. Film industry is fighting this as hard as possible, but it will eventually adapt or it will be replaced by something else. Some TV networks are already building their platforms, example: I can watch "Game of Thrones" the same day as the rest of the world. I can't say that about films.

Geographic unrestricted distribution has a lot of promise for products in long tail. You can make sophisticated product that is attractive to small group, yet global distribution can help to offset this. I wouldn't be surprised if self-distribution becomes more important. If filmmakers can make more money by directly selling their goods than going through distributors, it will happen.

I don't know whether it's going to be easier for bigger studio films or smaller, more independent films to overcome this obstacle. Part of the problem right now is that in order to raise money to actually make a film, the rights to distribute it are presold in various territories. If filmmakers can figure out a way of getting their project financed so that they retain all global rights (perhaps through crowdfunding campaigns or through private investors) then it's problem solved. In short, in order for the next great leap in entertainment distribution to be a success, creatives need to start thinking like entrepreneurs long before a movie ever goes into production. Of course, in response to this problem, new film financing companies could be set up to fund films in such a way where a single product has all their global rights controlled by a single entity. It is probable that these same companies could also create new global distribution channels that they control, which would again remove another roadblock and make things much easier for the end consumer.

On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75” TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99.

Different price for smartphone/TV doesn't make sense for me, not that I watch films on phone myself. It seems that vendors of smartphones in near future will compete on screen density. Reason? This is one of the metrics that can be still improved by huge factor. Hardware guys know that everything that is improvement bellow 25% is hard sell - customers are less like to upgrade/buy new product. Small screens with big resolution means that you need to provide high quality to those devices.

Yeah, I'm not sure he's hit the nail 100 percent on the head, but the general concept makes sense. I mean, based on what he's said I could rent a movie for $1.99 on my iPhone and play it on my TV via AirPal - saving myself $2. The resolution argument would be the only one that makes sense in this case, but with handheld devices getting higher and higher resolutions, it will ultimately be irrelevant. I do believe that the window has got to be dramatically reduced though. Fine, keep the first three week theaters-only since that's when they make 95 percent of their revenue anyway, and then have it available however I choose after that. Personally, I'd happily pay the same price as a cinema ticket to watch it on my TV if I could do so so quickly after a film's initial release. We're already seeing some titles experiment with this type of release strategy, but until more mainstream films give it a shot it's going to be a while until it catches on let alone becomes the norm. And you know theater owners are going to bitch the whole way.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on May 18, 2014, 11:55:01 PM
Cannes: EuropaCorp Leads Group Of French Companies Looking Abroad To Overcome Local Theatrical Biz Limitations
BY MIKE FLEMING JR
via Deadline

Cannes for me is an exercise in chasing big-money movie deals, but I took the opportunity to meet several French companies to get a view of the business from their side of the pond. Compared to the problems I hear from Hollywood, these guys struggle for growth in a French theatrical system that seems completely preposterous to an Americain.

In Hollywood, they whine about how hard it is to get a movie made; about a weekend crowded with three new releases; the inefficiency of big P&A spends to advertise on TV to ensure moviegoers show up opening weekend; and the six-month wait for DVD and VOD. In France, a heavily subsidized system makes getting movies made the easy part. The downside: 15-18 films open week in and week out; TV advertising is outlawed, and the wait for DVD and VOD is an eternity compared to the U.S. Small wonder several of the major French companies are looking outside elsewhere for growth.

For a company like Gaumont, that means supplementing Centrée Français fare by hatching U.S. market TV hits like Hannibal. Wild Bunch’s core business is backing gutsy films like Blue Is The Warmest Color, but at this Cannes, the company created a stir showing a film before its precedent-setting straight-to-VOD release. Welcome To New York is Abel Ferrara’s lurid drama that stars Gerard Depardieu as a crass, horny money man based on former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who cut a decadent swath around the world before being arrested for allegedly mauling a maid in a New York hotel. Because Wild Bunch bypassed theaters, it could spend $1 million on TV ads, creating more awareness than if it had gone theatrical and could not advertise. Success will mean more films with bigger stars test this new market and that could be as disruptive to France’s arcane theatrical machine as the current crop of pay and cable TV series like True Detective feel compared to the derivative product churned out by Hollywood movie studios.

The biggest gamble by a French company here is the aggressive expansion into Hollywood by EuropaCorp partners Luc Besson and Christophe Lambert. They’ve got two films at Cannes: the French-language Bertrand Bonello-directed Saint Laurent, acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, and tonight’s premiere of the Tommy Lee Jones-directed Western The Homesman. More important for the future, Lambert on Friday unveiled a new five-year, $450 million JPMorgan-led credit facility that will fund production and P&A for a slate of eight English-language commercial films released through Red, the pipeline that EuropaCorp bought 50% of from Relativity. They hired a very capable development exec in Lisa Ellzey, and by the start of Toronto, will have a seasoned acquisitions exec in place to bolster the homegrown slate with two to four films per year. The distrib company gets underway with a reboot of the Besson-created Transporter franchise, and Lambert said they expect to have as many as seven films in production by year’s end. While the Besson-directed Lucy will be released by Universal, Besson will from now on direct a movie each year to be released through Red.

Everybody comes to Cannes selling a strategy they say makes them special. Rarely is the pitch as ambitious as the EuropaCorp plan, and they seem to have constructed a pretty good mousetrap. The money is solid, and Lambert said buying a release pipeline gives he and Besson complete control over their U.S. release, key to triggering global deals with the output partners Lambert said covers 80% of the risk on each film they make. The trump card, similar to companies like DreamWorks, Imagine and Bad Robot, is an in-house A-list director who can be a creative godfather. EuropaCorp’s ace card has always been the prolific imagination of Besson and that will be crucial going forward; besides the annual film he’ll direct, Besson will generate the ideas for as many as five other projects on the slate each year.

“When we started, we had no money,” Lambert told me as we had coffee with Ellzey at the Majestic right after he and JPMorgan banker David Shaheen introduced what they called the largest amount of capital raised by an offshore company in the U.S. “We could not buy any expensive book or remake rights. The only free material was our own ideas and imagination, and that became the foundation of a company that produced 145 films in 10 years. Being a creative driven company became our biggest asset. Luc’s initial dream when he founded the company was to build the first non-U.S. major,” Lambert said. “We are not there yet, but we now have everything we need; the projects, talented people working with us, distribution capability and now, money. So, it’s up to us. If we fail, it will be because of us.”

I mention to them that people say if you shake Steven Spielberg, chances are a couple good movie ideas will tumble out. Besson is similar.

“Luc will go on vacation for two weeks, and he always comes back with a fully written script,” Lambert told me. “He writes every morning from 5 AM until noon, longer when he’s on vacation. Sometimes I will say, Luc, go on vacation, we need a script.” Besson grew up the son of diving instructors, and spends part of those vacations exercising his other love, diving. He would have been a competitive deep water diver were it not some pressure issues in his ears, a condition that led him to make The Big Blue and become a director. The filmmaker prefers to do his diving in the Bahamas when he vacations. You might soon seem him in the Pacific, because both he and Lambert are moving their families to Los Angeles in June to prepare for EuropaCorp 2.0.

“It is crucial for us to be there,” Lambert said. “We would never be able to achieve our plan without it. You need to be there to meet people, to take a coffee with an actor, meet a writer, that is the way the business is done. We were producing three big movies a year from Paris, and before we had Lisa in LA, the time difference meant starting our workdays at midnight, so we could talk to writers there. It was crazy. I have my projects, Luc has his, and we felt we had to be available.”

The stepped-up output will mean farming Besson’s ideas out to other writers.

“Luc wrote Lucy alone, but he doesn’t have time for them all,” Lambert said. “So he comes with ideas and concepts, we discuss and decide which to forward with, and then Lisa matches the project to the right writer.”

Said Ellzey: “I put him in the room with some writers, he pitches a very detailed idea of the movie he has running in his head. The writer processes it, absorbs it, comes back, and then, as Luc describes it, they play. It’s a really intense creative session, and you have to bring it, and be able to play with him.”

Attempts to change established protocol in France by EuropaCorp or Wild Bunch for that matter, has the potential to create conflict. At the Cannes press conference, Lambert defended himself when French journalists decried the loss of a major generator of French fare, and they lamented the loss of French dialogue in movies. Lambert was quick to note EuropaCorp would still make four French movies per year like Saint Laurent, but the more important consideration was they would still be infusing the French movie economy with money, since virtually all of these movies will be shot at EuropaCorp’s studio in France.

“In France, they always make the same mistake and say that it’s about protecting the language,” Lambert told me. “The language is the language and it doesn’t need protection. The only thing that really matters is that the industry here continues to have some chops, and that is hard to do when you see 250 French movies released a year. Add that to the best 200 American films, and that’s almost 500 movies a year, with no access to do TV ads to promote them. That’s why only 20-25 of them achieve more than one million admissions per year. We will spend the money here at our studios and create jobs, and that is what is important. The value proposition of our company relies on our ability to produce for less money than U.S. productions. We’ll do that by exerting control over our U.S. releases that trigger our output deals, while benefiting from the French subsidies we qualify for by shooting the films here.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on June 09, 2014, 05:08:24 PM
Came across this nifty guide to Do-It-Yourself Digital Distribution Platforms (http://www.pbs.org/pov/filmmakers/diy-digital-distribution-platforms.php#.U5YvayimUuF) which breaks down how much of a cut filmmakers receive from streaming or download revenues when their movies sell online. It doesn't include services such as Netflix, Vodo, Indieflix, Indiepix and others that require approval though.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on July 11, 2014, 03:42:46 PM
kinda scrolled this tbh, but i think it's saying that in an unprecedented hollywood move several people with lots of money, including ron fucking howard, are going to give children money for being wonderful beautiful magical creatures

http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/digital-studio-formed-by-discovery-brian-grazer-and-ron-howard-pacts-with-14-youtube-creators-1201259314/
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: 03 on July 12, 2014, 04:42:05 AM
can someone please fix this thread title it is annoying the piss out of me
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on August 07, 2014, 07:45:34 PM
Happy Christmas Director Joe Swanberg on the Financial Life of the Independent Filmmaker (http://filmmakermagazine.com/86888-happy-christmas-director-joe-swanberg-on-the-financial-life-of-the-independent-filmmaker/#.U9LTuuNdWbP)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on May 15, 2015, 05:26:28 PM
Some good questions...

Watch: Harvey Weinstein Defends Netflix's Ted Sarandos At Cannes During Tough Q&A Session
via The Playlist

First, a quick primer for those not familiar with how film financing happens in many territories outside the United States. In Canada, the U.K., and many European and Latin American countries, there are handfuls of government subsidized funding bodies that providing financing to locally produced films and television shows. The money comes from a variety of sources, including taxes or monies paid by broadcasters who operate in the country. The idea is that this financing helps foster continued creative and cultural growth, and helps balance the scales somewhat against the influx of Hollywood products. This system has certainly supported numerous auteurs around the world, but what is the responsibility of VOD players to support the system, seeing as how they don't technically reside in any one country?

That was the crux of the barbed question Netflix honcho Ted Sarandos faced today at the tail end of his talk at the Cannes Film Festival. A French journalist pointed out that Netflix is based out of the Netherlands in Europe, they don't have to contribute to the same subsidies as other VOD players and broadcasters, and then moreover speculated that Netflix's unwillingness to play ball would lead to the destruction of film culture in Europe.

Sarandos countered that Netflix certainly wasn't taking away any existing funding for filmmakers, and by hiring local talent for their own original programming, they were actually being quite supportive of filmmaking in Europe. But not one to let his voice go unheard, Harvey Weinstein was in attendance and jumped up to the defense of Netflix (who distributed his "Marco Polo" series and are working on the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" sequel).

“This is a guy who buys documentaries and cares. This is a guy who buys foreign-language movies and cares," Weinstein said. "And every one of these monopolies, let’s start with [French broadcaster] TF1…they’ve gotten a wake-up call by what Netflix has done. And you know what? They’ve all gotten better and their quality is going to improve and they’re going to be big customers for your product. So, having the rebel in the room made us all better and stronger.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm7_2sSYP2g
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on June 14, 2015, 09:57:39 PM
Bart & Fleming: Brad Pitt Detours To Netflix
via Deadline

FLEMING: We broke a story this week that I predict will further dissolve the barriers between TV and feature films. Brad Pitt sets his next star vehicle at Netflix. It’s different from past Netflix deals like the Crouching Tiger “sequel” or a four-pack of Adam Sandler comedies, because who knows what the theatrical release value of either of those really is. We know Pitt is one of the few globally bankable stars who matter anymore. Also an enterprising producer, he realistically assessed the risky commercial prospects of a prestige passion project, and bypassed the enormous P&A and foreign sales and uncertain theatrical penetration for a slam dunk at Netflix. Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings are busting down doors all over the world and will be in more countries by the time this film rolls out in late 2016. And they were only too happy to pay a premium for a game changing coup. And so a potentially huge global audience of Netflix subscribers will see the David Michod-directed War Machine, with Pitt playing a character modeled on General Stanley McChrystal, who ran the war in Afghanistan until undermined by politics, and some indiscreet quotes in a Rolling Stone article. This turns the traditional theatrical feature model on its ear and creates an alternative to what often proves to be an incredibly costly and inefficient strategy; who not bring movies directly to an audience satisfied to stay home and watch it on the 60 inch TV screen.

BART: Don’t knock the ‘inefficient strategy so aggressively–it’s still the strategy that has kept Hollywood purring for generations. Still, Pitt’s venture should be studied by every star. The ever increasing obsession of studios on tentpole picture has sharply reduced the opportunities for top actors to find a challenging role (unless they like ants). The situation is vaguely reminiscent of that moment in the 40s and ‘50s when the studios abruptly terminated their contracts with top stars. Suddenly every actor was desperately trying to develop his own films – a very few, like Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster showed any talent at it. Today, the big stars find that new platforms are beckoning and need to find ways to access them. Since agents look upon their stars as “brands,” perhaps they should follow the lead of the top fashion brands that pursue down-market labels. Think of Valentino, Armani, Missoni and Ralph Lauren. Why shouldn’t Clooney have a Clooney Red (like Valentino)or Di Caprio a Di Caprio Exchange(like Armani)? Liberated from the pressure of finding a decent part in a superhero movie (Downey is a very lucky man), they might come up with some fascinating projects for Netflix or Amazon or some sharp-edged short form pieces for other platforms – think mobile! I don’t yearn to see any more Adam Sandler movies, but he could still be likeable in six minute chunks on my smart phone.

FLEMING: Here is what I like about this. Had that Entourage movie been made for and shown on HBO, it would have cost less money, and it would have created enough of a ratings bang to have birthed an annual visit with Ari Gold and the boys. It would have been a win. Instead, its $25 million domestic gross (and miniscule overseas tally) puts it in the summer casualty column because these niche movies just cost too much money to launch to the mass market. Netflix got its TV game changer with House of Cards (Kevin Spacey is a guy who has shown the flexibility to gamble on platform disruptive projects, including Margin Call), and he needed one big movie star to take a gamble, and now he got it and it will open the door to all kinds of things. When I saw Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson peel the layers on complicated characters over the course of 8 or so hours in True Detective, I felt the ground shifting. I love mystery novel series, but you never see them turned into movies. Michael Connelly battled in court for years to get back his Harry Bosch novels that languished forever at Paramount, and then Amazon Studios turned it into the streaming service equivalent of a page-turner novel with Titus Welliver playing Bosch.

I would love to see Netflix revive Robert B Parker’s Spenser For Hire series with a great actor like Kyle Chandler playing the boxer-turned-gumshoe, serving up a new mystery every year. The possibilities here for quality are enormous. You can never replicate the shared theater going experience on something like Jurassic World, (which will hit break-even in days, Universal’s fourth film this year to recoup within 30 days of release) and even certain smaller movies where you shut out the world for a couple hours. It can be a great business that pours off cash at an astonishing rate. But until movie makers and exhibitors figure it out with windowing and find a way around the spectacularly inefficient manner in which marginal movies are marketed, I’d call War Machine constructive progress. I caught up with John Ridley at our Awardsline Emmy party last week. Hadn’t seen him in forever, but we kind of grew up together, me covering him when he was struggling and his Three Kings script got taken away and refashioned into a memorable movie by David O Russell and his book Stray Dogs got overhauled by Oliver Stone into U-Turn. Ridley has since won the Oscar for 12 Years A Slave and spends much of his time on the series American Crime. He said he loves movies but relishes the authorship given a TV creator/show runner that isn’t part of feature films. We both agreed this whole golden era of series occurred because Hollywood stopped making edgy mid budget films, forcing guys like Ridley to the small screen so they could feed their families. Pitt/Netflix is another iteration of a creative business adapting and finding a way for quality to rise. Some lessons will never be learned–how is it they’ve made four Jurassic Park movies and still go into each one not realizing a dinosaur theme park is a bad idea?–but Hollywood is evolving fast and Netflix is forcing the issue. My question is how much longer the Academy will require award season “qualifying theatrical runs” for Oscar consideration, which means you show it in a theater in New York and Los Angeles. Netflix will provide that for War Machine, but it is beginning to seem silly and meaningless, since it’s not how this project will be consumed globally.

BART: Let’s not get carried away, Mike. A theatrical release is still a smart and reasonable mandate. There are elements of the Academy process that don’t make sense any more — an example is the requirement that documentaries need a New York Times review to qualify for Oscar nomination. But leave the movie stuff alone.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on June 15, 2015, 11:12:20 AM

FLEMING: My question is how much longer the Academy will require award season “qualifying theatrical runs” for Oscar consideration, which means you show it in a theater in New York and Los Angeles. Netflix will provide that for War Machine, but it is beginning to seem silly and meaningless, since it’s not how this project will be consumed globally.

BART: Let’s not get carried away, Mike. A theatrical release is still a smart and reasonable mandate. There are elements of the Academy process that don’t make sense any more — an example is the requirement that documentaries need a New York Times review to qualify for Oscar nomination. But leave the movie stuff alone.

It's a good point though. Obviously it's something that's still a few years away, but it will have to be addressed eventually. Especially if theatrical releases increasingly become financially viable for only the biggest blockbusters. Unless they adapt, there will come a time when all nominees will be The Dark Knights by default.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on July 10, 2015, 04:28:06 AM
"Culture Isn't Free" (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/07/starving-artists-grizzly-bear-poverty-ubi/) by Miranda Campbell
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on September 10, 2015, 03:23:37 PM
I Lost it at the Video Store: A Filmmaker's Oral History of a Vanished Era (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941629156/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=20WIZK4DA6RTC&coliid=IU72O3P5HP4CQ) will be published September 24, 2015


(http://i.imgur.com/XO6dgKj.jpg)

From Critical Press' website:

For a generation, video stores were to filmmakers what bookstores were to writers. They were the salons where many of today’s best directors first learned their craft. The art of discovery that video stores encouraged through the careful curation of clerks was the fertile, if sometimes fetid, soil from which today’s film world sprung. Video stores were also the financial engine without which the indie film movement wouldn’t have existed.

In I Lost it at the Video Store, Tom Roston interviews the filmmakers–including John Sayles, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell and Allison Anders–who came of age during the reign of video rentals, and constructs a living, personal narrative of an era of cinema history which, though now gone, continues to shape film culture today.


“This is a book that was waiting to happen, and fortunately it was Tom Roston who wrote it. After we lost it at the movies, a later era of cinephiles lost it at the video store, and this is their story in their words–nostalgic, vivid, and important, because video germinated a new generation of great filmmakers.” –Peter Biskind, author of Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film

“Informative, hilarious, a little sad, but mostly just exuberant: This chronicle of a lost era details not just how the video-rental revolution shaped a generation of filmmakers, but how it changed the ways we watch and talk about film. It may even make you nostalgic for rewinding.” –Stephanie Zacharek, Chief Film Critic, The Village Voice

“A Proustian madeleine of a book, I Lost It at the Video Store celebrates the images and textures of a nearly-gone era, as well as examining its importance to a generation of artists.” –Matt Zoller Seitz, editor-in-chief, RogerEbert.com

“[Video] stores themselves have faded into history, but their now-famous onetime inhabitants – Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Doug Liman and Darren Aronofsky, among others – remember them well. Their stories, assembled here, provide a memorable chronicle of a golden age of pure movie love.” — Kurt Loder, film critic and former MTV host

“What a terrific read. It’s a blast to revisit those (delightful, maddening) hours I spent trying to pick a movie, from the perspective of Tarantino, Sayles, and the rest of the all-star cast Tom Roston has assembled. These smart, funny, and sometimes-clashing voices from the other side of the VHS box reveal how video-store culture worked, how it influenced filmmaking, and what’s lost and gained in the streaming world that’s replacing it. The result is an entertaining story that goes way beyond nostalgia: It will make you appreciate why the video-shop era mattered, whether you lived through it or not.” –Rob Walker, author of Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are



Read an excerpt from the book at Entertainment Weekly (http://www.ew.com/article/2015/08/28/i-lost-it-at-the-video-store-excerpt).
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on September 30, 2015, 01:30:36 PM
i'm about to have a panic attack trying to decide which topic to post this in, but i wanna btw fyi fwiw that Kentucky Audlley is being adorable.

the run down is he decided to make this hat:

(http://i.imgur.com/DgMI2Dk.jpg)

which he describes this way:

Quote
It's important to spread the message about movies. Most people like TV shows and virtual reality better now, or even internet games, but we shouldn't forget about movies, because there's been some good ones over the years like Diner and American graffiti. If people forgot about movies, we're in deep shit. So that's the main reason you should wear this hat. And don't be afraid to use it as a conversation starter. If someone asks you, "so what's the deal with the cap?" Just answer: "spreading the gospel, my brother". Be extra nice, since if you wear the hat, you're representing all movies. It's a lot of responsibility so don't take it lightly, like Spider-Man.

he's been interviewed about its creation:

Quote
How did you come to navy blue and white?

I tested out several other colors, like green and red, but I liked the way navy blue looked the best. The hard part was picking out the font. And putting a slight curve on it.

this is his Facebook post that first led me to suspect he was being adorable:

Quote
Blown away by how many people want the ’movies’ hat. 76 in 2 days! Can’t wait to wear these things with everybody.

it's inspired social discussion:

Quote
Eleanor Wilson Am I the only woman who wants the 'movies' hat? We should probably discuss the gender gap in the hat industry.
Quote
Eliza McNitt I'd like to keep the sun off my face bc I burn

if you have a genuine interest in this hat and/or want to see its Kickstarter, here's its Kickstarter (w/video):
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1040326930/a-hat-that-says-movies-on-it
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on September 30, 2015, 01:53:18 PM
Movies themselves are largely to blame for driving "discerning consumers" to TV. When the majority of theatrical releases are reboots or sequels or involve superheroes, you really can't blame people. And now we're at a point where those are the only things that seem to reliably make money.

Obviously digital releases and home theater systems are also to blame. People, myself included, are not as excited to pay a premium to see indie films at their local Landmark when they can get a roughly equivalent version at home at the same time or earlier. The threshold for needing "the theatrical experience" has been pushed pretty high.

There's also the fact that TV shows are (1) significantly more addictive and (2) almost infinitely convenient to consume. A potent combination.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on September 30, 2015, 02:20:06 PM
you said movies themselves are to blame, then you said that's because bad movies are the ones that people go to and which make money then you said people yourself included choose to stay home instead then you mentioned the good reasons for liking tv.

so i definitely wouldn't agree that the problem is movies themselves, and i just wanted to talk about this hat and adorableness
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on September 30, 2015, 03:18:34 PM
To be fair, that's a really simplistic paraphrase. It's a complex issue. When I say "movies are largely to blame" I'm talking about the movies that are in theaters, that are marketed and supported. I'm not saying "cinema itself is to blame!" so don't worry.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on September 30, 2015, 03:48:20 PM
you said movies themselves are to blame

Movies themselves are largely to blame for driving "discerning consumers" to TV.

then you said that's because bad movies are the ones that people go to and which make money

When the majority of theatrical releases are reboots or sequels or involve superheroes, [...]And now we're at a point where those are the only things that seem to reliably make money.

then you said people yourself included choose to stay home instead

Obviously digital releases and home theater systems are also to blame. People, myself included, are not as excited to pay a premium to see indie films at their local Landmark when they can get a roughly equivalent version at home at the same time or earlier.

then you mentioned the good reasons for liking tv.

There's also the fact that TV shows are (1) significantly more addictive and (2) almost infinitely convenient to consume. A potent combination

did you mean simplistic or concise? and now you're adding "complex issue" and ideas about marketing and support as if that was obviously there the entire time in subtext, which is absurd, and i don't think herd mentality is a complex issue.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on September 30, 2015, 04:16:40 PM
Yes I mean simplistic, and to an insulting degree, as your second response also demonstrates.

I think we're even mostly on the same page. Can you de-escalate a bit? You introduced a topic and I engaged in a civil manner, but your response to that was to attempt to mock my response and end the discussion. Are we not adults here?

I think it is in fact a complex issue, because "movies are largely to blame." The interplay between what's presented to consumers and what we choose to support is interesting and worth talking about. How much is technology (and the title of this thread) to blame, how much are we to blame, and how much is "Hollywood" to blame?

Given the niche value of TV, I don't there's much herd mentality happening there. People don't herd toward Orange Is the New Black. They don't even herd toward Netflix, now that Amazon Prime and Hulu are viable alternatives. Moving away from theaters toward TV is like a cascade of splintering.

There's some herd mentality when everyone goes to see The Avengers, sure. But I think that's more about a common denominator. You could argue that people herded to see Gravity ($274 million domestic), because the word quickly got out that you really needed that theatrical experience. So is that herding or being a discerning consumer of media? Even this sub-issue is a complex issue.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on September 30, 2015, 04:34:53 PM
JB, to whom i've said before we could have a romance that's a Todd Haynes movie, here we are now in that such romance.

as i've time and time again demonstrated, to my own detriment, owing to my abrasive introductions of ideologies, i'll hear the other side and talk things out to the end. i must concede that i use abrasive conversational methods, as indeed people should be listened to now and then, and that appears to be a subject agreed upon by many.

but what i want to denigrate is your fundamental perspective, not you as a person, though of course your philosophy is mixed with you as a person, that is tricky. i hope this is a conversationally cleansing moment because my adoration for you JB has been publicly stated.

you're an American. bless. me too. we live in a country aware of the powerful and damaging effects culture by numbers creates. we're a nation painfully aware of injuries caused by popular opinion. there is always, yes, the bigger picture, but it must also be remembered that the bigger picture can be ugly. the bigger picture can want to stomp the little picture, and that's not a very 2015 philosophy. there's a lot of personal decision that comes with life.

i don't have anything against tv, in fact i've been apologetic about criticisms i've made against it. and this was literally a post about a hat and a man being cute, which turned into a conversation where obviously tv is better than movies. that's politics. that's cultural electricity. about a man and his hat that says movies. nah come on. a bit of this fight is personal choice.

movies make me happy and help me find happiness in life. i adore movies. i have a bias. it's not against tv shows. it's toward movies.

sorry if we got steamy but, again, Todd Haynes romance and kisses.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on September 30, 2015, 05:22:33 PM
this was literally a post about a hat and a man being cute

It very clearly was not that. I know I'm taking the bait here, but... you did open your initial post with a quote that started this conversation.

which turned into a conversation where obviously tv is better than movies

I'm not sure if you're teasing me here, but I hope that's not actually what you got out of my posts.

I sincerely regret that we can't have conversations.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on September 30, 2015, 05:32:51 PM
you just made me a Luciferian torch of the US shadow government about tv shows. sorry if it wasn't clearly about the hat, with facts about its color, how it brings facial shade to women, numbers about people wearing it, and i brought up the personality of Audley.

i've taken the bait too. there could definitely be a conversation about the cultural electricity of television through its sternly self-proclaimed golden age. i mean tv is shining brighter, if that's what you're saying, and movies aren't enhancing their own glow. we gotta work on that and there could be a topic about it. oh i'd prefer a movie about it but [slaps knee]

stern conversational ends, is that an "atmosphere" you're reflecting? i'm a clear advocate of self-detriment but like i said, you gotta listen to the people now and then and JB, Todd Haynes romance, this post, what do i gotta say here?

ok i'll say it: i love movies, and that was obvious in the initial post, which made a reference to tv, but threw down on Diner and American graffiti.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on January 21, 2016, 06:39:09 PM
Peter Bart: Is There Life After Sundance? Billionaire Charles Cohen Builds Art House Empire
via Deadline

(http://i.imgur.com/br6XZ9L.jpg)

It’s called the “now what” moment. It’s that moment of truth for filmmakers who, having won applause at the Sundance Film Festival and perhaps even secured distribution, now have to ask themselves that dreaded question: How will their film avoid instant oblivion? How will it find an audience?

For Charles Cohen, the “now what” moment at the 2008 Sundance prompted, not defeat, but an ambitious business plan — one involving not only his film, Frozen River, but also scores of others searching for a home in the art film universe. Fortunately, Cohen, a billionaire real estate maven, had the resources, and the taste, to implement his grand design. And since I love “grand designs,” I decided to track down Cohen and ask him about it.

Cohen told me he’d concluded that his passion for art films would make financial sense if he could essentially resurrect the vertical business model of Hollywood’s founders. That meant controlling the intellectual property, the film rights, the distribution and even the theaters where they will exhibited. To that end, the 63-year-old realtor set about to acquire libraries embracing over 800 vintage movies, plus producing a dozen or so new movies. In addition, he is soon to open several new or totally renovated art house theaters where he can proudly show his product.

And he’s having success within his confined universe. One of the scores of French films that Cohen controls, Mustang, has just earned an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film, his second nom in a row (last year’s nomination was for Timbuktu.)

When I first heard about Cohen and his ambitions, I wondered if he was yet another billionaire searching for a new playground. But when I met him I realized his passion for art films was downright contagious. Under his plan, when a filmgoer visits a new Cohen art house, he will see a foreign-language film along with a curated array of vintage shorts, docs or even newsreels – and the place may even smell good. In short, the experience should actually be fun.

By buying libraries like those of Rohauer or Merchant-Ivory, Cohen now controls over 850 rare and vintage movies – old Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields and D.W. Griffith films as well as memorable works like Howard’s End or Shakespeare Wallah. Cohen either owns or licenses over 100 foreign-language (mostly French) films which he intends to showcase. (Mustang has played for eight weeks in New York and Los Angeles and how has some 56 additional playdates.)

In terms of exhibition, Cohen plans by summer to open a completely renovated Quad Cinema on New York’s West 13th Street and is rebuilding the Carefree Theater in West Palm Beach. In Los Angeles, Cohen owns the sprawling Blue and Green Whale structures in West Hollywood, each of which will have formidable screening facilities.

“I want to make it a fun adventure again to see an art film,” he explains. “Movie theaters of this sort are going the way of bowling alleys. But why shouldn’t people be able to enjoy seeing a fine movie and also experience different generations and different nationalities of filmmaking talent?”

Again, does Cohen have the muscle to bring this off? A second generation realtor, Cohen Brothers has vast holdings – perhaps 12 million square feet of real estate. He has hired an infrastructure of executives to implement his scheme, led by Daniel Battsek, who once headed Miramax under the Weinsteins. He’s developing a small slate of films for U.S. production, to follow up Hitchcock-Truffaut, a doc, and My Old Lady, released last year. He plans to release Rams, the Icelandic film, on February 2 and six other films later in the year.

But he’s not going to Sundance this year. “Sales agents have bid up the prices to such an extent that it’s all but impossible to make acquisitions,” he observes. “I’ll save my festival adventures for Cannes.”

Can his venture ever become profitable?

“I’m not doing this as a non-profit,” he tells me. “But as I bring this off I won’t have much competition. I’m investing in quality. I collect art. I collect art films. It’s a lot more fun than trying to make a tentpole.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on July 17, 2016, 11:08:07 PM
It's now up to $432 million worldwide. And only $47 million of that is domestic.


Thought Warcraft Tanked? Nope — It Changed Blockbusters Forever

OVER THE WEEKEND, Legendary Pictures’ Warcraft opened in the United States with just over $24 million at the box office. For a summer blockbuster that cost an estimated $160 million to make, that’s a flop any way you look at it; in fact, it made less in its opening weekend than recent summer flops Battleship, The Lone Ranger, even Fantastic Four.

But in China, Warcraft isn’t just doing better than it did in the U.S.—it’s breaking records. In five days, the film raked in $156 million, beating out last year’s Furious 7 to become the country’s highest-grossing opening for a foreign-produced film. To put that in the context of last year’s undisputed global hit: in China, Warcraft made more in five days than Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens did in its entire theatrical run ($124 million).

http://www.wired.com/2016/06/warcraft-and-the-future-of-blockbusters/
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on July 20, 2016, 06:46:26 AM
In keeping with the above Warcraft article…

In the video interview embedded below, from January, Ted Sarandos talks about Netflix’s content becoming progressively more uniform globally, with the continued goal of releasing original and licensed content day-and-date on the platform in every single country (now 190 countries, 130 of which were added in January of 2016), as old contracts and old deals expire.

Right now the US market for Netflix content is still bigger than its international counterpart, but in the final minute of the interview Sarandos predicts that in a couple of years the split between US and foreign subscriber numbers will flip to be 20/80. 

Quote
(re: “Making a Murderer”)

Is that something that was data-driven - you saw that people were watching a lot of true crime, they were watching a lot of murder mysteries and you said: Hey, we know that our audience will like this, let’s make this documentary, or, are you making more decisions now based on your gut, what seems like good creative, the meetings that you take?

It’s a little bit of both. I really look at it as informed hunches. So you have a hunch and you either use the data to confirm the hunch or dismiss the hunch, or the other way around, which is you start seeing patterns in the data…

Another interesting anecdote: He notes that "Better Call Saul" is able to be produced with such a high caliber of production value because even though the series first premieres on AMC, Netflix’s licensing dollars figure into its budget, and it ends up premiering as a Netflix Original in most other parts of the world.

Curious how this will influence what they produce down the line. Made me think about "Stranger Things", such a hybrid of US cultural icons (80s Spielberg, Stephen King), and how culturally specific programming will be affected once the whole world gains an appetite for Netflix's pipeline. The four 190 quadrant tentpolizing of serialized television seems to have begun (if it ends up getting that far)...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVzHh_iKsbs
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on July 25, 2016, 05:43:49 AM
Brexit, Part 2
7/23/16
via Film and Digital Times

Yasuaki Mitsuwa conducted two interviews from Japan about the impact of BREXIT on film production.

Ronan Girre
-Chief Executive & Head of Studies of ace (ateliers du cinema european) (http://ace-producers.com/) in Paris, France. Ace is a center for training and development to help independent European producers.
-IMDb Credits (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0321037/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1)

Yasuaki Mitsuwa: What do you think about Brexit?

Ronan Girre: Brexiters apparently did not expect to win and were probably the first ones to be surprised by the result of the poll. French observers think that the pro-Brexit campaign was mostly a political marketing campaign by some politicians who wanted to get more visibility but did not actually plan to leave the EU so fast. Maybe for that reason they had not really prepared a plan for the “day after.” Now, apparently, no one knows exactly what to do with this new situation in the UK. To me, it looks like there is no strategy.

How do you think Brexit will influence film production in the UK, Europe and Hollywood?

I believe it will have an impact mostly in the UK. In a way, the film business in the UK has gradually withdrawn from the European game for a number of years.

Over the last 10 years, the UK has withdrawn from the main EU film organizations. Eurimages (http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/eurimages/default_en.asp) (European Cinema Support Fund) is an example. The UK system is rather co-production unfriendly: private funds are reluctant to invest in continental productions as they are focused on Hollywood big business. Public funds (BFI (http://www.bfi.org.uk/supporting-uk-film)) are focused on British films as they have very little money available (about the same as a medium-sized German region like NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia). The Enterprise Investment Scheme (http://www.eisa.org.uk/using-eis/) (EIS) tax shelter excludes international coproduction as it requires full control of the film by British companies. The shooting incentive requires 1 million sterling minimum spending in the UK and is targeted mostly at big Hollywood productions shot in Pinewood … and maybe a few French ones shot in town.

According to observers, the UK might have less money available for films — and for everything else.

Service companies and studios may have fewer US customers. Being labelled British may not provide the same advantages they do today to access the EU market (as “Harry Potter” has). Cheaper studios may become the new favorite venues for US projects. (Czechs? Bulgarians? Germans? They are all potential alternatives.)

British films are not performing very well in their own domestic market compared to their US competitors. However they might lose the European market (as they probably will not be eligible for  EU distribution support and other helpful EU devices any more. Furthermore, they might be submitted to TV quotas as other non EU films are.)

On the other hand, UK distributors do not buy many EU films  now (except Curzon and smaller companies releasing them in one or two theaters). Most multiplexes in the mainstream market are already owned by US companies who do not exhibit EU films. Before Brexit and after Brexit may make very little difference for  EU films in the UK market.

In summary, we could almost say that, in a way, Brexit already happened 10 years ago in the film business.

Any comments on Brexit and future prospects of the motion picture industry in a borderless world?

The UK commercial cinema cannot really compete with Hollywood big productions for budgetary and cast reasons (except a few films like “The King’s Speech.”)  They have the same problem as  Canadian English speaking films, Australian films and films in New Zealand: they keep a very small share of their domestic market compared to other non-English speaking countries whose market is naturally protected by their native language.

On the other hand, the UK’s main art house cinema market happens to be France, and to a lesser degree, the EU. This market may become more difficult to reach. Therefore, my UK friends are very pessimistic at the moment.

Another important element to keep in mind is that Canada is joining Eurimages in 2017 and will almost be considered as an EU country in regards to film production. For French companies, shooting in English will be easier in Toronto than in the UK when they will need to. (As a reminder, French law gives access to all kinds of advantages when the film is shot in the language of the producer or in the language of the co-producer. French companies need to raise money in an English-speaking country when they want to shoot in English).

However let us not be too pessimistic. The new British government has apparently decided to wait a very long time before actually implementing Brexit. They might wait years and years—and not only for cinema’s sake—because they have many other more important problems to solve.


Adam Torel

-British producer living in Japan.
-CEO of Third Window Films,  distributing Japanese and other Asian films in the UK. 
-Third Window Films: http://thirdwindowfilms.com/ (http://thirdwindowfilms.com/)
-IMDb credits (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2880008/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1)

Yasuaki Mitsuwa: What do you think about Brexit?

Adam Torel: I think that many people obviously did not understand the facts and what impact leaving Europe would actually have on their individual lives. I don’t even believe that many of the people who promoted the movement expected that it would actually happen (as proven by the resignation of Farage) and for sure they have no plan about how to stop the sinking ship of a country they are left with. Personally I think that it will be looked upon as one of the biggest mistakes in history that a country has ever made.

How do you think Brexit will influence film production in UK, Europe and Hollywood?

Personally, as a distributor of Japanese films in the UK, it will be much harder to acquire titles for the UK due to the weakness of the UK’s Pound Sterling against the Japanese Yen. Also, if the UK plunges quickly into a bottomless pit of economic recession and general depression, the younger population (our target audience) will have less free cash to spend on niche entertainment. In terms of production, with the UK’s film production market being so closely linked (both financially as well as in terms of staff/talent) with Europe and the US, I’d imagine that making films in the UK will be much less appealing to investors and creators.

Any comments on Brexit and future prospect of the motion picture industry in a borderless world?

You say borderless world, though England has now made very sturdy borders—so they may find it very hard to continue being part of the global industry.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on July 28, 2016, 04:22:53 AM
Just Withnail shared this link, and it’s a doozy. Go upvote him (http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=11191.msg344928#msg344928)

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Box Office Meltdown: Hollywood Races to Win Back Summer Crowds
7/26/16
via Variety

From “Jaws” to “Jurassic Park,” few directors can rival Steven Spielberg in the blockbuster arena. But even Spielberg’s magic touch couldn’t save “The BFG” at the box office.

On paper, the film, a $140 million adaptation of a beloved children’s book with a script by “ET” writer Melissa Mathison, had all the makings of a hit. Instead, the movie collapsed at the multiplexes, eking out less than $20 million in its opening weekend.

It’s a stunning fall for one of cinema’s highest-flying talents — a director whose finger was affixed to the pulse of mainstream tastes for decades. Yet “The BFG” is only the latest high-profile casualty in a summer that’s seen a slew of big-budget domestic bombs. Indeed, red ink has spilled out from such misses as “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Warcraft,” “The Legend of Tarzan,” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” each of which had production budgets north of $130 million, along with steep global marketing and distribution costs. The failures could cost their studios tens of millions of dollars.

More troubling is what the downturn may portend for the future of the film business and moviegoing overall.

“The theater business has weaker prospects going forward than at any time in the last 30 years,” says media analyst Hal Vogel. “It’s encountering visible strain this summer. It’s a superhero, mega-blockbuster, tentpole strategy run amuck. There’s too much of it, and it’s not working.”

Those weak prospects will likely affect financing. Chris Spicer, Akin Gump entertainment and media partner, says investors may move away from film into other media, such as gaming or virtual reality. “They will look at financing opportunities in the broader media context,” he argues.

There have been hits, particularly for Disney, with Pixar’s “Finding Dory” and Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” together racking up $1.8 billion worldwide.

Year to date, receipts are up 2%, thanks largely to winter hits such as “Deadpool” and “Zootopia.” Blockbuster season is a different story. Ticket sales are down roughly 10% this summer, but the slide is more precipitous than those numbers suggest. Rising ticket prices, fueled by 3D, Imax, and other premium formats, have enabled the industry to paper over a huge gulf in attendance. On a per-capita basis, the moviegoing audience is at its lowest levels in nearly a century. Most disturbing, millennials are avoiding theaters.

The audience of 18- to 39-year-olds has declined over the past five years, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

“There are pockets of age groups and demographics that have not been inspired by what they’re seeing in movie theaters,” says Bud Mayo, president of Carmike Cinemas’ alternative programming and distribution division. “With social media, the reaction time is instantaneous. If kids don’t like it, word spreads.”

“Repeating the same kind of content over and over doesn’t really make sense. If you don’t give people something that’s fresh and new, they’re not going to show up.”
MIKE MEDAVOY, PRODUCER

As studios cater to fanboys, flooding theaters with superhero films and diving deeper into the comic-book canon, the business becomes more niche. Frequent moviegoers, defined as those who go to theaters at least once a month, are responsible for nearly half of domestic revenue. In 2015, total tickets purchased by this group increased by 2.9 million, but the ranks of these habitual consumers fell by 3.7 million.

At the same time, TV and online content continues to be compelling, with production values that rival those on the big screen. For a new generation of cinephiles, Ned Stark being separated from his head on “Game of Thrones,” or Walter White cooking meth in his underwear in “Breaking Bad,” are pop-culture totems. Little of what’s in the cineplex has that kind of impact.

“There has been a shift in the way that people are consuming content, and it’s moving away from the big screen,” says Bruce Nash, founder of the box-office tracking site The Numbers.

Producer Mike Medavoy says the box-office malaise is symptomatic of the larger problem of engaging moviegoers who have a wide variety of alternatives, from Netflix to Pokémon Go. “I’ve been deeply concerned for a long time by the fact that there are so many other options besides movies,” he says. “Millennials can play games or watch movies at home on a big screen, so repeating the same kind of content over and over [at the movie theater] doesn’t really make sense. If you don’t give people something that’s fresh and new, they’re not going to show up.”

It’s a looming disaster that’s been more than a decade in the making. Some of it is self-inflicted, brought about by a mixture of greed and fear, aided by a profound and troubling lack of imagination. The consequences add up to a business that feels increasingly irrelevant.

What’s lacking is originality. So far, only one new blockbuster franchise has emerged out of the summer — Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets.” Warner Bros.’ big-budget bet, “Suicide Squad,” a hotly anticipated superhero movie, is tracking well, but it’s not entirely new, springing from the DC Comics cinematic universe.


FEWER SALES PER PERSON


As ticket prices have soared, per-capita annual purchases in the domestic theatrical market have plummeted

(http://i.imgur.com/Uxhdezr.png)

(http://i.imgur.com/wmRQT0l.png)


FADING FRANCHISES


Today, it’s hard to predict which movies will resonate with audiences and which will be spurned. To safeguard against the vagaries of popular taste, studios have banked increasingly on sequels and spinoffs, with diminishing returns. That hasn’t meant just cooking up new chapters in popular franchises; it means raiding the pop-culture waste bin to revive moldy, dimly remembered pieces of intellectual property.

Fox resurrected “Independence Day,” only to find that audiences had little interest in revisiting the alien-invasion yarn 20 years after it took the box office by storm. Likewise, Sony is trying to reinvigorate “Ghostbusters” three decades after the paranormal investigators hung up their proton packs. But, as Variety critic Peter Debruge noted in his review of the new film, which debuted to middling receipts, Sony’s female-driven relaunch “suffers from a disappointingly strong case of déjà vu” and lacks its own identity.

And that’s not all: Studios have other pricey redos in the works, including another “Blade Runner,” a remake of “Ben-Hur,” the umpteenth “Spider-Man” reboot, more “XXX” adventures, and a fourth “Beverly Hills Cop.” Spielberg also will return to the well, reuniting with a 73-year-old Harrison Ford on a fifth “Indiana Jones” film, despite the fact that the last one, “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” represented a nadir for the series. Depending on your perspective, having Indy crack his bullwhip once more is either cinematic validation that seniors today lead longer, more active lives, or an indication of Spielberg and Ford’s refusal to leave the stage gracefully.

“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” and “London Has Fallen” are just a few of the high-profile sequels that performed worse than previous installments in their franchises.

In 2010, Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” topped $1 billion globally, but six years later, the follow-up “Alice Through the Looking Glass” has made barely a quarter of that, and could result in a $100 million writedown. Other flops, such as “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” “Ride Along 2,” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” raise questions about the knee-jerk impulse to sequelize: Were these characters so beloved, and were their stories so rich, that audiences demanded part two?

“It may be a fantasy of mine as a creative producer, but I hope this will remind the studios that you could make five really good movies for the cost of one sequel to a movie that didn’t merit a sequel,” says Matt Baer, producer of “Unbroken.”


(http://i.imgur.com/HmNsf9P.png)


The sequels that have the most trouble are those that try to hew too closely to the style and format of the originals, says one Hollywood producer. The second “Independence Day,” which merely upped the size of the alien invasion, left audiences cold. But Marvel/Disney’s “Captain America” franchise — which morphed over three episodes from war movie to paranoid conspiracy thriller to “Fast and Furious”-style buddy movie — kept viewers craving more.

The last “Star Wars” installment signaled to audiences months in advance that it would not just roll out Han Solo and Princess Leia again and hope for the best. This fresh take was announced in the trailer when a Storm Trooper not only pulled off his mask (itself a novelty), but also revealed a new character, played by John Boyega, showing the franchise’s commitment to more diversity in casting.

Yet such new thinking has been the exception. Instead of pulling back with their sequels, studios are plowing ahead, announcing follow-ups even before a first film hits theaters. Lionsgate, for instance, plans to make seven “Power Rangers” movies — never mind that audiences won’t get a peek at the rebooted version of the Mighty Morphin team until 2017.

After coming down with a case of Marvel envy, Warner Bros. unveiled a sprawling DC Comics cinematic universe, scheduled to deliver up to two superhero films a year through 2020. But things got off to a rocky start after “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” bowed to withering reviews and tepid fan reception. (The film did gross $873 million worldwide, though some say it needed to do more to justify the creation of sequels.) Now, the studio must retune the engine in midflight, promising to fix tonal issues on “Justice League,” its 2017 answer to “The Avengers.”

Universal has been deeply engaged in its own universe-building. The studio has tapped Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan to oversee the creation of intersecting monster movies featuring the likes of the Mummy and Dracula. Those films will begin rolling out next year.

As Disney proved with Marvel, the rewards for getting it right can be limitless.

Hits spawn toy lines, theme-park rides, stage shows, and the untold riches that come with success. However, the costs associated with launching these franchises is ever escalating, and the dangers of making a false move can be cataclysmic.


INCOME INEQUALITY


All is not equal at the box office. Fewer movies now account for a greater proportion of ticket sales. In 2015, five films were responsible for a staggering 25% of ticket sales. As media analyst Doug Creutz noted in a recent report, the top five films from 2000 to 2014 averaged 16% of grosses.

This year, the trend of a higher concentration of box-office wealth is continuing. When a film hits, the rewards are huge. Halfway through 2016, six films have topped $300 million domestically; that’s double the number that hit that milestone in all of 2014.

But as the highs get higher, the lows get lower. Though 2015 saw the two biggest domestic openings in history — the $248 million bow of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the $209 million debut by “Jurassic World” — it also included some of the lowest-grossing wide-release bows in history. “Victor Frankenstein,” “Burnt,” “We Are Your Friends,” “Jem and the Holograms,” and “Rock the Kasbah” rank among the worst debuts for films released on more than 2,000 screens. This year, “Hardcore Henry,” a point-of-view thriller that sparked a bidding war at the Toronto Film Festival, joined their ranks.

The income gap is being felt in another way. Disney spent more than $15 billion to snap up Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel, giving the company the rights to Iron Man, “The Incredibles,” Luke Skywalker, and scores of other iconic characters. That pop culture arsenal has allowed Disney to dwarf its rivals.

“They’ve had hit after hit this year,” says Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners. “It’s incumbent on the other studios to up their game.”

Disney is responsible for four of the year’s five highest-grossing films. It has crossed the $5 billion mark at the box office at a record clip. And the Burbank studio’s revenues tower over those of its big studio brethren: The company has gobbled up 31.3% of domestic market share. Its closest competitor, 20th Century Fox, commands roughly half that, with 16.9% of ticket sales.

If Disney were to rename its animated classic after the current studio scene, it would be “Snow White and the Six Dwarfs,” Creutz quips, counting Lionsgate with the five other major studios.

That raises questions about whether the business can continue to sustain this many studios. At the Sun Valley media conference earlier this month, Barry Diller, the former Fox and Paramount Pictures chief, predicted that the movie industry will soon experience consolidation. “It will contract,” he said.

“With social media, the reaction time is instantaneous. If kids don’t like it, word spreads.”
BUD MAYO, CARMIKE CINEMAS

Each studio has the incentive to follow the formula of making sequels and tentpole films like Disney, even though, collectively, the strategy means further cannibalization, since audiences won’t support the surfeit of big films coming to the cineplex, Creutz says.

He argues that by making a narrow range of films, the studios “have gotten themselves in the position that they are in, and really constrained the interest of the audience to go to the movies at all. They are essentially wrecking their own economics.”


SHRINKING MOVIE STARS


It’s lonely on the A-list. As the business focuses on comic-book movies featuring masked avengers, the clout of the men and women who save the planet on screen has diminished. The club of actors and actresses who can open a movie with their name above the title has plunged in recent years. It’s a group in the single digits, one whose members include Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Downey Jr., and, maybe, Tom Cruise and Will Smith. With the exception of Lawrence, these actors are middle-aged and have been in the public eye since the 1980s or ’90s.

The bloodletting has continued in recent months. Johnny Depp’s days of commanding $20 million a picture evaporated when “Alice Through the Looking Glass” flatlined. Pairing Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in “The Nice Guys” and sending them on an extensive media tour failed to excite people about the R-rated comedy. And Matthew McConaughey’s McConaissance wasn’t powerful enough to rescue “Free State of Jones.”

From “Dances With Wolves” to “Reds” to “The Passion of the Christ,” the history of the movie business is rich with instances of stars using their box-office prowess to bankroll challenging films that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day. Without star clout to get passion projects made, studios aren’t taking big swings. That means many of the types of movies that have been held in the highest regard are nearly impossible to will into existence.

“Studios aren’t making the kinds of films they made a decade ago, the ones that skewed toward adults,” says Celine Rattray, an executive producer on “American Honey” and a producer on “The Kids Are Alright.”

Rattray cites “Eye in the Sky,” the drone thriller with Helen Mirren that became an art-house hit, as an example of a business in transition. “I could have seen a studio making that 10 years ago,” she says. “Now it has to be financed independently.”


CHINA RISING?


The Chinese movie business has been a source of comfort within the industry’s challenges. New theater construction and a burgeoning middle class have fueled explosive growth in the country, pushing ticket sales up nearly 50% last year. At some point in 2017, China is expected to pass the U.S. as the world’s largest market for film.

That’s a sign of the increasingly globalized nature of the business. But studios are ambivalent about China’s rise. After all, Hollywood companies are getting only a small cut of the riches. Last year, China’s ticket sales hit $6.8 billion, but that was driven largely by local productions. Even though foreign films — including those that Hollywood exports to China — racked up $2.6 billion, the Chinese government maintains such tight restrictions on outside content that studios received only 25% of receipts (half of what they get in the United States). That means their share of that record-shattering year was just $650 million.


THE SKY MAY NOT BE FALLING (YET)

But there is hope. After a bruising start to summer, ticket sales have begun to rebound. “The Secret Life of Pets” soared to a $104.4 million debut, and “Suicide Squad” and “Jason Bourne” could yet lift revenues, ending the popcorn season on a high note.

Their success will lift spirits, but the movie industry’s issues are more systemic. It faces shifting tastes, increased competition, and a business model that seems to have been built for a different age. Breaking out of the rut will require bold, persistent experimentation, and a willingness to embrace fresh ideas. Of course, that’s only possible with a wider range of films.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Just Withnail on September 01, 2016, 03:37:02 AM
There's been a scary amount of these "do movies matter" articles going around the last months, and here's another one anyway. To counterweight, I'll post Richard Brody's great rebuttal.


Could This Be the Year Movies Stopped Mattering?

By Brian Raftery (WIRED)

IF YOU WANTED to pinpoint the moment this year when it became clear that moviegoing had devolved from Culture-Conquering Pastime to merely Something to Do When the Wi-Fi’s Down, consider the weekend of April 22 to April 24. On that Friday, with no other major new films opening in theaters, Universal Pictures released The Huntsman: Something Something Swordfart, a $115 million sequel to a movie that made nearly $400 million worldwide. The new Huntsman was accompanied by an omnipresent marketing campaign featuring four well-known stars (including Oscar winner Charlize Theron), not to mention a seemingly ceaseless cascade of ads like this one, in which Chris Hemsworth appears to have just won the gold medal for Confused Axe-Posing. It was impossible not to know The Huntsman was coming out, and that combination of wide-scale awareness and sheer star power—not to mention the relative lack of competition—made the movie look like a sure thing.

But by late Saturday night, The Huntsman was all but dead, having been slayed by two women: Beyoncé—who’d just sorta-surprise-released Lemonade, her new album—and “Becky with the good hair,” an anonymous, Jay-zoomin’ interloper who’d been called out on the Beyoncé song “Sorry,” and whose identity caused a weekend-long guessing-game online. And even if people weren’t trying to figure out who Beyoncé was talking about, they were spending the weekend watching a clip of Bruce Springsteen covering a song by the dearly beloved, recently departed Prince; or checking out Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Earth Day freestyle; or debating whether or not Jon Snow—the blokey with the good hair—would still be dead by the end of that Sunday night’s Game of Thrones premiere. They were doing anything but watching, discussing, or caring about the mega-sequel with the big stars and the impossible-to-miss marketing.

Like so many high-pedigree films released this year, Huntsman was quickly reduced to just another loud, expensive, desperate thingee hovering noisily and anxiously in the background of your digital life, hoping it could tear you away from Twitter or Snapchat or Spotify.
Granted, these kinds of apples-to-Lemonade comparisons are a bit unfair, especially when you consider that Huntsman made almost $20 million in its opening weekend. And, sure—it was much easier to watch Lemonade on your phone then head out to a theater and get your Ther-on. But, really: No one cared about this movie—including, I’m guessing, most of the people who actually saw it. Like so many high-pedigree films released this year, Huntsman was pushed out of the pop-cultural conversation quickly and fiercely. It was reduced to just another loud, expensive, desperate thingee hovering noisily and anxiously in the background of your digital life, hoping it could tear you away from Twitter or Snapchat or Spotify. And it ended up in an ambivalence-borne limbo, one that now includes several other recent oof-inducing films, including Warcraft, Ben-Hur, X-Men: Apocalypse, The BFG, and Zoolander 2.


Pastime Paradise
These movies didn’t just fail; they almost seemed to never exist in the first place, having been dismissed or disposed of almost immediately upon impact. And even if they did do OK for a weekend or two, they never reached beyond their predictable (and increasingly stratified) core audiences. Instead, they were dumbo-dropped into our ever-expanding cauldron of content, where they played to their bases, while everyone else turned to the newest videogame, or the latest Drake video, or some random “Damn, Daniel” parody.

Movies bomb every weekend, of course. And the studios have been caulking their calendars with mediocre films for decades, resulting in lackluster blockbusters that were gently forced upon us, and to which we responded with a collective, “Fine, whatever, it’s not like there’s anything better to do this weekend.” Twenty years ago, you went out to see a movie starring Keanu Reeves as a physicist named Eddie Kasalivich not because it looked good, but because you kind of had no other choice. Even the worst film had a respectable half-life, and seemed to linger for years afterward.

Nowadays, though, there’s likely something way more exciting than the latest alleged blockbuster waiting for you on your phone, whether it’s a Frank Ocean record, a cornered Charmeleon, or some dank memes. And with social media providing us real-time updates of our passions and consumption, it’s become clear that, in 2016, people are less passionate about films than ever before. Movies are still making tons of money, obviously, and still inspire giddy fandemonium (both good and bad) among the faithful. But it’s hard to think of a year in which movies have felt quite as ephemeral, and so easy to ignore. It feels as though they’ve been pushed further on down our pop-culture hierarchy of needs. And this is disturbing news, whether you’re a studio head looking to make money, a balcony brat looking for a few communal cinematic thrills, or a sword-farter looking for an audience.


Bootopia
Part of the problem with film culture in 2016, of course, is the films themselves. Despite the critical success of hits like Zootopia and The Jungle Book, or the superheroic hauls of Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War, it’s hard to shake off (or rebut) the Worst. Year. Ever. grumblings that have been circulating among cinephiles all summer, thanks to movies like Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice—two of the worst–reviewed chart-toppers of the year—not to mention Independence Day: Resurgence, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and this spring’s Divergent: Allegiant. Contrast that line-up with that of 2015, when by late-summer we’d already had Ex Machina, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Straight Outta Compton, Amy, and the dumb, fun Furious 7. (Ah, 2015! It’s been a long day without you, my friend!)

But we’ve experienced long stretches of mediocrity before (Remember 2011? A few unpleasant reminders: Cowboys & Aliens, Tower Heist, We Bought a Zoo, Green Lantern.) What’s further diminished the power of movies in 2016 is the fact that while your local marquee was being programmed by de Sade, nearly every single other art form was experiencing a commercial and creative summit—starting with television, cinema’s long-time rival for our affections (and our screen time). You could spend 10,000 hours watching TV this year, and still not be caught up on all the good stuff: There’s the multi-faceted melodrama of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson; the deft and funny prime-time politics of black-ish; the Spielberg-spelunking throwback-thrills of Stranger Things; the layered legal proceedings of The Night Of; the creative-class squabbling of Difficult People; and the uncomfortably relatable real-talk of Girls (hardly the biggest comedy on TV, but maybe the best). Not all of these shows earned huge ratings, but they certainly won the impossible to quantify—yet equally hard to deny—metrics of online chatter, where they spawned countless essays and arguments for weeks and months on end.

And, of course, there’s Game of Thrones, which recovered from an occasionally wandering (and certainly way-overstuffed) year with two back-to-back season-ending installments that were full of palace intrigue and immolations and gore-throated battle cries. Each new episode was a weekly event that drowned out any other cultural discussions. As of today, if you were to ask a stranger what his/her favorite movie of the year was, I’m guessing he/she would say, “That Game of Thrones where even the horses looked like they were gonna start stabbing each other.”

But hold the door: For once, it’s not just television usurping film’s glory. Who would have predicted, for example, that a Broadway musical that 99 percent of the population hasn’t even been able to see (Hamilton) would cause such a worldwide stir, sir? Or that the summer’s biggest franchise hit would play out not in movie theaters, but among the sidewalks and city parks, where the Pokémon Go faithful congregate like so many Squirtles? Or that a four-minute clip of a woman putting on a Chewbacca mask in a parking lot would be greeted with nearly as much hysteria as the trailer for a new Star Wars movie?

And certainly, no one expected 2016 to be such a buoyant, maybe even epochal, year for music. Music! Remember that stuff? Not so long ago, no one wanted to buy it, and not a lot of people wanted to read about it, either. But it’s hard to remember a recent period in which so much of our chatter—both online and IRL—has been about music, partly because of all the great artists who unexpectedly faded away this year (especially David Bowie and Prince, whose deaths are still undealwithable), and partly because there have been so many oversized, must-hear-now albums (Bowie, Rihanna, Kendrick, Kanye, Beyoncé, Radiohead, Drake, Chance the Rapper, etc.) squeezed into an eight-month stretch. August is never the kindest month for movie-lovers, so this is kind of a loaded question, but still: What were you doing last Friday night—waiting in line for a movie, or waiting online for Frank Ocean?


Screen Gems
By now, I imagine, there’s a large number of movie lovers who are angrily scanning the remaining sections, looking for any mention of the great movies of 2016. I haven’t forgotten about you—nor have I forgotten about the many films that prompted me to walk out of the theater this year with the glazed, guilty smile of an overfed sea lion. In addition to the overstock of great documentaries, from Weiner to Gleason to De Palma, we’ve had the laconic, sun-starched neo-Western Hell or High Water; the moving, humane The Lobster; the river-of-dreams drama Embrace of the Serpent; the unsettling cult-classic The Invitation; the perceptive improv-world comedy Don’t Think Twice; and the grody punk-rock escape-thriller Green Room.

There have been smaller-scale surprises, as well, from a Hall & Oates-indebted musical-drama (Sing Street) to a Spielberg-indebted sci-fi chase-flick (Midnight Special) to a lively little shark movie (The Shallows). Also encouraging? The arrival of some much-needed new-star power, with breakout turns by Hail, Caesar!’s dandy cowpoke Alden Ehrenreich (now better known as the next Han Solo); The Fits’ sparkle-motioned dance-champ Royalty Hightower; and pretty much the entire cast of Richard Linklater’s happily shambolic Everybody Wants Some!!

And, before you mistake me for someone who puts on their fancy-pants one leg at a time, I’ll also note that I rocked back and forth happily in my chair during Civil War, laughed continuously at the messy but good-hearted Ghostbusters, and was apparently the only person who legit loved Jason Bourne.

Yet I’d argue that, save for Winter Soldier, pretty much none of these movies reached the people who weren’t already inclined to see them. Movie fandom in 2016 feels increasingly niche-driven and tribal, no matter what kind of movies you watch, or how big they are: The indie-produced dramas, docs, and suspense thrillers will always pull in their loyalists, with mainstream viewers taking years to catch up, if at all (unless, of course, said indies were released by A24, which got people into theaters for potential tough-sells like The Witch and The Lobster). Meanwhile, many of the year’s big-budget sequels made just enough money to justify a future follow-up, as evidenced by the grosses for Star Trek Beyond ($147 million), X-Men: Apocalypse ($155 million), and Bourne ($141 million)—all drop-offs from their previous entries. In 2016, a movie’s considered a success, barely, if it manages to reach the already-converted.


Something to Talk About—Or Not
It wasn’t always like this. For the past couple of years, even as TV’s dominance loomed, there were still a few zeitgeist-igniting movies that all but broke into your living room, kicked you in the Roku, and demanded that you run to a theater: beyond the aforementioned Mad Max: Fury Road and Straight Outta Compton, we had Boyhood. The Lego Movie. Inside Out. Gone Girl. Gravity. Guardians of the Galaxy. The Martian. Creed.

Some of these were late-in-the-year Oscar-contenders, but many of them arrived in spring or summer, and all of them were culturally crucial—the kinds of films you needed to see, even if you had to sneak in, just to understand what everyone else was talking about. They stuck around for months after their release, spurring spoofs and endless memes. But, more importantly, they spurred the kind of uncomfortable but essential conversations that movies have the power to provoke on a grand scale. Straight Outta Compton dovetailed with, and amplified, a still-ongoing re-examination of how black Americans view the police. Inside Out confronted depression and anxiety in a way most grown-up movies would never attempt. And Wolf of Wall Street, depending on how you looked at it, was either a celebration of or a condemnation of the excess and hubris that’s become all but expected of modern money-making culture.

There’s been no such reach-across-the-aisle movie in 2016, at least not yet (Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t count, as it came out last December). A few movies come very close, like Deadpool, a naughty superhero flick with a knotty history—it was all but dead before some leaked test footage came along—a fan-stoking marketing campaign that gave it a riotous, grass-roots vibe, and the kind of positive reviews most other superhero flicks couldn’t muster. And we also had Zootopia and Finding Dory, two socially conscious animated comedies from Disney that broke records and won over critics. But despite their wide reaches, they were all constrained from true cultural-crossover success: Deadpool was a hard-R kill-’em-all sexcapade, while Zootopia and Dory were animated movies largely marketed toward families; fairly or not, such elements were likely a turn-off for a sizable number of adult moviegoers. All three were hits, but they felt cordoned-off from the culture as a whole.

Of course, there have been a handful of widespread, weeks-long conversations about movies this year—conversations in which everyone seemed to want to speak up. But for the most part, those talks have tended to focus less on the films themselves, and more about the various social and pop-cultural quandaries they represent: Does the gloomy reception for Batman v Superman mean we’re tiring of sad-sack superheroes? Are the #OscarsSoWhite? Should women be allowed to fight ghosts? (Sigh.) How could anyone possibly watch The Birth of a Nation, given Nate Parker’s recently revisited past?

Such heated back-and-forths speak to the soft power of cinema in 2016: It can still occasionally energize and irk us, and prod us into debate, but often for reasons that have nothing to do with what’s on the actual screen. In 2016, movies are too often just a product-turned-talking-point—something to be added to the queue and watched after the argument winds down, or simply never watched at all.


2016’s Shot at Redemption
Still, I hold out hope that movies will make a fourth-quarter resurgence this year—a strong possibility, given that the studios increasingly hoard their better films for the fall and winter. The next few months will see new films from such directors as Martin Scorsese (Silence), Ang Lee (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Ava DuVernay (The 13th), Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Adam Wingard (Blair Witch), Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe), Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven), Steve James (Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), Kenneth Longergan (Manchester By the Sea), and Damien Chazelle (La La Land). There will also be a new Star Wars movie, a Tupac biopic, and even a Western with John Travolta and Ethan Hawke.

All of these have the potential to be great, or at least make for goony good fun; a few might even help define the year, recalibrate the culture, and remind people that they love movies. Because they still do—they’re just ingesting them and appreciating them in as many non-movie mediums as possible. Look at how much of modern television is informed by film: Stranger Things is a slavish cinephile mishmash of everything from The Goonies to The Thing to The Breakfast Club. HBO’s The Night Of, with its outer-borough strivers and cop-land politics, is the kind of TV drama Sidney Lumet would have killed to direct, while Mr. Robot nods to everyone from Stanley Kubrick to Carol Reed. And the best episode of Girls this season (and maybe my favorite episode of TV this year) was “The Panic in Central Park,” a downbeat tale of rekindled affections that takes place over the course of a single night; it was inspired by the great, grim 1971 junkie-drama Panic in Needle Park, probably the most depressing non-Gigli movie Al Pacino ever made.

Even musicians have been absorbing the DNA of Hollywood, whether it’s in terms of aesthetics—the sweeping, naturalistic, shot-in-secrecy visuals that accompanied Lemonade gave it the feel of a Terrence Malick project—or logistics: Big albums are now heralded by splashy trailers, and the shift of new-release days from Tuesdays to Fridays means a major record can dominate the weekend conversation the way films once did. And when Ocean released his much-anticipated Blonde over the weekend, it was accompanied by a ‘zine that included a list of his favorite movies, a deep-digging roundup that demonstrates that, to young artists, film is just as important as ever (somewhat tellingly, there weren’t any 2016 movies included—but then again, the guy’s been busy).

Clearly, film still has an impact—it’s just that, in 2016, that impact feels diffuse, and is certainly difficult to ascertain. Which is why we need one of those mass-audience, culture-shifting flicks more than ever: Not only do they bring us together, physically and emotionally, they supply us with images and ideas that trickle down and influence all art, even if takes years for that influence to be felt. Maybe, in the next few months, that kind of movie will arrive, and restore film back to its peak pop-culture powers. If so, it will give 2016 a cheer-worthy comeback story, one with big names, a killer third-act twist, and plenty of suspense. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even make an awesome TV series about it someday.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Just Withnail on September 01, 2016, 03:39:00 AM
WHY MOVIES STILL MATTER

By Richard Brody (The New Yorker)


In  a new piece on Wired.com, “Could This Be the Year Movies Stopped Mattering?” Brian Raftery suggests that movies have “devolved from Culture-Conquering Pastime to merely Something to Do When the Wi-Fi’s Down,” and that their former centrality to the culture has been taken over by a diverse range of media events—serial television above all, but also Pokémon Go, “Hamilton,” YouTube memes, and visual albums such as Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” The simplest refutation is that what matters is determined not by media discussion but by each person for herself; movies matter to me, therefore they matter.

But Raftery is on to something important, even if, as I think, he comes at it backward. He’s right that the kinds of work that capture widespread attention and find widespread favor have changed in recent years—and he’s right that these changes are inseparable from the realm of criticism, the very nature of which has changed drastically in the same period. Raftery’s fixation on “the pop-cultural conversation” and the “zeitgeist” is one that’s shared by the era, by the critical community at large, and this fixation yields its own predestined results. Modern cultural criticism gives rise to its own cultural artifacts, and the two fit together like a lock and key. As a work of criticism, Raftery’s essay is exemplary of the very phenomenon that he’s documenting—and that circularity, that self-fulfilling critical criterion, is the defining trait of the time.

The rise of so-called quality television has coincided with the advent of widespread access to the Internet, which is closely correlated with consumers’ level of education. The serial nature of serial television lent itself to online discussion—blogs, comments, e-mails, and then, a few years later, social-media postings—in a way that the one-time-only and freestanding experience of going to a movie doesn’t, at the same time that it also locked specifically into the new habits of the educated in a way that moviegoing didn’t.

The principal quality of quality TV has proven to be its ability to generate discourse—not just on the part of critics and viewers but on the part of journalists. As particular series, and television over all, became the subjects of widespread public discussion—discussion in the literal sense, of writers and viewers responding to each other—that discussion became news. Suddenly, television was propelled from the arts page to the front page, and that trend was accelerated by the nature of the shows. Their emphasis on stories and characters involving iconic phenomena in cultural history and hot-button issues of contemporary sociology and politics grabbed—and still grabs—hold of journalists’ nose for stories. Many series seem to exist only to present topics in ready-to-debate form; they are built to give rise to “think pieces,” which have become the dominant, if easily parodied, critical mode.

The experience that the watching and the critique of new serial television resemble above all is the college experience. Binge-watching is cramming, and the discussions that are sparked reproduce academic habits: What It Says About, What It Gets Right About, What It Gets Wrong About. There is a lot of aboutness but very little being; lots of puzzle-like assembling of information to pose particular kinds of questions (posing questions—sounds like a final exam), to explore particular issues (sounds like a term paper). For these reasons, television’s actual competition isn’t movies or museums or novels but nonfiction books, documentary films, journalism, radio discussions, and general online clicking. Serial television is designed to gratify the craving for facts to piece together and analyze. The medium seems created for the media buzz that’s generated by the media people who are its natural audience, and to whom the shows owe their acclaim, their prestige, and their success.

Even now, the way that Raftery underlines the importance of new television shows is with the assertion that “they certainly won the impossible to quantify—yet equally hard to deny—metrics of online chatter, where they spawned countless essays and arguments for weeks and months on end.” Just as the numbers matter for the TV business, the quantity of chatter matters for the culture business, because it’s what happens when the work of art extends beyond itself into other fields and makes its influence apparent. That’s why so much of the discourse generated by television is political—and why, in this moment that’s so rich in cultural discourse, the dominant way of discussing art is political.

Raftery displays the skewed results of this trend when he cites three recent movies that strike him as “culturally crucial”: “Straight Outta Compton,” a good movie; “Inside Out,” a mediocre one; and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a great one. What makes them important, in his eyes, is that “they spurred uncomfortable but essential conversations.” Here, he’s practicing the echo-chamber mode of criticism: the movies are crucial because they spark “conversations,” they spark conversations because they address issues that are deemed crucial. He considers these movies—unlike those he’s seen this year—to be important, and his criterion for their importance is that they’re politically relevant, not that they’re of aesthetic value. What’s more, he measures political relevance by counting clicks.

Ultimately, democratic politics are a numbers game. Politics are what concern everyone, which is why “everyone” (i.e., those who create the “online chatter” and the “countless essays and arguments” by which Raftery measures importance) talks about politics. Art, by contrast, is what concerns one person, intimately. Culture is a matter of power; art is a matter of beauty. It’s also a matter of freedom—of spiritual freedom, of free-spiritedness—and so it’s also political, though not in any immediately recognizable way and, above all, not in any way that lends itself to the think-piece brand of discourse. The power of beauty, the impact of beauty on a single person, eludes discussion and invites silence, even as it incites something radically different from analysis: ecstasy. That’s the force behind the side of criticism that, if it’s any good at all, converges with the work of art by being itself a literary, poetic, philosophical inspiration.

This is why much of the best art has always been a niche phenomenon, and why, when great art is popular, it’s often due to a fortuitous accident, and the artist often punished the next time around (as happened when Terrence Malick followed “The Tree of Life” with “To the Wonder” and “Knight of Cups,” and as I hope won’t happen with Scorsese’s next movie, “Silence”). That’s all the truer now with movies, because the role of the studios and of wide releases has diminished. The possibility of making films independently and on a low budget is greater than ever, at exactly the moment that studios, following the lead of television, have turned their movies mainly into political allegories and statements precisely calculated to leap to the front pages and the op-ed section.

At the same time, the democratization of criticism online has had a crucial and positive effect on cinematic events. Today, there’s both more and better film criticism than ever; as a result, it’s less likely than ever that an extraordinary movie will go utterly unnoticed or be dismissed. But the breadth of a film’s distribution and its box-office take are no more measures of its merit than is the quantity of online discussion that it inspires. It’s common knowledge that, for “Lemonade,” Beyoncé derived inspiration from, and made reference to, Julie Dash’s great 1991 feature “Daughters of the Dust,” which, despite its generally favorable reception at the time of its release, is the only theatrical feature that Dash has made. “Lemonade” also alludes to Khalik Allah’s bold and inventive documentary “Field Niggas.” Allah is also one of the cinematographers on “Lemonade,” yet his feature film was hardly released at all; in New York, it only played for one week at the IFP Media Center, in Brooklyn. “Daughters of the Dust” has taken in only 1.6 million dollars at the box office during the past quarter century. (It will have a welcome and long-overdue rerelease in November.) Beyoncé’s allusions to “Daughters of the Dust” and “Field Niggas” don’t make them better or more important films—those of us who have seen and love those movies don’t need external confirmation of the experience. Rather, the references make “Lemonade” better and more important. Beyoncé didn’t need voluminous online chatter to be moved and inspired by Dash’s and Allah’s work; she had an experience of her own, and the intensity of that experience comes through in her own work.

Is this year in movies, as Raftery asserts, the “Worst. Year. Ever.”? I think it’s been a terrific year so far, with a long list of remarkable new movies already released. With the New York Film Festival coming up, along with the packed fall season and year-end releases, the list is likely to get much longer very soon. A year as a measure of film releases is an odd artifice—production and distribution are cyclical, and this is a year featuring no new releases by some of the best Hollywood or off-Hollywood directors, such as Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Spike Lee, David Fincher, and Paul Thomas Anderson. But other luminaries, including Martin Scorsese and James Gray, have movies coming up; so do notable independent filmmakers, including Barry Jenkins and Matías Piñeiro. When, a quarter century from now, a pop-music visionary refers to “Men Go to Battle” or “For the Plasma” or “Krisha” or “Viktoria” or “Kate Plays Christine” or another under-the-radar low-budget film of imagination and ingenuity, woe unto the critics who were here at the time and didn’t pay attention.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on September 01, 2016, 04:21:01 AM
But hold the door: For once, it’s not just television usurping film’s glory. Who would have predicted, for example, that a Broadway musical that 99 percent of the population hasn’t even been able to see (Hamilton) would cause such a worldwide stir, sir? Or that the summer’s biggest franchise hit would play out not in movie theaters, but among the sidewalks and city parks, where the Pokémon Go faithful congregate like so many Squirtles? Or that a four-minute clip of a woman putting on a Chewbacca mask in a parking lot would be greeted with nearly as much hysteria as the trailer for a new Star Wars movie?

Okay hadn’t seen this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=746JM9H-wc8

I agree, best movie 2016


The principal quality of quality TV has proven to be its ability to generate discourse—not just on the part of critics and viewers but on the part of journalists. As particular series, and television over all, became the subjects of widespread public discussion—discussion in the literal sense, of writers and viewers responding to each other—that discussion became news. Suddenly, television was propelled from the arts page to the front page, and that trend was accelerated by the nature of the shows. Their emphasis on stories and characters involving iconic phenomena in cultural history and hot-button issues of contemporary sociology and politics grabbed—and still grabs—hold of journalists’ nose for stories. Many series seem to exist only to present topics in ready-to-debate form; they are built to give rise to “think pieces,” which have become the dominant, if easily parodied, critical mode.

The experience that the watching and the critique of new serial television resemble above all is the college experience. Binge-watching is cramming, and the discussions that are sparked reproduce academic habits: What It Says About, What It Gets Right About, What It Gets Wrong About. There is a lot of aboutness but very little being; lots of puzzle-like assembling of information to pose particular kinds of questions (posing questions—sounds like a final exam), to explore particular issues (sounds like a term paper). For these reasons, television’s actual competition isn’t movies or museums or novels but nonfiction books, documentary films, journalism, radio discussions, and general online clicking. Serial television is designed to gratify the craving for facts to piece together and analyze. The medium seems created for the media buzz that’s generated by the media people who are its natural audience, and to whom the shows owe their acclaim, their prestige, and their success.

[...]

Raftery displays the skewed results of this trend when he cites three recent movies that strike him as “culturally crucial”: “Straight Outta Compton,” a good movie; “Inside Out,” a mediocre one; and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a great one. What makes them important, in his eyes, is that “they spurred uncomfortable but essential conversations.” Here, he’s practicing the echo-chamber mode of criticism: the movies are crucial because they spark “conversations,” they spark conversations because they address issues that are deemed crucial. He considers these movies—unlike those he’s seen this year—to be important, and his criterion for their importance is that they’re politically relevant, not that they’re of aesthetic value.

Politics are what concern everyone, which is why “everyone” (i.e., those who create the “online chatter” and the “countless essays and arguments” by which Raftery measures importance) talks about politics. Art, by contrast, is what concerns one person, intimately.

This is so dead on. SO dead on. He said it. That's the meaningful distinction, right there. The mic drop.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on September 02, 2016, 06:24:25 PM
Stranger Things and the Problem of “Plotblocking”
By Andrew Matthews
via The Talk House

Writer-director Andrew Matthews on Netflix's smash hit series and a worrisome trait of that and a number of other binge-worthy shows.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Film is dead. You hear that a lot as an independent filmmaker. And of course, when people say that, what they mean is that a certain type of film is dead: mid-range budget, neither franchise nor arthouse — most of my favorite films and the films that started me (and probably a lot of other filmmakers) down this path, fall into that spectrum. So as the era of the mid-range movie fades away, the supposed rewards of the micro-budget struggle becomes increasingly unclear.

But as they say, when God closes a door, he opens a window, and that window is episodic content. Yes, television is the new promised land, and everyone’s making the pilgrimage: writers, actors, financiers. “So if you want a real career,” the current wisdom goes, “take that feature script you can’t get made and upcycle it into a series treatment.” Many of my filmmaker friends are doing just that — and why not? With so many new platforms looking for shows, they’re practically giving them away!

Yes, I’ve written a few treatments myself, but I’m still skeptical. The pessimist in me would like to point out that I can think of more indie directors helming tentpole blockbusters than TV shows, but mainly it’s because I don’t think the formats are all that closely related. A good TV show is successful for very different reasons than a good film, and taking a genre from one and applying it to the other can be like trying to stretch a twin sheet onto a king mattress.

Case in point: Stranger Things. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the show has so many supporters. The cast and production design are terrific, and I confess the recreation of the early Spielbergian aesthetic is seductive. I’m not opposed to nostalgia per se, but like any audience bias, it can be exploited. Shows such as Stranger Things and FX’s Fargorecognize that there’s a reservoir of goodwill out there that can be tapped and transferred onto new properties. But there’s one huge aspect of Spielberg’s brilliance that Stranger Things doesn’t (or perhaps can’t) recreate: structure and pacing.

Spielberg’s classics are actually very simple stories. They’re emotionally broad and fiercely economic. Every shot moves the story forward and nothing goes to waste. If you’re staying loyal to the conventions, you can’t stretch that 90 minutes into more than 300 without some serious padding and repetition.

How many times do we have to see the cool guy seduce the nerdy girl? How many times will Eleven use a radio to prove Will is still alive, or guide the boys into the woods and back again, with no new information to show for it? Why do you think people complained that Winona Ryder’s weeping became tiresome? Because she was asked to perform the same emotion over and over again. Besides being frustrating, these repetitions actually dilute important moments. How much more exciting would it have been when the sheriff and Joyce infiltrate the evil government lab if we hadn’t already seen him do it before? He even makes a joke about using the same method.

Besides having a longer running time than a movie, episodic content has the additional challenge of a non-captive audience. There’s a freedom in delivering a whole story in one sitting. You know that short of walking out of the theatre in disgust, moviegoers will absorb everything you have to show them. Episodic creators don’t have that assurance, which can lead to all sorts of awkward tactics to keep them coming back.

When Jonathan finally finds proof that his mother isn’t crazy, he rushes home to have that emotional reunion we’ve been waiting for — but his dad stops him. “Don’t bother her right now. She’s been through a lot.” I call that “plotblocking.” (Jonathan’s dad is an expert plotblocker.) Jonathan doesn’t grow or change to overcome this obstacle. He just literally tells her later. What purpose can that serve other than to make us wait for what we want to see?

Delay of audience gratification has been a staple of episodic storytelling for a long time, but no show advanced the practice more than the grandfather of plotblocking, Lost. No matter how well-written the various flashbacks often were, the writers knew that what kept us hooked was the mystery of the island — and that storyline was illiberally meted out like capfuls of water to a thirsty man. Just enough to keep us alive. I’ve actually found that the shows that are the most “binge-worthy” are the most narratively stingy. You start each new episode almost out of frustration, hoping it will deliver a morsel of satisfaction, an inch of forward progress.

Near the finale of Breaking Bad, Walter White confesses that all the cruelty and criminality was selfish: “I did it for me. I liked it.” He may as well have been speaking for the audience, because a central draw of that show was seeing this character evolve into a ruthless badass. But for every two steps forward in his transformation, there was one step back. How many times did Walter swear off the meth business only to be cajoled or seduced back? Did any of us believe he ever meant it?

So well-stoked was that furnace of frustration that actress Anna Gunn received volumes of hate mail and even death threats for her portrayal of Walter’s disapproving spouse, Skyler. While there were surely some ugly gender politics at play, it can’t help that her character often functioned as a major agent of obstruction to the plot development the audience eagerly desired.

(It’s important to note that female characters have long been employed as “plotblockers” by both film and TV writers, whether it’s the scold who tries to stop the boys’ fun or the damsel in distress who just can’t see that the hero is well-intentioned and trying to help. But that’s a whole other essay in itself.)

Harrowing shows such as The Walking Dead often place transitions, commercials and episode breaks at the height of the action. Cliffhangers are nothing new, I know, and running seams through crests rather than troughs can have its own kind of impact, but at what cost? Two of the most memorable action sequences from recent TV, the “Red Wedding” from Game of Thrones and True Detective’s one-take escape from the projects, did not leave their locations once they started, and both had audiences completely riveted. Although, I will admit, those audiences were probably less inclined to immediately queue up the next episode.

Indeed, my favorite shows are hard to binge. After each episode of The People vs. O.J. Simpson, my wife and I had to talk for at least an hour about what we had just seen, the material was so dense, the social ramifications so fascinating, and each chapter’s structure so satisfyingly self-contained. A good show leaves you sated, even exhausted, with a lot to think about before you dive back in.

One of the rare complaints I hear against Stranger Things is that the mythology could have been more developed. After all, they certainly had the time to give us more detail about what the “upside-down” is, or what the monster wanted, or how telepathy works in this universe. But on the other hand, that might stray too far from the genre it imitates. We never learn E.T.’s real name, or the name of his planet, or what his people were doing on Earth in the first place. What we now call “world-building” was far less important to the genre than emotional arc.

This is where Stranger Things’ loyalty to its influence limits its use of one advantage episodic content has over film: language. If film is visual storytelling, television is verbal. As much cinematic spectacle has been poured into Game of Thrones, it’s still 99 percent people standing in rooms talking to one another. A silent film can make a poetic statement about the human condition, but if you want to delve into the intricacies of history or institutions (or extra-dimensional worlds), you need words, and a lot of them. That’s where television’s extra minutes pay off, and why the best examples of the format are usually about politics, law, media, and social order. It’s why Pride and Prejudice the miniseries beats the pants off the film adaptations, why a two-hour telling of the O.J. Simpson trial wouldn’t be worth making, and why even Oscar-winning dramas likeSpotlight feel like abridged versions of history compared to what TV can accomplish.

I marvel at what great showrunners are capable of. Writers such as David Chase and David Simon have upended expectations rather than pandering to them, created new genres rather than imitating old ones. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to manage so many moving parts, do justice to such volumes of detail, while remaining relevant to the audience of that moment in time. I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to figure out what makes a film work, and I still feel like I have a long way to go. I’m not ready to abandon that journey quite yet for a whole new toolset. Perhaps someday all our stories will be delivered episodically, but for now, I still think there’s an emotional experience that can only be had in a self-contained 90-minute form. After all, one from 30 years ago is still inspiring new generations of creators.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on September 02, 2016, 11:15:01 PM
Yes! I absolutely agree. This problem drove me crazy with Stranger Things, and I had no idea why everyone wasn't more frustrated by it.

The character contributes nothing to the story, except to cause perpetual delays.

And that's what I really struggled with. Throughout most of the middle episodes, especially 4 through 7, the writers find every possible way to halt the plot or even move it backwards. It is absolutely maddening at times.

The thing is, it still worked on me. I watched the whole thing in 2-3 days. This is a truly pernicious trend.

The Walking Dead completely stalled out in Season 2, and yet its popularity only exploded. Why? How?

I wonder if it has to do with the fallacy of sunk costs. It feels better to keep watching in hopes that the show will turn around (which TWD periodically does). It feels pretty terrible to cut your losses and get out (http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=13333.msg344228#msg344228), even when you know it's good for you.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on September 15, 2016, 04:34:23 PM
Harvey Weinstein Isn’t Alone: Why Independent Film Distributors Are Taking a Beating
By Graham Winfrey
via IndieWire

The game has changed for distributors like The Weinstein Company and others that are scrambling to adapt to the turbulent times for indie film.

The Toronto International Film Festival is the starting gate for fall acquisitions, but for buyers the greatest challenge isn’t their competitors; it’s a target audience that can’t be roused from their couches. That means indie distributors must amend their strategies — if not rewrite them altogether.

“A movie that tests 75 doesn’t warrant a theatrical release in the current marketplace,” said one indie studio executive. “Filmmakers are going to have to be okay with going to Netflix, and only Netflix.”

To that point, Netflix bought SVOD rights to Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Bad Batch” after its Venice Film Festival premiere — but theatrical remains available as it goes into TIFF. Netflix tends to reserve its theatrical platforms for awards titles. Without streaming rights, “The Bad Batch” would have to find a buyer who’s satisfied with only theatrical and DVD revenue.

That’s especially tough in a market where high-quality home entertainment is only one challenge among many. As mobile-loving millennials become consumers, arthouse interest dwindles. Deep-pocketed digital players like Amazon and Netflix outbid traditional distributors, making it even harder to acquire indie films that attract an audience.

For documentary distributor Abramorama, staying ahead means concentrating on films that have a passionate, built-in audience; when it comes to the marketing, they’ve already done much of the hard work.

“We say that we focus on ‘tribal’ films, hence our interest in music films and social issue films, where there are audiences that are identifiable and committed,” said president Richard Abramowitz, who recently acquired U.S. theatrical rights to Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.” “For us it’s really been about [finding] films where we can readily define the audience and be as certain as one can be that we can motivate them and convert their interest into ticket sales.”

Broad Green Pictures will head the other way. Launched two years ago by Wall Street billionaires Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, the indie studio released small, well-reviewed titles like “I Smile Back” and “99 Houses” to underwhelming box office. Broad Green laid off five people in July, and head of distribution Travis Reid resigned shortly afterward. Now, they’re preparing for the release of in-house production “Bad Santa 2” and declaring a focus on commercial movies for broader audiences.

The Weinstein Company will attempt its own pivot, in yet another direction. They’ve done the indie studio route; from 2010-2015, they topped $200 million every year at the domestic box office. However, in the last 12 months they laid off 50 people and saw the departures of RADiUS founders Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, distribution president Erik Lomis, acquisitions head Dan Guando, publicity head Dani Weinstein, and senior VP marketing Spencer Peeples.

Meanwhile, TWC’s four 2016 releases — “Hands of Stone,” “Jane Got a Gun,” “Regression,” and “Sing Street” — generated just $9 million combined. The upcoming “Lion” starring Dev Patel, and “The Founder” starring Michael Keaton, have box-office and awards potential, but that’s not a business plan.

So, what now? A source with knowledge of the situation says TWC will relaunch the dormant RADiUS in the next 90 days as the company’s official VOD arm — a pigeonholing that Quinn fought when he ran the division — and will work with cable operators on geo-targeting to analyze consumer viewing habits. (TWC declined to comment.)

Beyond that, however, TWC will be cutting back on the movie business. Harvey Weinstein told Variety last year that he wants the company to earn roughly half of its revenue from TV, and will cut the theatrical release slate from 20 movies to about eight.

That’s a seismic shift for a company that helps drive the independent film industry, but the stakes are high. British independent distributor Metrodome, which released “Tangerine” last year and still has “Personal Shopper” on its 2016 slate, filed for bankruptcy protection in August. “It’s just a clear indication of the marketplace where those high-end, niche art films just aren’t working globally,” said Marcus Hu, co-founder of independent distributor Strand Releasing. “Territories aren’t buying those kinds of movies anymore.”

Strand’s strategy is similar to Abramorama’s, focusing on features where there is an identifiable audience, such as writer-director Catherine Corsini’s 2015 film “Summertime,” about a romance between two women in Paris in the 1970s. “We know that Francophiles will come out for it and we know a certain LGBT audience will turn out for it,” Hu said. “We know the marketplace from having done their previous films.”

Strand has adapted to market conditions by working closely with Netflix and iTunes to get its titles out digitally after completing a theatrical release. “I’m very much a believer in still trying to get things to go theatrical,” Hu said. “It’s still the best way to generate publicity and press for the films.”

However, VOD may be the best way for most people to see those films. As for the financial return, we still have to rely on iTunes charts and anecdotal reports to get a sense of how they perform. Still, IFC Films/Sundance Selects president Jonathan Sehring suggests “dumping a film on VOD” may be an unkind way to characterize a potentially lucrative strategy for generating ancillary revenue.

“You’re going to look at the box office on ‘Pele’ and say, ‘That movie didn’t work,’ and we’re all going to be sitting here with huge grins on our faces saying, ‘That movie has worked extremely well,’” Sehring said, pointing to the performance of IFC title “Pele: Birth of a Legend.” The biopic earned $50,000 at the domestic box office.

For Zeitgeist Films co-founder Nancy Gerstman, staying alive in the independent distribution business may come down to managing expectations. Now approaching its 30th anniversary, Zeitgeist continues to distribute foreign-language films and documentaries, but limits its slate to just five films per year. “It’s very tough out there right now,” Gerstmann said, adding that controlling costs may be the most important strategy for any company trying to adapt. “That’s basically how we’ve been able to stay in business all these years–we’re able to spend appropriately.”

Starting Thursday, the same cast of characters from the distribution world will converge upon Toronto for the 41st year of TIFF, but the environment in which they’re trying to distribute films looks much different than in years past. The movies from the fest that manage to find a home, whether in theaters or on VOD or both, will serve as the first clue as to what the new normal looks like.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on November 21, 2016, 05:30:00 PM
Europe’s Digital Single Market: What You Need To Know & How It Could Kill The Indie Biz
By Diana Lodderhose
November 21, 2016
via Deadline

(http://i.imgur.com/Y6YgyuR.jpg)

Independent film financing has never been a walk in the park and a lukewarm American Film Market earlier this month coupled with an age of political, digital and economic uncertainty mean the preselling game has become more challenging than ever.

But if there’s one thing that could kill off the entire indie business as we know it, it’s a series of regulations that are being mulled over in Europe right now with regard to the European Commission’s strategy for a Digital Single Market. Indeed, it’s a complex issue but at its beating heart lies a very dangerous prospect for the future of the entire audio-visual sector, which threatens to dismantle territory-by-territory licensing in Europe.

What is the Digital Single Market?

“Within Brussels, they think this is a wonderfully populist and popular announcement to make,” says David Garrett, founder and CEO of international sales company Mister Smith. “But this is Trumpism or Brexitism at its worst – selling the idea of freely available content across Europe without anyone understanding the repercussions of making that available is putting everything in the hands of large corporations that can control content across the board. It’s frankly insane.”

In November 2014, the European Commission announced plans to introduce a Digital Single Market for the continent which, on the surface, was painted as a utopian ideal that fell in line with the original purpose of the European Union: to encourage trade between member states, remove barriers and encourage free movement of goods, services and people. EC President Jean-Clause Junker said it was time to remove digital barriers, reform copyright and prevent “unjustified” geo-blocking. Junker, who has made DSM one of his main objectives for Europe’s 2020 Strategy, said last year: “I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe.”

In May 2015, the EC published a 16-point policy plan under three pillars, which it had said it hoped to achieve by the end of 2016. Fortunately, it looks set to miss the mark on that timetable but things are still moving, and fast.

Specifically, proposals within the strategy that look to directly affect the audio-visual sector the most are:


Parallel to DSM, in January 2014 the EC opened an investigation into restrictions affecting cross-border provision of pay-TV services, examining whether agreements between the six major Hollywood studios and pay-TV operators were anti-competitive and hindered the completion of the single market. The Commission argued that the companies’ licensing deals with Sky prevented unsolicited “passive sales” of Sky’s UK pay-TV services to customers beyond the broadcaster’s licensed territory. So, in a sense, if a person in Germany or France wants to access Sky content, Sky would be obliged to refuse them access to Hollywood titles as far as licensing materials.

But in July this year, without waiting for the outcome of the inquiry, Paramount was the first one to break rank and settled the EU allegations by signing an agreement that they would not enforce Sky from making passive sales. It dodged antitrust fines and committed to five years of concessions, meaning Paramount will not introduce broadcaster obligations that prevent or limit a pay-TV broadcaster from responding to unsolicited requests from consumers within the licensed territory.

Other studios have not entered into similar agreements but this move from Paramount is important because it sets a precedent. Many are concered that if the Commission has been successful in that case, it may feel emboldened to go further and say that any form of territorial exclusivity is contradictory to the single market.

What are the dangers?

Firstly, it’s important to note that regulations only have to be vetted by the Council and various members of state and European Parliament but, unlike a directive, which has to also go through national Parliaments for adoption, it goes straight to the bloodstream of the European legal system.

That said, most industry veterans agree that there is an argument to be had for portability of legally acquired content insomuch as if a consumer purchases Netflix, Amazon Prime or pays for Sky Sport, he or she should be able to watch that service (from its country of origin) when traveling around Europe. The EC’s Vice President Andrus Ansip, an Estonian who is spearheading DSM, has even expressed hatred of geo-blocking of programs because it prevents him from watching Estonian football in Brussels. The proposed portability regulation is currently being vetted and is expected to be adopted in Spring 2017.

But it’s the proposal to abolish geo-blocking broadcaster’s catch-up operations that looks set to become the most fatal to the business.

“It’s like Chinese water torture,” says Jean Prewitt, President and CEO of Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA). “When you look across the full spectrum of proposals, it’s terrifying. Each proposal has a lot of detail and it looks to me as if the Commission is attempting to do two different things, which operate together: Firstly, limit the ability of copyright holders to license content, whether it’s film or television, on a territorial exclusive basis, and secondly, which we are finding increasingly difficult to justify, is the persistent taking pieces of our rights, such as the ancillary online services of broadcast and catch-up rights.”

Today (Monday) Ministers of Culture from all 28 European Union Member States meet in Brussels to discuss the proposed regulation which seeks to remove territoriality of online broadcast services, such as simulcast and catch-up.

What this means, for example, is that if you are financing a British film and sold the free-TV rights to the BBC in the UK and their catch-up rights meant it would be available throughout all of Europe, selling the title to foreign buyers would become increasingly challenging because there would be no value in their TV rights. With indies having to dig deep to buy rights and release projects theatrically as is, only to take a small share on theatrical, and with DVD value dropping dramatically, TV often backs up the purchase. With this piece of the pie out of the equation, the international sales model would simply collapse.

“Film distributors invest millions of pounds, dollars and Euros in effectively adapting a film for their territory,” says Garrett. “They translate it, market it, and create vast amounts of advertising for titles and they deserve to reap the rewards of promoting a title in their territory if they can. If these regulations come into place, we can’t finance these independent titles and it would completely destroy our business and the business of companies such as ours. We bring a lot of revenue into the country by licensing American movies, and this would create, in effect, huge unemployment and huge loss of revenues.”

Prewitt adds: “It’s a redefinition of what we as rights holders can control and it’s taking a right that, as filmmakers, we need to be able to control to be able to understand how to best exploit existing programming and in order to get the most remuneration. We really find a lack of willingness from the Commission to understand the finance model and there is a lack of letting us, as an industry, find out how to adapt our historic ways of doing business.”

Bertrand Moullier, owner of Narval Media, a London-based firm that advises on competition strategies, says a regulation abolishing license rights for non-linear catch-up would undo a complex architecture in pre-licensing sales, creating havoc where the financing economy of film is concerned.

“How the hell do indies work out their windows and overheads if anyone’s iPlayer is open to the rest of Europe all the time?” he says. “You can’t control your exclusivity so the value of the rights goes down. The big studios may not care as much, because they can do day-and-date and, in their own way, the risk is minimal. But it does mean that the indies can’t make this work.”

Also, worryingly, the EC has yet to offer up estimates of the economic impact this regulation could have. Alice Enders, an analyst at Enders Analysis, says “there’s no doubt that there is an absence of any economic assessment impact and the fact that it sort of disturbs the core logic of financing and pre-financing model.”

Who stands to be affected the most?

Undoubtedly, it’s the indies who will suffer but Hollywood will also feel the burn of the proposals. English-language programs and films that premiere in the UK will be affected enormously because it will mean that the rising number of people who can access English-language content comfortably, are not going to wait.

“If someone knows the next episode of Downton Abbey is available on catch-up, why wouldn’t they watch it?” asks Moullier. “It would clip away the UK presales system unless they find a way for usable holdbacks.”

Additionally, the non-English language marketplace would be hugely disadvantaged in the short run. “English is the one language you can imagine being exploited throughout Europe but I would be concerned as to exactly how local broadcasters or distributors who are suddenly trying to meet demands for cross-border availability will be able to gear up their system,” says Prewitt. “Will broadcasters help them?”

Ultimately, however, it will mean an increase in market power of huge, multinational companies such as Google, Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Hollywood majors and the big broadcasters. “I always thought the promise of new technologies for independents was increased stability to find your own market place sweet spot and to be able to use the new technologies to find that market in a cost-effective way,” says Prewitt. “All these moves ultimately seem to lead to is increased market power to people doing mass distribution.”

The consumer also stands to lose big in this situation. Less ability to finance films equals less choice for the consumer. Films that relied heavily on pre-sales for financing like The King’s Speech and The Imitation Game and programs like The Night Manager and Poldark become increasingly difficult to get made.

“I think it will maintain very successful content for a very small amount of aristocracies that can afford to go day-and-date across Europe while rest of us will get squeezed out,” says Moullier. “We’re going to see a tremendous impoverishment on the offer of content and geo-blocking means we will see a concentration in the marketplace for the Palo Alto companies in the universe.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on December 28, 2016, 06:02:25 PM
Quality of the show aside, this interview speaks a lot to The State of Things

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Bret Easton Ellis Gets Extremely Candid About His New Fullscreen Series ‘The Deleted’
By Scott Porch Dec 28, 2016
via Decider

(http://i.imgur.com/mH08bQu.jpg)

The first shot in the new Fullscreen series The Deleted pans up from the gentle waves of the Pacific Ocean to a row of beach houses. The second shot is a hot young couple having NC-17 sex on a bare mattress in one of those beach houses. By the end of the first episode, there will be more NC-17 sex, a kidnapping, text messaging, a creepy cult, the L.A. skyline, and lots of lingering shots of perfect bare asses of barely 18s with names like Parker and Agatha.

The series is about — oh, come on, you neither care nor need to know the plot. The Deleted is broody, sexy, high-gloss, millennial TV. It’s pitched for a very specific audience. You know who you are. (Here’s a hint: Indiewire’s review called it “a softcore porn thriller for teens.” In the headline.)

Bret Eaton Ellis, who directed all eight episodes, knows the territory. Now 52 years old, he wrote Less Than Zero — a debut novel about disaffected, sexually adventurous college kids in Hollywood — in 1985 when he was himself a 21-year-old college student. In the three decades since, Ellis has returned often to that world in books (The Rules of Attraction, The Informers), a film (The Canyons) and in a series of film shorts that were the source material for The Deleted.

Decider caught up with Ellis for a revealing conversation about his Fullscreen series, the decline of indie film and the state of his career.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FHS2NC3oOY


DECIDER: One of the things I thought about a lot watching The Deleted is how Fullscreen is a mobile-first distributor that’s now growing on TV platforms. Did you spend a lot of time talking to your cinematographer about how a scene would play on a 60-inch HD vs. on a 4-inch iPhone?

BRET EASTON ELLIS: It was the No. 1 thing we talked about, and it was one of the most important thing we wanted to figure out. We talked about how to make it look cinematic and not like a web series, how to make it look as good as premium cable. We realized it would be a mistake to pay too much attention to formatting the series for a phone and that we should shoot as cinematically as possible. We really wanted to make the colors pop in post-production — not saturated, exactly, but making the blues bluer and the greens greener. We watched it a lot on iPhones and iPads and laptops while we were editing, and we chose shots that we thought worked best on smaller formats.

One thing I expected as shows have started to be made for a big range of screen sizes is that the rules for smaller formats — simpler composition and flatter color schemes — would necessarily set the rules for everything, and that really hasn’t happened.

You can watch things on your iPhone and people do that all the time — something like 80 percent of our audience for The Deleted will watch on smartphones — but Fullscreen and I both wanted something that looks different than everything else that’s out there. That meant a lot of masters and wide shots and fewer closeups like you usually get on a web series. And we didn’t do any handheld work at all. I couldn’t change my aesthetic to fit into a web mold, and Fullscreen and I were on the same page with that.

You use a lot of tracking shots — particularly in the first episode — shot from behind characters’ backs. Was that a design choice or something about making those characters more closed and opaque?

It was all of that. The DPs and I storyboarded out and spent a lot of time planning those shots because we had 14 days to shoot 110 pages of script. We wanted to introduce characters by having the camera follow them, and shooting from behind their backs was kind of a thematic thing.

With Fullscreen having a fairly young audience, what was the discussion about depicting sex and nudity? How did you navigate whether a 15-year-old or a 20-year-old was the target audience?

The Deleted is based on a series of shorts I made a few years ago that Fullscreen had seen. They wanted make that into a series, and the first thing we had to do was age it down. The people in the shorts were in their thirties. It was pretty sexual, and Fullscreen liked that. They asked me to age it down knowing that it was going to be NSFW material. I showed one of the scripts to the producers before we sent it to Fullscreen, and they said, “This is too much sex, and it’s kind dirty.” So I took it out. When Fullscreen got the script, they said, “Where’s the sex and nudity? We’re competing against premium cable.” The actors knew coming into the auditions that there would be nudity, though Nash Grier was not up for doing nudity.

Have you had much feedback of what age group is watching the series?

I can only tell from Twitter and Facebook. Part of the reason Fullscreen liked the fact that I was attracted to the idea of using Nash Grier is that he has so many eyes on social media — something like 15 million or 20 million when you add Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and everything else together, so he’s really been an engine for promoting the show. I don’t have numbers from Fullscreen, and it’s hard to get numbers. I do a podcast for PodcastOne, and it’s like pulling teeth to get download numbers. I sold The Canyons to IFC knowing I’d never get numbers from them.

Are you planning to recut these from quarter-hour to half-hour for Fullscreen to syndicate for TV?

I don’t know. There has been some talk about dropping the credits and putting it together as a movie, which would be about an hour and 40 minutes. I’m fine with it the way it is now.

How do you think about that coming from features for Less Than Zero and American Psycho? Was shorter episodes something you had to come around to or something you embraced from the beginning?

I definitely embraced it. Content malleable. TV has changed the way we look at movies for example. I find myself impatient with movies now because they seem to offer too little information compared to an eight-hour TV season where you can follow a person and get a better understanding of his relationships.

Would The Deleted have worked as a feature film?

I approached it as a whole season in an hour and 40 minutes. I’ve written pilots for Lionsgate and HBO that were that long. The notion of a season of a show being an hour and forty minutes led me the idea of it as a movie divided into eight parts, so I approached it that way rather than as a web series. It’s not doable as a movie today. I’d have had to raise $2 million to make a movie that would never get theatrical distribution and would get lost on VOD with no promotion. No one would see it. Fullscreen, which has deals with AT&T and DirecTV, is at least attempting to promote this on a level that a theatrical film wouldn’t get.

You talk about an eight-hour series as a more expansive, more satisfying way of exploring a story than a two-hour film. How is a short-form series not that much worse?

You have to look at the budget we had and the time we had to shoot it. There are things I had to take into consideration about a web series — the budget, the time we had, the youth of the actors — those things would all be very different for an eight-hour TV series or an actual movie. So we had to acclimate ourselves to the idea that these are eight 12- to 13-minute movies that should hold their own on some level. This was not like making a movie and was not like making a TV series. The form dictated what we could do. We didn’t have eight hours to investigate these people and this world, so we had to take that into consideration.

The Deleted looks like a film. How did you approach that coming from features to digital video?

My DPs are in their 40s. Our references weren’t TV shows; our references were movies. We talked about cinematographers like Vilmos Szigmond [Close Encounters of the Third Kind] and Raoul Coutard, who worked with Godard. It wasn’t television. When you look at projects created by a lot of millennials, there’s a lot of — I wouldn’t say carelessness — but there’s a DIY aesthetic. It’s not their fault, necessarily, but it is what it is. It’s: Let’s just get it out there. Let’s just get the Vine out there. Let’s get the YouTube video out there. And it’s threadbare visually. It’s a generational difference.

We called in a lot of favors. We had use of a Chapman crane for about eight days of shooting, and we built the crane shots we wanted around that. Fullscreen wasn’t going to pay for that. It was a favor we got, and we gave the guy who had access to the crane an associate producer credit. We also did that with the Steadicam guy, who we also only had for eight or nine days. It all comes down to your sensibility and the talent level. You can have the greatest technology in the world, and it doesn’t matter if you have nothing to say.

Did you have any concerns about getting overwhelmed with directing all eight episodes as a first-time director and also producing the series?

Very much so. We moved from pre-production into production, and it just happened. The train takes off, and you’re on it. I really liked doing it. You make a show three times — the first time by writing it, the second time by shooting it, and you really make it the third time by editing it. Editing is where the show came together.

How much did you learn while you were shooting? Did you learn things on Day 2 that you were able to use on Day 5?

I had directed a couple of commercials in Europe. I directed a Persol ad and an ad for the Paris Opera, and I had made these digital shorts. I had been on a lot of film sets and thought I knew a lot as a cinephile, but I found myself asking the stupidest questions. The most important person is the first assistant director, who really whips everything into shape.

Was this a one-off experiment, or do you want to do more short-form work like this?

I don’t know. It’s a good question, and I’m not sure. You have to make a living. Whatever we were paid for The Deleted can take care of you for a couple of months, I suppose, but no one was really doing this for the money. I’m sure the crew liked having the jobs, but the producers, the actors and myself were doing this to see where it would go. Ideally, you’d like to make a living doing this. If there was a second season, I’d be very interested in it.

I have a problem with the idea of movies right now. I have a lot of movie projects in development, but I don’t know how excited about them I am anymore. A couple of them, maybe their time has passed. I don’t know how viable they are financially, where ten years ago they may have been on the indie circuit. I’m not sure if I’m drawn to theatrical films.

Are you interested in doing more TV?

People who have seen The Deleted have approached me about doing some stuff. I haven’t found the right thing. I haven’t come up with the right material yet. One production company wants me to do another short-form series. They’re ready to write a check, and I can’t figure out what it is. I’m still exploring it. I do think this is where things are heading. Hollywood was more open ten years ago, and there’s the 1 percent making a lot of money. Everyone else is trying to figure out.

I have friends who were A-list screenwriters in the ’90s and in the aughts who were making a great living without having any of their scripts made, and that world is gone now. One of them is selling real estate, and one of them opened a burger joint in Ojai. This is the business. I’m working on a book and getting more serious about pushing the podcast forward, and there are two movie projects that could still turn into something.

If we were having this conversation ten years from now, do you think there will be some people who come out of this social-influencer culture and become big stars, or do you think the traditional routes — film school, UCB — will still be making stars?

I don’t know what world we would be talking about. It’s so fragmented and niche. I have friends who have no idea who Nash Grier is, and he has 20 million fans. Cameron Dallas is another person I wanted to have on the show; he has 10 million Instagram followers and just signed a big deal with Calvin Klein, and a lot of people have no idea who he is. Music is niche; cinema is niche; television is niche. Everyone has their pockets of interest, and the idea of movie stars is kind of a joke to millennials. They want to see Star Wars, but they don’t care who’s in it. The time when we all had the same reference points is gone.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on January 20, 2017, 05:19:35 PM
Annapurna Pictures, Part II: Distribution And Marketing Team In Place As Company Flexes Indie Studio Muscle
via Deadline

Annapurna Pictures now is employing a full marketing and distribution staff as the company expands into truly a mini-studio, reminiscent of Miramax but without the Harvey. It is now financing, marketing and distributing its own product and will be officially in full swing to try to hit Kathryn Bigelow’s Untitled Detroit Project out of the park. Marc Weinstock, who recently joined the company as President, will oversee the new division alongside President of Marketing, David Kaminow and President of Distribution, Erik Lomis.

The division’s efforts will officially launch with the Detroit project, the crime drama set against the backdrop of Detroit’s 1967 riots. Bigelow is producing the film with Annapurna’s Megan Ellison and Matthew Budman. Mark Boal, who penned the script, and Colin Wilson are also producers with Greg Shapiro executive producing. The release date will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the riots.

The film stars an ensemble cast comprised of John Boyega, Chris Chalk, Nathan Davis Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Austin Hébert, Joseph David-Jones, Malcolm David Kelley, John Krasinski, Jacob Latimore, Anthony Mackie, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Ben O’Toole, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, Algee Smith, Peyton Alex Smith, Jeremy Strong, Ephraim Sykes, and Leon Thomas III.

AnnapurnaPictures was founded by Ellison, and the company has garnered 31 Academy Award nominations for her projects in only five years. The company’s taste in quality pictures harkens back to the Miramax days of old, when Harvey and Bob Weinstein always were sitting at the Oscar table. Annapurna’s slate during the past few years has included Zero Dark Thirty, Joy, The Master and Foxcatcher, and the company even received two Best Picture nominations in the same year, with Her and American Hustle.

Their most recent is Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, which stars an Oscar-buzzed about performance from Annette Bening.
Annapurna also partnered with Bigelow on her animated short Last Days, about illegal elephant poaching and the ivory trade, which won the Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award in 2015 for Outstanding Short Film.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on February 15, 2017, 10:58:11 PM
it's playing for one day free at nobudge:

(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/517bf6d5e4b0f470ac8c3e24/t/58a521a6d2b85773b5be496c/1487217067804/?format=300w)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHBIG0JfECM

i didn't turn on my television the entire month of january and i might watch this. on my computer.

here is the nobudge page http://nobudge.com/main/tower

this promotion is related to the theatrical release of this director's new movie, which is this

(http://i.imgur.com/ulI9GpL.jpg?1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPnocN9A26o

[edit] i watched Tower and it was the most recent movie i've seen about a neurotic male who also has egomaniacal tendencies
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on March 16, 2017, 01:38:30 AM
Netflix will explore mobile-specific cuts of its original series
via The Verge

Accommodating for smaller screens

Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said in a briefing today with journalists in San Francisco that the company plans to explore streaming mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows, to satisfy what he said was a growing audience of mobile Netflix watchers.

“It’s not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile,” Hunt said. To date, Netflix hasn’t been delivering different cuts for different viewing platforms, Hunt said, but “it’s something we will explore over the next few years.”

The idea to be would be to create a version of the content with scenes or shots that are more easily visible or immersive on a mobile phone, since certain shots can be hard to see or can appear diminished on a relatively small phone screen.

Hunt, who has been with Netflix since 1999 and is one of the company’s top executives, made the remarks as part of a two-day event at Dolby Laboratories and Netflix’s own headquarters, as the two companies gear up for the launch of Iron Fist. Much of the conversation so far has centered around the series being shot natively in HDR, a method that offers a more dynamic range of colors on the TV or movie screen in front of you. But Hunt, along with Dolby executives, emphasized that HDR isn’t just for big-screen viewing.

It’s been about a year since Netflix became available globally — with the exception of a few markets, including China, and since then it has seen mobile usage soar. In established markets like the US and Canada, most Netflix watching still happens on TVs, Hunt said; but in some Asian countries, especially India, “mobile screens are the majority consumption device.”
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on March 23, 2017, 05:59:59 PM
Studios Eye $30 Premium VOD For Major Releases
via The Playlist

It looks like the window between theatrical release and video on demand may be shrinking, as Variety reports that Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers are “showing greater flexibility with timing.” While most major films are currently available to digitally buy 70 days and rent 90 days after theatrical release, Warner Bros’. CEO Kevin Tsujiihara has expressed interest in shortening that window to 17 days with a $50 rental premium on films.

That $50 premium, however, was seen as too high for Fox and Universal, who would like to have a longer theatrical run, about 30 to 45 days, and a lowered at-home rental cost of $30. Universal, in fact, expressed willingness for a 20 day window on a $30 rental. One company that is not interested is Disney who, with “Star Wars,” Marvel, and their own films, do quite well for longer runs at the box office.

It’s no surprise with the combination of expensive marketing, shrinking home video revenues, and the sometimes short theatrical run of mainstream films, that movie studios would want to close the gap between cinemas and getting movies directly to customers. As Variety points out, it is a cost effective way to run a theatrical and home video marketing plan simultaneously. Additionally, with Netflix, Amazon, HBO and other on-demand services allowing consumers to access content wherever and however they want, film companies are rethinking how best to deliver their films. One thing that will not be changing though is the 90 day window for lower cost rentals and physical copies.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on March 23, 2017, 06:58:10 PM
$30 sounds totally reasonable, as does the 30-45 day delay. In fact, I'd bet that'd shrink once they get a better idea of how much revenue this new tact produces. Just as different studios have different tactics when it comes to the types of films and audiences they cater to, I'd bet we'd see something similar once this becomes the norm - Disney focused more and more on the blockbusters that demand to be see on big screen (that then go to Netflix) and other studios maybe moving into more of those fabled mid-budget adult dramas. Regardless, a good thing.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: polkablues on March 23, 2017, 08:00:32 PM
20-day delay with $30 rental seems like the sweet spot to me. 30 bucks is about or a little less than what you'd spend for two people to go out to the theater, including snacks and whatnot, and three weeks is exactly the length of time for a movie to have been in theaters before I come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to go out and see it in the theater.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on April 10, 2017, 10:52:47 PM
Why Are We So Sure ‘Prestige’ TV Looks Like a 10-Hour Movie?
By Kathryn VanArendonk
via Vulture

At the Los Angeles PaleyFest on Saturday, Jonathan Nolan described writing the second season of Westworld as “a ten-hour movie.” Just a few weeks ago, the showrunners for Game of Thrones noted that they considered their entire series “a 73-hour movie.” It’s a claim that’s become increasingly common in the past several years, and it’s linked to a whole host of related terms about what we should be valuing in TV, and how we define “prestige.” The 10- or 13- or 73-hour-movie idea rises out of the same impulse as “novelistic” TV, or television that treats its episodes as “chapters,” or even from the urge to reframe an entire first season as a “pilot.” While the connotations of those terms may differ slightly, the underlying message is the same — one episode of TV is not enough. To really appreciate what this series is doing, and to really tell a serious, worthwhile, complex, and important story, you can’t judge a single episode. You need lots. Ideally, you can’t fully judge it, can’t weigh its success or value, until you’ve seen all of it.

There are countless ways this is frustrating, many of which have been addressed in the several waves of this particular idea about prestige TV that have cropped up in the past 20 years, and the several matching waves of criticism about them. Many of those critiques focus, correctly, on how frustrating it is that, for some reason, TV can’t stand on its own as a “prestige” narrative. For TV, prestige means getting reframed as something else and basking in the reflected glow of another art form’s cultural currency. This, from Philip Maciak, is one of my favorites: “Why do we need to constantly repackage our broad-scale critiques of art in the form of cage-match battles to the death? Can’t art forms co-exist?”

Even if we set aside the cultural baggage and acclaim that come with terms like “novelistic,” “cinematic,” or “x-hour movie,” even if we can look beyond the “novelistic” = “not-trashy” part of the puzzle, we’re still left with the underlying understanding of what serious, important stories look like — they’re long. They’re complicated, and they require you to pay attention and to hold your judgment. They are not interested in your current pleasure, because good, worthwhile narratives are about delayed gratification. That’s why it doesn’t matter that Westworld’s first season was deliberately, gleefully impossible to parse until you saw the final episode. Nor is it a problem that, as Todd VanDerWerff recently posited on Twitter, Legion’s and True Detective’s first seasons both follow a structure where you have to sit through “cinematic showcase with only minor bearing on the plot” episodes and “breather” episodes before you get to “the one where everything’s explained.” Because this, according to the novelistic, ten-hour-movie theory of TV storytelling, is how you achieve depth and prestige. This is what serious looks like.

There are two pieces to why this is such an irritating and frequently troubling way to think about what constitutes important, worthwhile, serious television. The first is that in emphasizing length and hyperserialized complexity over episodic structure, TV can so easily be bad. Alan Sepinwall has made the case for the episode more than once, writing first in 2015 that series without a strong emphasis on the episode as a worthwhile narrative unit can easily suffer in quality: “those formless units intended as episodes become a real drag: necessary viewing to understand the overall plot, but not interesting viewing in the meantime.” And then again, after the GOT writers described the show as a 73-hour movie, Sepinwall produced a list of questions for TV storytellers, including “Is there a way to structure this episode so that it feels distinct and memorable?” and “Even if someone is going to watch six episodes in one sitting, how can I make this one stand out?”

Sepinwall’s primary point here is a vital one. An episode can either be treated as an artificial barrier that stops one piece of storytelling from flowing smoothly into the next, or it can be greeted as an opportunity, a regular and reliably renewing chance to tell a story, to sketch a theme, or to experiment with form and structure on a self-contained canvas. And if given the opportunity, why wouldn’t you want each episode of your story to be gratifying and meaningful and purposeful in some way, rather just a glorified bookmark? It’s also useful to remember that the best TV of the last decade has proven that the two opposing poles of TV narrative, with “serialized” on one end and “episodic” on the other, are actually an entirely false binary. It’s no mistake that Mad Men, one of the most slow-burn shows imaginable in terms of plot and character development, was also gloriously, reliably, joyfully episodic in how it treated theme and premise. Neither is it a mistake that one of the best shows of the last year, The Good Place, is built on rock-solid episodic footing, and also pulled off a wallop of a twist at the end of its first season. The big-picture narrative and the episode-length structure are frames that support one another, not diverging tasks. It’s not “means to an end” versus “end in and of itself” — it can be both.

So this is the first, more concrete reason why the “ten-hour movie,” “novelistic TV” idea is so insanely frustrating. It almost always sacrifices good storytelling now for the perceived benefit of good storytelling later, and too often results in neither coming true. The second reason goes more to the point of why we’re so insistent that “episodic” TV is less serious, less worthwhile fluff, while our endless slogs through featureless, indistinct stories are the stuff of prestige narrative. It also probably says more about ourselves as viewers than about the TV we’re trying to describe.

Embedded in our assumptions about what “prestige” looks like — assumptions that also tend to include visual darkness (http://www.vulture.com/2016/08/tv-dramas-are-literally-too-dark.html), humorlessness (http://www.vulture.com/2017/03/prestige-tv-signs-youre-watching.html), and incomprehensibility (http://www.vulture.com/2017/03/prestige-tv-signs-youre-watching.html) — is the implicit suggestion that things that are serious must also be hard. I mean “hard” in several senses of the word; serious stories are difficult to grasp, they require time and attention, and they tend to be violent and merciless and unflinching. They are about cold-eyed glances and “hard” truths; they are not about hugs or hope. And so serious stories are also the ones that do not please you right away. They withhold and obfuscate, preferring to dismiss the value of any aesthetic appreciation of the episode right in front of you for some promised payoff down the road. And if you’re impatient or frustrated that a show is taking too long to get to the goods, you’re the problem. You judged it too soon! You can’t say it’s bad because this one episode wasn’t good — you shouldn’t judge it like TV! It’s a novel!

Never mind, of course, that this too often leads to a narrative Ponzi scheme, where the real payoff is always just one more episode or one more season away. Never mind, also, that this is not really how novels or movies work, either. When you read a long novel that takes forever to get to anything gripping or appealing, you don’t retroactively forgive the filler up front. You think, Huh, that really needed more editing.

But especially when it comes to TV, we’re trained to believe that the stories that please us immediately are “trash” or “guilty pleasures,” and so we’re also happy to extend credit to a show that’s constantly kicking the narrative can down the road. A show like One Day at a Time, which deals with identity and immigration and family and posttraumatic stress, and which tells those stories inside immediately accessible, funny, episode-centric pieces, is great, “familiar and fresh,” although a little sitcom trope-y. At the same time, the new season of American Crime, which deals with many of the same questions but which only allows its plot to become clear slowly, and lets details “filter out” slowly, “scene by scene, person by person,” is “brilliant, powerful,” and, by the way, novelistic.

It’s admittedly dumb to put American Crime and One Day at a Time into the same box and have them fight it out for which one is truly “serious” — it reduces all the nuance and distinction of their respective projects, washing away their individual features in an attempt to point out some underlying truth. And nuance, specificity, and complexity are the stuff of serious arguments (and serious television). But there’s no rule that says that brevity, episodic structure, or narrative pleasure is inherently inimical to nuance. Nor is there any reason why a show that makes you slog through an undifferentiated middle is accomplishing anything more powerful or complex than one with tightly edited episodic arcs and a thoughtful serial structure.

We’re sure that long stories, and longform TV, are “prestige.” They challenge us, and reward our intelligence, and require our trust. But this understanding of “prestige” can easily shift into something not so different from a bad boyfriend, one who’s very serious and mysterious and emotionally withholding, and ultimately a little careless of your feelings. He doesn’t bring you flowers on Valentine’s Day because that’s what unserious, clichéd boyfriends would do, and that’s not what he is. He’s important. He’s complex. He’s “prestige.” You can’t judge him by this one event; you have to wait until you can really get all of him. This date may seem terrible at first, but hang in there. It’s really a ten-hour movie.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 11, 2017, 12:54:38 AM
Hmm. I'd argue that heavily-serialized prestige TV does something very different than "a really long movie." Game of Thrones is a unique case — it really does feel continuous — but in nearly every other prestige show, episodes usually have their own personalities.

Just to take two examples, Breaking Bad and The Leftovers... It feels very natural to judge their episodes individually. They're more novelistic — chapter-by-chapter — than anything resembling a long movie. The article conflates "novelistic" and "cinematic" when they're very different things, mechanically. Right? The Leftovers will take an entire episode to explore one character (or something even crazier like "International Assassin"), and yet the plot still moves forward. Outside of Todd Solondz, movies are generally not chapter-based.

I think serialized TV gets to be called "prestige" more often because the format is suited to serialization, so it's easier to pull of something good. When an episodic show is really great, it DOES get recognized as prestige. Black Mirror.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on May 20, 2017, 07:07:45 AM
How Scott Stuber Will Steer Netflix Ambition To Make 40-50 Feature Films Per Year
via Deadline

When Scott Stuber took himself out of contention to replace the late Brad Grey as Paramount chairman, and instead accepted an offer from Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos to run Netflix’s feature film division, many felt he’d taken the more exciting job. Why? While Jim Gianopulos has to dig Paramount out of a deep hole, Stuber has a blank slate and the financial backing to make Netflix as aggressive a film studio as it is on the television front—try 40-50 films per year. French film purists might wish it away, but Netflix has already been the talk of Cannes. It made the first big pre-buy deal for the stop motion animation pic Bubbles on Michael Jackson’s chimp companion, and debuts its first two Cannes premieres this weekend. That started with last night’s Okja (where they cheered the logo and gave the film and director Bong Joon-Ho a long standing ovation) and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories on Sunday. Sure, there has been controversy about it not releasing its films in France, but Netflix and Amazon make a strong case that perhaps it is France that needs to change its ridiculously outdated chronology law that prevents films from going SVOD for three years, if they play first in French theaters. 

Netflix has already built some movie momentum, but that is just the warm up for what is to come. The momentum started with Beasts of No Nation and the eight-film deal for Adam Sandler comedies, and upcoming is War Machine with Brad Pitt, the Will Smith franchise play Bright, and the mob-movie reunion of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro in The Irishman.

Its ability to pay generously has helped Netflix overcome the challenges of making filmmakers and stars comfortable generating movies for a subscription audience. Sure, that audience is vast, spanning 190 countries, but those artists are accustomed to seeing their work in multiplexes, accompanied by P&A spends that make their work part of the pop-culture conversation. Netflix is more like a global private club, and the priority is keeping its members entertained enough to continue paying their monthly fees. Films like Okja and Meyerowitz will get qualifying theatrical runs, but they are not at all the priority here.

A former vice chairman of worldwide production at Universal Studios who oversaw The Fast and the Furious and The Bourne Identity among others before transitioning to producer of such films as Ted, Central Intelligence and Safe House — the Scarface remake Stuber left behind just got David Ayer in talks to direct Diego Luna at Universal — Stuber has the strong experience in building pictures, and the relationships with talent and their reps who need persuading to take some of their projects to Netflix, in addition to the traditional theatrical model movies they are making.

Stuber also has the experience to broaden Netflix into the next logical step in its feature growth curve: generating its own projects. That veers away from Netflix’s earlier film strategy, which consisted of outbidding theatrical distributors. The best example of this was Bright. For its first potential franchise play, Netflix made a $90 million-plus commitment, half of which covered salaries as well as back-end payday buyouts for Smith, director Ayer, Joel Edgerton and others.

Netflix has already put a few book properties in development, but homegrown films will become a focus for Stuber and his team if Netflix is to generate the volume of pictures needed to grow its slate. That means that here at Cannes and elsewhere, Netflix will be an aggressive acquirer of properties, once again putting traditional theatrical release distributors on their heels.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on May 22, 2017, 09:04:40 AM
I'm very excited about what the future has in store for Netflix, but something I've been thinking about a lot recently is how poor a job they do promoting their new original content. They need to come up with a better way of putting their vast and diverse original films and TV shows out there in a way for people to identify "yes, that's meant for me." It seems like only a small fraction get widespread publicity, but there's so much more they're doing that maybe won't have the most widespread popularity, but might be extremely relevant for deep niche audiences. Unfortunately, their algorithms are based on defining films by categories such as "historical dramas with a strong female lead" and such. Of course it's difficult to be more abstract, but their PR/marketing of the majority of their originals is woefully lacking.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on June 16, 2017, 04:36:54 PM
Okay, this is sort of off-topic but relates to how studios might use social data to create entertainment and also attract advertisers.

Choice quotes:

"The characters I was creating needed to appeal to those people. But writing these varied characters is about more than just clothing or token references, you really need to know who they are on a more personal level. I wanted to explore new ways of building that understanding, and with Twitter being an open network I was familiar with, it was a natural choice."

"Analysing different segments of any demographic in Audiense corrected the over-indexing in the audience that the show would originally appeal to. It gave me extra inspiration for some characters and their plot points, as well as confirming ideas I had for others. Moreover, this new way of creating a show will get a lot of interest from potential sponsors. Once you embrace your audience openly, you can bring in advertisers as you can clearly point to who your show is likely appeal to with far greater accuracy. This is of great value to them, and thus it’s valuable for the studios too."


https://audiense.com/interview-tv-producers-bridging-gap-social-data-marketing-media-case-study-risk-creativity-can/ (https://audiense.com/interview-tv-producers-bridging-gap-social-data-marketing-media-case-study-risk-creativity-can/)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on July 27, 2017, 04:38:23 PM
How to Make a Movie Out of Anything — Even a Mindless Phone Game - The NY Times (https://nytimes.com/2017/07/27/magazine/why-hollywood-is-trying-to-turn-everything-into-movies-even-mindless-games-like-fruit-ninja.html)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on November 19, 2017, 05:29:57 PM
A guide to independent film in 2017, cliff notes:

If it's American-made but not produced by Megan Ellison (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_Ellison#As_producer) or distributed by A24 (https://a24films.com/films), it probably isn't worth seeing.

I wish this were an exaggeration.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: matt35mm on November 20, 2017, 02:47:32 PM
Whoa, story checks out. Not sure if WONDERSTRUCK counts as indie or studio but that's the only possible American indie that I liked this year.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: matt35mm on November 20, 2017, 04:40:06 PM
Oh and I liked MUDBOUND, which I just remembered was not financed by Netflix, but purchased at Sundance.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on November 21, 2017, 02:34:55 PM
Female-Led Investor Groups Target Weinstein Co. Acquisition - Variety
 (https://variety.com/2017/biz/news/weinstein-company-killer-content-maria-contreras-sweet-1202620418/)

Quote
If Killer is successful, the expectation is that Weinstein Co. would cease to exist as a company. Creative management of Weinstein Co.’s film development and library would be handled by Killer Films principals Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, both respected veterans of the indie film biz, while business matters would be steered by Killer Content, headed by CEO Adrienne Becker, and its pro-social unit, Killer Impact. The New York Women’s Foundation, a public foundation with more than 10,000 donors, including blue-chip corporate backers, would help administer the distribution of profits from Weinstein Co. titles to various non-profit organizations.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: ono on December 01, 2017, 02:43:02 PM
That is just too good.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilberfan on December 19, 2017, 03:38:13 PM
“The Best Possible Representation” ARRI’s Executive Board Members Discuss Samsung Cinema LED Screen

https://news.samsung.com/global/the-best-possible-representation-arris-executive-board-members-discuss-samsung-cinema-led-screen

Quote
The Cinema LED screen is the world’s first LED screen designed to replace conventional projectors in cinemas. The new screen, which has overcome limits in brightness and a light-to-shade ratio, supports 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR), thus producing clear and vivid color. In addition, directly beamed LED light sources prevent color distortions, giving fuller realization to what directors originally intended to express. The innovative screen installed with JBL sound systems of Harmon Kardon provides viewers with a whole new level of audio experience.

Film technology is constantly developing in the digital era. However, film screening is still based on projection, which has served as an obstacle in realizing true and lifelike high-quality resolution. Against this backdrop, the arrival of a Cinema LED screen was a breath of fresh air for the ARRI Executive Board.

The Cinema LED screen boasts an advantage that viewers experience no distortion in images and sound, wherever in the theater they choose to sit. After confirming this for himself by moving from seat to seat in the theater, Kraus expressed full satisfaction with the technology.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on December 19, 2017, 05:55:08 PM
I’ll be curious to see if this is widely implemented. My biggest personal concern in regards to the image is proper black levels - nothing bugs me more about a projected image in a theater than a wall directly next to the screen revealing that the “blacks” in the projected image are actually gray in comparison. This is never a problem with 35mm projection, as there’s an absence of light rather than a pixel. I’d rather see a scratched and wobbly print with proper black levels than a pristine and stable DCP that looks like it was set out in the sun too long.

I’m at a point where aside from the benefit of seeing a movie as early as possible in its initial release, and the element of the theatrical setting forcing you to submit to the pace of a story without the ability to pause, I’d rather just watch a movie at home.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilberfan on December 19, 2017, 06:02:12 PM
Is the "black" part of a projected image really black though?  It's a good point that the celluloid doesn't allow any light thru that part of the frame, but wouldn't 'ambient' light fill-in, reflect-onto the 'black' part of the image while it's on the screen? I've never thought about black-levels on a projected image, so I'm at dolt-levels on this issue...  I imagine there are a myriad of factors that affect perceived black levels in a large, projected image.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on December 19, 2017, 06:06:05 PM
Honestly I don't know the nitty-gritty science, I just know that it looks really, really different. I'm sure you're right on some level. At the Phantom Thread screening I went to, which I was unaware was going to be 35mm, it was immediately apparent as soon as it started that it looked different and better than anything I'd seen theatrically in the past six months.


Also, this occurred to me the other day - my initial thoughts on seeing a 35mm projection of Inherent Vice:

I need to rewatch the trailer but I feel like it was color timed to appear more like a normal movie, the picture I saw up on that screen felt such a departure from it. Maybe the trailer difference was my imagination.

and matt35mm discussing Phantom Thread:

We talked a little bit about how the film went through 3 coloring processes (digital for the DCP, color timing for the 35mm, a separate round of color timing for the 70mm, which was also done for THE MASTER and INHERENT VICE).

Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilberfan on December 19, 2017, 06:29:02 PM
I must admit, I've never really paid any attention to things like that. 

I specifically went to the Chinese Theater last Summer to see "Dunkirk" because of some new-fangled digital laser projection system that reportedly had the best black-levels of any digital projection system out there.  I found myself emotionally disengaged from the film at about the one hour mark--so I had plenty of opportunity to look at things like black-levels, but I didn't.  (I kept checking my watch, tho!)  It would interesting to do a side-by-side comparison.

My only recent thoughts about film-vs-digital is when I went to the New Bev to see "Boogie Nights" a couple of years ago.  I've studied every frame of that film (almost literally), but I only noticed how scratched & "soft" the image looked compared to what I was used to (DVD/Blu-ray releases.)   Really the only specific thing I noticed was that I could clearly read the brand name of the cigarettes Maggie was smoking in the digital releases--but was too soft to make out in the 35mm print that night.

I saw Phantom Thread on celluloid--but black levels were the LAST thing I was paying any attention to that afternoon.

Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilder on December 19, 2017, 06:36:51 PM
I specifically went to the Chinese Theater last Summer to see "Dunkirk" because of some new-fangled digital laser projection system that reportedly had the best black-levels of any digital projection system out there

I've heard about those but haven't seen anything projected by them. May be worth seeking out...

I saw Phantom Thread on celluloid--but black levels were the LAST thing I was paying any attention to that afternoon.

Confession: I only saw about 5 minutes of the actual movie. I was just so transfixed on the wall. Can't wait to see it again and see that sexy black wall, again. God, what a wall, you dark seductress.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilberfan on December 20, 2017, 04:33:48 PM
Confession: I only saw about 5 minutes of the actual movie. I was just so transfixed on the wall. Can't wait to see it again and see that sexy black wall, again. God, what a wall, you dark seductress.
You're right.  Just came from a Last Jedi screening, and there was a look-how-awesome-we-are prelude by Dolby (or whoever it was in charge of the projection process.)  They had a few seconds of side-by-side of 'standard' black and their black.  Yes, their's was blacker.  But remembering your wall-worship, I quickly looked to the right.  Indeed, she was blackest of them all...
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on January 11, 2018, 01:37:14 AM
first i was trying to find "The Book of Henry" on xixax, using google, but i ended up on this site that's xixax.biz (http://xixax.biz), okay, and i was curious about this place, looking around it, thinking it was funny that it seemed movie related. i clicked Movies, English, i scrolled. i found Zootopia (http://xixax.biz/watch.php?v=8H0kuSOZYKs#), which i'd wanted to see before. and i really liked the opening. but then i was like, wait. i could tell, you know. but i couldn't say what movie it was. so i used the end credits to find out about Agent F.O.X. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3897080/).

it all felt semi-exciting to me at the time. this is the Agent F.O.X. synopsis

Quote
Super spy Agent F.O.X. arrives in Carrot Town with one objective: infiltrate the community of friendly rabbits and locate a mysterious artifact. But the mission goes awry when the secret agent is mistaken for a distant cousin.

i'm 100% uncertain about why this is its imdb photo (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3897080/mediaviewer/rm116416000)

(https://i.imgur.com/x6HR7a5.jpg?1)

trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmCgbEBUKXY

true story
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: jenkins on January 17, 2018, 09:05:26 PM
YouTube snags Eminem-produced satirical rap film Bodied (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/17/16900884/youtube-red-eminem-bodied-sundance-2018)

Quote
Bodied, a satirical hip-hop film produced by rapper Eminem, will get a public release on YouTube. The company announced its acquisition of the movie today, along with a preview of the film at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21st. A theatrical release will follow later in 2018, and Bodied will also play on YouTube Red, the company’s streaming subscription service.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Drenk on January 18, 2018, 09:24:53 AM
YouTube snags Eminem-produced satirical rap film Bodied (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/17/16900884/youtube-red-eminem-bodied-sundance-2018)

Quote
Bodied, a satirical hip-hop film produced by rapper Eminem, will get a public release on YouTube. The company announced its acquisition of the movie today, along with a preview of the film at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21st. A theatrical release will follow later in 2018, and Bodied will also play on YouTube Red, the company’s streaming subscription service.

I've seen it, by the way, it's nice.
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on March 28, 2018, 03:11:10 PM
This is a really worthwhile read about how FB used to be about allowing people (and filmmakers and potential audiences) to find each other organically and build communities, but now makes anyone with a page (such as an indie filmmaker) PAY so that their followers - people who have chosen to follow them on FB - will actually see their post.

Facebook Was Vital For Indie Filmmakers. Now Their Followers Are Held Hostage, and the Ransom Keeps Changing (http://www.indiewire.com/2018/03/facebook-pay-wall-independent-creators-followers-1201942900/)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Sleepless on April 11, 2018, 02:29:45 PM
Neill Blomkamp Is Crowdfunding an Indie Studio That Will Make a ‘Firebase’ Feature

The "District 9" director sees Pixar and video game distribution as models for building a sustainable community for Oats Studios.

http://www.indiewire.com/2018/04/neill-blomkamp-crowdfunding-firebase-oats-studios-1201951115/ (http://www.indiewire.com/2018/04/neill-blomkamp-crowdfunding-firebase-oats-studios-1201951115/)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilberfan on April 29, 2018, 07:04:06 PM
I hadn't heard about this new, 'non-projection' screen (for theater use) until this afternoon when I was speaking with an industry projectionist/repair/maintenance guy.  I'm curious, and the Winnetka 21 is close enough for me to check out...


  How the New LED Cinema Screen Could Change Filmmaking and Moviegoing

 
APRIL 20, 2018
by Carolyn Giardina


The first LED cinema screen in the U.S. was unveiled Friday at Pacific Theatres Winnetka in Chatsworth, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, where Warner Bros.’ Ready Player One will be the first movie offered on the new exhibition system, starting Saturday.

 
The Samsung LED Cinema Screen marks a radical shift from the theater projection systems that have been used since the birth of cinema. Instead, the LED screen is more akin to a giant television screen, and its use would render the projection booth a thing of the past.

 
At its unveiling Friday, Samsung shared new details about content creation for the screen — and what it might mean for both studios and filmmakers.

 
Why switch to LED screens? Samsung vice president Stephen Choi argues that “there hasn’t been anything new to draw audiences into the theaters” and they need “a new experience, to provide the ‘wow’ factor.”

 
So far, the images that the screen produces have impressed many in Hollywood, including Jerome Dewhurst, senior color scientist at postproduction facility Roundabout Entertainment. He contends that the LED screen’s “pure black is much deeper" than other systems.

 
It remains to be seen whether the non-expert eye of the average moviegoer will see a noticeable difference, and whether audiences will then be willing to pay a premium for it. At launch, Pacific Theatres Winnetka is not charging a premium for the LED auditorium. But, in time, theaters may choose to charge a premium ticket price to watch movies on a LED screen.

 
In order to prep movies for exhibition on the new LED screen in theaters, Samsung hopes to outfit postproduction facilities so that filmmakers can view their work on an LED display. The first color grading (digital intermediate) postproduction suite to offer a Samsung LED Screen in North America has now opened at Roundabout’s Santa Monica facility. It offers a 17-foot screen that can play 2K resolution, standard or high dynamic range, 7.1 surround sound and offers a Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve color grading system. Samsung hopes to add its screens in more post houses.

 
According to Samsung, its Cinema Screen can play a standard DCI-compliant Digital Cinema Package (the digital equivalent of the film print) if the images are standard dynamic range. But for a high dynamic range (HDR) grade, it would require a separate version, meaning that the studios would need to make another deliverable. Studios are already creating multiple versions of their films, including digital 2D, digital 3D at different light levels, Imax, Dolby Cinema and local languages. The more deliverables, the more time and expense films must spend in postproduction.

 
The reason for the new HDR version — meaning that the images have a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks — is that the LED screen is brighter than what is typically projected in theaters, which is 14 foot-lamberts (a measure of luminance in cinema). In comparison, the LED screen has a peak brightness level around 300 nits (a measurement of brightness), which Samsung estimates could display roughly 88 foot-lamberts.

 
The new Samsung LED Cinema Screen in Chatsworth is 34 feet wide and 18 feet high, with all of the features of the smaller screen at Roundabout, but it can additionally support 4K resolution.

 
When introduced to the press on Friday, the theater presented trailers of Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time in standard dynamic range; various Amazon trailers including Life Itself in HDR; and some ARRI-provided demo material shot with its new Alexa LF large format camera, also in HDR.

 
Ready Player One was screened in its entirety in standard dynamic range, and Samsung confirmed that it therefore didn’t create a new version of the film.

 
But on the HDR front, this screen does underscore a concern voiced by many cinematographers last week at NAB Show, that in the digital realm, their images can be manipulated and changed all too easily in postproduction. In fact, Ready Player One cinematographer and two-time Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski lamented that cinematographers are losing control of the images they shoot.

 
The cinematographers’ participation in color grading can vary, as some lensers have guaranteed involvement in their contracts while others do not.

 
Roundabout’s Dewhurst emphasized that he encourages the DP’s involvement. “It’s Roundabout’s view that an HDR theater requires a dedicated grading session, not an automated system, to create the deliverable,” he added, recommending that the LED HDR grade could be the master version, used as the starting point for other versions of a movie.

 
Samsung installed its first two LED screens in South Korea.    
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Dewhurst also revealed that Roundabout has already started to invite members of the American Society of Cinematographers to see the screen and discuss the creative work.

 
Samsung has additionally been showing their LED screen to filmmakers and Hollywood studio execs. The screen might be of particular interest to James Cameron, Ang Lee and other filmmakers exploring the use of higher frame rates. Ready Player One was screened on the Samsung system at 24 frames per second, the standard in cinema. But the tech manufacturer contends that it’s working to get the system up to a high frame rate of 60 frames per second.

 
The question of how to handle the sound has been a topic of discussion for the past year, since Samsung first announced its LED Cinema Screen plans. This is because in traditional cinema, there are speakers directly behind the screen, which is not doable with LED panels.

 
For this theater auditorium, Samsung-owned Harman International developed a JBL Professional cinema sound audio system that can accommodate up to 7.1 Surround Sound. Harman’s cinema solutions manager Dan Saenz explained that the new configuration places the front speaker directly above the screen and incorporates some filtering technology, designed to make it appear as though the sound was coming from the screen; and it places an additional speaker in front that bounces high frequency sounds off the screen and into the audience, also aimed at creating the sonic experience of a traditional theater.

 
Still, the biggest hurdle to a rollout could come down to the cost. Samsung said the cost of a screen could run anywhere from $500,000 to $800,000, a hefty price for a theater owner. Pete Lude, chief technology officer of engineering firm Mission Rock Digital, estimates that in comparison, top-of-the-line laser projectors generally cost between $150,000 to $300,000.

 
Samsung argued that there are other benefits that could help offset some of the cost, citing as an example that the LED Cinema Screen’s life span is estimated to be 17 years. “And we’re looking at financial companies to see if there are options available,” said Samsung’s Choi.

 
The company also pointed out that unlike projection systems, a LED screen could be used with ambient light in the room, potentially making it an attractive option for dine-in theaters, gaming or other such users.

 
While Pacific Theatres Winnetka is the first U.S. theater installation, the Samsung LED Cinema Screens are available in several international venues, including two in South Korea and one each in Zurich, Bangkok and Shanghai. Samsung expects to have at least 10 installed worldwide by the summer, and roughly 30 by the end of the year.

 
While currently focused on 34-foot screens, Samsung is also working on a 46-foot 4K LED screen, which it aims to introduce in late 2018.

 
The Samsung LED screen will be on display next week at the theater owners convention CinemaCon, and Sony will show its Crystal LED cinema screen during the confab as well.


Source (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/how-new-led-cinema-screen-could-change-filmmaking-moviegoing-1104745)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Something Spanish on April 30, 2018, 09:24:12 AM
RIP movie theatre experience
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: wilberfan on April 30, 2018, 11:39:47 AM
Why do you say that?   This is a 'theater-sized' screen (at this point probably for 600-800 seat venues)--with a much better-quality image.    I think the theater experience may be doomed--but I'm not sure this 'non-projection' method would contribute, necessarily.  (Although as the cost comes down, this level of quality would be available in the home...)
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: Something Spanish on April 30, 2018, 08:44:08 PM
Why do you say that?

It’s just what it is, homey
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: WorldForgot on May 01, 2018, 06:13:44 PM
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DcJX24rWAAARIpN.jpg:large)

also, subscriptions are open for the newly ReAnimated FANGORIA mag -- rejoice
Title: Re: Alternative approaches to entertainment distribution/consumption
Post by: polkablues on May 01, 2018, 07:28:50 PM
The Corpse of Anna Fritz is pretty great. There are a handful of good horror flicks I've watched in the past few weeks that I should get around to posting about in the Horror thread.