Although not “hot off the press” it is still pretty cool and worth noting! Amazon Studios will not “make” you but they may buy you a house in Camps Bay and that is good enough for me!
What is VODO?
VODO is trying to help solve three problems:
(1) How do we get works (texts, films, music) distributed efficiently and widely using current peer-to-peer and filesharing technologies?
(2) How do we market these works in a way that can help artists gain widespread recognition?
(3) How can we help creators distributing via filesharing systems to develop a sustainable and even profitable, practice?
We approach these problems by, first, gathering quality “unpublished” content (books, films, music) from a variety of sources. These may, for example, be commissioning boies who know about work they’ve comissioned that couldn’t be or wasn’t published; they may be “slush-piles” from literary agencies; they may be first albums submitted directly by bands, or offered by managers. (The fact is that a lot of great content will never make it to a mainstream publication –– for a variety of reasons that we won’t go into here, but NOT just because they’re not good enough.)
Second, we filter the content. Once it’s uploaded, we allow VODO’s Regular Supporters to download or stream any work they like, in order to comment and vote on it. Taking into account these votes and comments our team select works to distribute.
Third, we are bringing together some of the world’s largest P2P services and sites to help promote and distribute winning works. Works selected are promoted prominently to our ‘Distribution Coalition’, which has many millions of eyeballs. The promotions we place on these pages will link directly to the works, which will be seeded in partnership with Bittorrent and other filesharing services.
Finally, at the core of VODO is a commitment to providing revenue for creators of media content, in a world in which the systems for distributing, copying and viewing that content are cross-territorial, rapidly changing and difficult to predict or control.
Put simply, we provide a freely accessible “look up” table that stores hashes of works we’ve helped distribute, against payment details (e.g., PayPal) for producers. With this table, any site that implements the VODO system can offer donation links for VODO works. In time we’re aiming to extend this to all sorts of works, even those not published by us. But as you can guess, this will take some time!
With the system we’ve developed, we’ll be able to let consumers of media shared through P2P networks make voluntary donations to our creators wherever their works are shared.
Until recently the assumption has been that if consumers cannot be made to pay for copies of media obtained through traditional channels, revenue is entirely lost to creators. However, content/distribution projects such as Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ and our own STEAL THIS FILM 1 & 2 have shown that a proportion (in Radiohead’s case, 38%) of people consuming media through P2P networks are willing to make entirely voluntary donations.
If a small proportion of the massive amount of P2P users downloading works through VODO decide to donate on a regular or semi-regular basis to some of the artists whose works they are sharing, these creators would be able to build an excellent means of support. One of the advantages of direct, after-the-fact donation is that there is no friction and much, much more of the money makes it into the artists’ pockets.
VODO makes it easy for users to donate and is part of a culture in which it will become normal for them to do so. We think there is a great opportunity for small-to-medium sized media producers to maximise usage of efficient, free P2P networks by encouraging free copying and distribution of their materials, while actively seeking voluntary supportive donations. We also think that around works distributed this way, we can build all sorts of new revenue channels for creators.
Films and music establish a powerful relationship between ‘producer’ and ‘consumer’. One of VODO’s key benefits lies in distributing payments out to players and downloading software, making it as trivial as possible for donors to initiate voluntary donations when they feel most ‘connected’ to the artist: at the point of enjoyment of the media.
VODO began in 2006 as the Pretext project, which was kindly supported by a grant from the Arts Council of England (ACE). Pretext’s aim was twofold: to distribute quality, minority texts over the internet, and to find a model that could remunerate authors while they did it. Back then, Pretext was Jamie King, artist/programmer Jan Gerber, then-CC-UK head Christian Ahlert, Hannah Upritchard and noted author Hari Kunzru.
To cut a long story short, it took us just less than two years to realise that ‘revolutionising’ the publishing industry was VERY hard way to tackle the problems that really interested us: how online distribution was changing what it means to communicate, to ‘get published’, to be a creator and an author in the ‘network society’. In the meantime, two of the original team — along with other friends — happened to make STEAL THIS FILM 1 and STEAL THIS FILM 2, which represented some of our thinking around this topic, live and very much in the public eye.
Artist/programmer/guru Sebastian Lutgert was another person instrumental in developing the ideas behind VODO during late 2007/early 2008. Sebastian and Jan are now working on the very significant Pad.ma system, mostly from Mumbai, India.
After STEAL THIS FILM, we focused on the core question how to distribute content of all kinds using existing P2P infrastructure (i.e., without re-
inventing the wheel!) and how to sustain content producers while doing it (i.e, get them paid!) A third, and equally important question circulated through much of our pragmatic research: how to help creators get as much attention as we’d got with the STEAL THIS FILM project. Without attention, you might as well upload your work to YouTube and hope for the best — not an enticing prospect for many.
So we came up with VODO, short for ‘voluntary donations’ but really much, much more than that. VODO is the publishing system we first started
trying to create with Pretext in 2006; it’s the distribution system that filmmakers all over the world have been wanting ever since they knew about distributing films online; it’s the same attention-gathering machine that was behind STF — only much, much more powerful.
In short, VODO is the culmination of a lot of thinking, a lot of work and lot of goodwill. From the initial funding offered by ACE, we were carried
through by grants from the OSI’s Information Programme, support from the BRITDOC Foundation and the UK’s Emerald Fund. We know that in the current economic environment, finding funding to continue developing VODO is going to be tough. That’s why we’ve designed VODO to be lean, simple and easy to maintain.
Today, VODO’s core development team comprises filmmaker/technologist Jamie King (UK/transient), programmer/activist Rama Cosentino (Argentina), documentarist/advocate Adnan Hadzi (UK), and BRITDOC’s delightful Jess Search (UK), who sits on our as-yet-not-really-existent board. In addition we’re delighted to welcome Stu Tilly (Shooting People) as a collaborator, and Pixeco, who’ll be helping us out with design before we go live.
Production has become democratized while digital distribution is quickly becoming commoditized thus fragmenting the marketplace and resulting in little to no revenue. The problems that the independent film industry faces are well documented but where do we go from here? What are the new models of discovery and distribution? How are storytellers going to fund, create, distribute and sustain from their work? ARIN CRUMLEY (Four Eyed Monster, As the Dust Settles) SCOTT MACAULAY (film producer & editor of FILMMAKER MAGAZINE) NOAH HARLAN (film producer & mobile app developer), SCOTT KIRSNER (journalist and author), DON ARGOTT (ROCK SCHOOL)
Quentin Tarantino never had to go through this..
By MICHAEL CIEPLY – NY Times
“The Age of Stupid” will officially open in the United States with showings paid for by the filmmakers and their backers.
When “The Age of Stupid,” a climate change movie, “opens” across the United States in September, it will play on some 400 screens in a one-night event, with a video performance by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, all paid for by the filmmakers themselves and their backers. In Britain, meanwhile, the film has been showing via an Internet service that lets anyone pay to license a copy, set up a screening and keep the profit.
The glory days of independent film, when hot young directors like Steven Soderbergh and Mr. Tarantino had studio executives tangled in fierce bidding wars at Sundance and other celebrity-studded festivals, are now barely a speck in the rearview mirror. And something new, something much odder, has taken their place.
Here is how it used to work: aspiring filmmakers playing the cool auteur in hopes of attracting the eye of a Hollywood power broker.
Here is the new way: filmmakers doing it themselves — paying for their own distribution, marketing films through social networking sites and Twitter blasts, putting their work up free on the Web to build a reputation, cozying up to concierges at luxury hotels in film festival cities to get them to whisper into the right ears.
The economic slowdown and tight credit have squeezed the entertainment industry along with everybody else, resulting in significantly fewer big-studio films in the pipeline and an even tougher road for smaller-budget independent projects. Independent distribution companies are much less likely to pull out the checkbook while many of the big studios have all but gotten out of the indie film business.
“It’s not like the audience for these movies has completely disappeared,” said Cynthia Swartz, a partner in the publicity company 42 West, which has been supplementing its mainstream business by helping filmmakers find ways to connect with an audience. “It’s just a matter of finding them.”
Sometimes, the odd approach actually works.
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” a documentary about a Canadian metal band, turned into the do-it-yourself equivalent of a smash hit when it stretched a three-screen opening in April into a four-month run, still under way, on more than 150 screens around the country.
“I paid for everything, I took a second mortgage on my house,” said Sacha Gervasi, the film’s director.
Mr. Gervasi, whose studio writing credits include “The Terminal,” directed by Steven Spielberg, nearly three years ago, began filming “Anvil!” with his own money in hopes of attracting a conventional distributor. The movie played well at Sundance in 2008, but offers were low.
So Mr. Gervasi put up more money — his total cost was in “the upper hundred thousands,” he said — to distribute the film through a company called Abramorama, while selling the DVD and television rights to VH1.
The aging rockers of Anvil have shown up at theaters to play for audiences. Famous fans like Courtney Love were soon chattering online about the film. And an army of “virtual street teamers” — Internet advocates who flood social networks with admiring comments, sometimes for a fee, sometimes not — were recruited by a Web consultant, Sarah Lewitinn, who usually works the music scene.
The idea behind this sort of guerrilla release is to accumulate just enough at the box office to prime the pump for DVD sales and return the filmmaker’s investment, maybe even with a little profit. “Anvil!” has earned roughly $1 million worldwide at the box office so far, its producer, Rebecca Yeldham, said.
Finding even relatively small amounts of money to make and market a film is, of course, no small trick. “The Age of Stupid” raised a production budget of about £450,000 (about $748,000) from 228 shareholders, and is soliciting a bit more to continue its release, Franny Armstrong, its director, said.
“Money has simply vanished,” said Mark Urman, an independent-film veteran, speaking of the financial drought that has pushed producers and directors into shouldering risks that only a few years ago were carried by a more robust field of distributors.
Many of those distributors have either disappeared or severely tightened their operations, including Warner Independent Pictures, Picturehouse, New Line Cinema, Miramax, the Weinstein Company, Paramount Classics and its successor, Paramount Vantage.
Typically, the distributors have paid money upfront for rights to release films. That helped the producers recover what they had already spent on production, but it often left the distributor with most or all of the profit.
Mr. Urman’s own position as president for distribution at Senator Entertainment evaporated this year when financing fell through for a slate of films. So he started a new company, Paladin, to support filmmakers willing to finance their own releases.
In September, Paladin is expected to help the filmmaker Steve Jacobs and his fellow producers release “Disgrace,” a drama with John Malkovich that is based on a novel by the Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee.
The film won a critics prize at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, but no attractive distribution offers. One key to releasing it without a Miramax, said Mr. Urman, is to minimize expensive advertising in newspapers or on television and play directly to a friendly audience — in this case through extensive promotional tie-ins with Mr. Coetzee’s publishers.
“Everyone still dreams there’s going to be a conventional sale to a major studio,” said Kevin Iwashina, once an independent-film specialist with the Creative Artists Agency and now a partner at IP Advisors, a film sales and finance consulting company. But, he said, smart producers and directors are figuring out how to tap the value in projects on their own.
Some big companies will still be on the hunt in Toronto this year, where the annual festival is scheduled to begin Sept. 10.
“We’ll be there in full force,” said Nancy Utley, a president of Fox Searchlight Pictures, which last year acquired rights to “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Wrestler,” both screened in Toronto.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Robert G. Friedman, a chairman of Summit Entertainment, which acquired “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The film was offered in Toronto last year and has already been mentioned widely as an Oscar contender.
But some filmmakers and producers pointed toward the festival have already started working for themselves, rather than waiting for the few remaining, and ever fussier, buyers to swoop in.
In fact, the next-wave Tarantinos are in Canada already — coddling not prospective buyers, but concierges, who just might steer people to promotional parties and screenings.
“These guys have figured it out,” Barry Avrich, a member of the festival’s governing board, said of the do-it-yourself crowd. “They’re into all the cool hotels, to get the concierges thinking about them.”
One of the most important films of the year (perhaps decade) is about to be released. Take note. While this film is about the collective future of humanity, this film is equally or more important because it represents the future of film, film culture and film distribution and marketing.
Since the recent collapse of the independent distribution and monetization model (of about 5000 feature films produced a year, perhaps a handful will recoup their investment), independent filmmakers have been searching and experimenting with new DIY and hybrid models of distribution and marketing. It has become apparent that no longer can filmmakers rely on a white knight to swoop down, pay them handsomely and guarantee them a release (if that ever really happened).
Filmmakers need to realize that getting your film in front of an audience is at least half of their job as filmmakers.
The filmmakers behind The Age of Stupid get it. They get it to the nth degree and it is exciting. They are blazing a trail for filmmakers to not only release their films in their home countries, but around the world.
We are on the verge of a new dawn, where fans support the films they want to see and where those films can create a worldwide theatrical release without studio support.
Premiering on 550 screens in 45 countries today, September 21st, (in the United States) and tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22nd, (in the rest of the world) the hardworking folks at The Age of Stupid have done with limited means what corporations spend millions of dollars trying to do: create a world wide cinematic event.
I’ve spent the last year writing a book about the transformation of film distribution and marketing for the digital era. A couple of key points about the world of film distribution and marketing and The Age of Stupid:
Theatrical is not dead. It is being reborn. Filmmakers must take back the theatrical experience and reclaim it as live events/theatrical.
Live because it occurs with an audience and emphasizes the important communal nature of the filmgoing experience.
Events not only because it happens at a specific place and time, but because the future of the theatrical model for independents are screenings that feel like happenings or special occasions, aka events. The Age of Stupid is the first independent film to do this on a global level.
Theatrical because independent filmmakers like to say that they had a theatrical release. It’s a term that has been in use for decades; let’s not
throw it out yet, let’s take it back.
The Age of Stupid is creating this event by having it take place on only two nights, throughout the world, selling advance tickets (you better get your ticket — my preferred theater was sold out on Saturday!)
They are also having musical performances, live appearances, and environmental events occurring simultaneously: Greenpeace is broadcasting a melting glacier. Thom Yorke is playing live from his studio in London. Kofi Annan is appearing in NYC. And more.
Engagement with your audience is the future of film. Do this as early as possible. Any aspiring or established media content create observe how The Age of Stupid got it done:
They created alliances with organizations and NGOs such as Greenpeace, MoveOn, etc.
They created a dynamic website (that has a great sense of humor but is straight and to the point) that encouraged their audience to get involved, providing clear concrete actions such as:
Funding the film. Most of the money for The Age of Stupid, £857,000 for their film, came through direct contributions from their fans. They have even provided a how-to crowdfund on their website.
The audience is screening the film. Through indiescreenings.net they are engaging their audience to create screenings for the film.
You should go see this film not because I feel it is a great film (I haven’t seen it yet!) but because you will be participating in the rebirth of film culture.
It’s not just the film, it’s how you get people to see it, stupid!
For more about independent film distribution and marketing go to jonreiss.com/blog You can follow Jon’s thoughts on film distribution and marketing at: www.twitter.com/Jon_Reiss.
Original Article @ Huffington Post
by Peter Broderick (September 21, 2009)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That whenever any form of distribution becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new distribution most likely to effect their livelihood and happiness.
When a long train of abuses and usurpations reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such distribution.
Thomas Jefferson (liberties taken by Peter Broderick)
Hybrid distribution is the state-of-the-art model more and more filmmakers are using to succeed. It enables them to have unprecedented access to audiences, to maintain overall control of their distribution, and to receive a significantly larger share of revenues.
This article is a sequel to my report, “Welcome to the New World of Distribution,” which was published exactly a year ago in indieWIRE. Since the report appeared, the Old World of Distribution has continued to decline. The vast majority of filmmakers making Old World deals (in which they give all of their distribution rights to one company for up to 25 years) are ending up dissatisfied, including producers and directors who had previously succeeded in the Old World. Many of them have told me that the traditional distribution system is broken and that they are determined to find a new approach.
Meanwhile it has been a banner year in the New World. Hybrid distribution has come into its own with such successes as “Valentino: The Last Emperor” and “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” both of which hired service deal companies to handle their theatrical distribution. Working with Abramorama, ANVIL has grossed over $675,000 in U.S. theaters. Through Truly Indie and Vitagraph Films, “Valentino” grossed more than $1,755,000 theatrically. In addition to consulting on “Valentino,” I also consulted on a number of other films that successfully combined theatrical service deals and semi-theatrical runs, including “The Singing Revolution” (Abramorama), “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” (theatrical: Balcony Releasing; semi-theatrical: Film Sprout), “Note by Note” (Argot Pictures) and “Throw Down Your Heart” (Argot Pictures).
I coined the term “hybrid distribution” in 2005 to describe the innovative model I had been developing for several years alongside a handful of pioneering independents. Inspired by the example of “Reversal” (which Jimi Petulla sold so lucratively from his website), I helped design the strategy for one of the first hybrid breakthroughs—Mark Neale’s documentary “Faster.” Since then I’ve worked with hundreds of filmmakers to develop and implement hybrid strategies. Each film I’ve consulted on—from features such as “Ballast” and “Good Dick” to documentaries like “King Corn” and “The Future of Food”—has helped me refine the hybrid distribution model.
As this model has been used more widely, the meaning of the term “hybrid distribution” has become less precise. When Thom Powers asked me to give a presentation at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, I took the opportunity to define the core principles of hybrid distribution. My goal was to break the concept into essential components that filmmakers can use to create customized distribution strategies. This article expands on my Toronto presentation.
Let’s start with a definition. Hybrid distribution combines direct sales by filmmakers with distribution by third parties (e.g. DVD distributors, TV channels, VOD companies, educational distributors). In the Old World of Distribution, Plan A was to give all your distribution rights to one company and Plan B was self-distribution. In the New World, Plan A is doing your own direct sales while splitting up the other rights; Plan B is making an all-rights deal with one company.
Today many filmmakers are as determined to retain “distribution control” as they are to maintain “creative control.” Distribution control is the power to determine the overall structure and sequence of distribution, select distribution partners, and divide up distribution rights. While single source production financing usually means the loss of some measure of creative control, single source distribution through an all-rights deal always means the loss of distribution control.
A hybrid approach enables filmmakers to choose partners with the resources and expertise to maximize distribution in different channels while allowing filmmakers themselves to do what they do best—reach core audiences directly.
The following ten principles are distilled from the experience of filmmakers I have worked with across the country and overseas. As their distribution strategist, I have been by their side as they have explored the New World of Distribution.
- Design a customized distribution strategy.
Every film needs a customized distribution strategy. Ideally this strategy should be designed before the film is made, increasing the chances of securing financing. To create a strategy, filmmakers must clearly define their goals and priorities, identify the film’s initial core audiences, plan different versions of the film (e.g. theatrical, television, DVD, foreign, educational), determine distribution avenues and a release sequence, identify potential partners, and decide how to initially position the film both online and off. The strategy should be flexible, implemented one stage at a time, and regularly assessed and refined.
- Split distribution rights.
While in the Old World of Distribution all domestic rights were usually given to one company, hybrid distribution enables rights to be split more finely and effectively. Filmmakers retain direct sales rights, including the right to sell DVDs from their websites and at screenings, and the right to sell downloads and rentals from their sites. Most often filmmakers also retain theatrical and semi-theatrical. VOD, television, and retail DVD deals are usually made with separate distribution partners. Deals are often made with educational partners but some filmmakers are retaining these rights. Digital rights for avenues like iTunes are more complicated—they are sometimes given to the retail DVD distributor or the VOD distributor and sometimes licensed separately.
Rights can be usefully divided into eight domestic and two international categories:
Semi-Theatrical & Non-theatrical
Digital Rental & Download
Other (Theatrical, DVD & Digital)
While splitting up rights is complicated and time consuming, it allows each right to be exploited well, avoids cross-collateralization (where expenses from one area of distribution eat away at revenues from others), and allows a filmmaker to retain overall distribution control.
- Choose effective distribution partners.
In the Old World where all domestic distribution rights were usually lumped together, certain rights were often poorly utilized or completely overlooked. In the New World, it is important to determine how best to exploit every right without neglecting any of them. Filmmakers can handle some rights most successfully on their own. In other areas, the goal is to find the distribution partner with the skills and experience to be most effective. Ideally this partner has an impressive track record with similar films or particular niche audiences. Before signing any deal with a distribution partner, it is essential to speak with other filmmakers currently or recently in business with the company.
- Circumscribe rights.
Grant each distribution partner only the specific rights they can handle well. For example, if a company is strong in retail DVD and digital, give them these rights, but do not also give them VOD if they have no experience with VOD.
Carefully limit the rights (scope, term, exclusivity) granted to each partner. Make sure the rights given to different distributors complement each other without conflicting. Make as many deals as possible at the same time so the rights given in one area do not subsequently prevent you from making deals in other areas.
- Craft win-win deals.
Design deals that will work well for both your distribution partner and you. Divide revenues fairly and define responsibilities clearly. Build in guarantees (e.g. minimum number of cities and marketing spend, performance guarantee), approvals (e.g. deals, marketing, editing), and safeguards (e.g. escape clauses, expense cap, bankruptcy protection, limits on assignment, dispute resolution).
- Retain direct sales rights.
Retain the domestic and international rights to sell DVDs (from your website and at screenings) and downloads and streams (from your website). Also retain the rights to screen the film theatrically and semi-theatrically.
Direct sales are the lynchpin of a hybrid distribution strategy. They have four significant advantages over third-party sales:
• Higher profit margins – A DVD sold directly from a filmmaker’s website can easily yield profit margins 7-8 times as high as DVDs sold in retail.
• Faster payment – Filmmakers usually receive payments faster from PayPal or a fulfillment company than they would from a distributor.
• Revenues aren’t split with middlemen – Filmmakers receive all of the revenues, after manufacturing and fulfillment costs.
• Customer information – Filmmakers receive data on all customers who make purchases from their websites, but do not get any information on consumers who buy through third-party retailers. This data enables filmmakers to stay in touch with purchasers and offer them other products.
- Assemble a distribution team.
It is as important to have a distribution team, as it is to have a production team. This team includes some or all of the following: strategist, producer’s rep, foreign sales agent, webmaster, outreach coordinator, theatrical and semi-theatrical bookers, print and online publicists, and fulfillment company.
- Partner with nonprofits and online communities.
Nonprofits can be indispensable distribution partners. They can build awareness among key core audiences by hosting screenings at national conventions and local chapters, by co-sponsoring house parties, and by promoting films through their publications and websites. Online communities can also increase buzz, audience, and sales (through affiliate marketing), potentially helping your film go viral.
- Maximize direct revenues.
In addition to selling DVDs directly from their websites, filmmakers can also sell other products they produce (e.g. soundtrack albums, companion books, posters, hats, and t-shirts). Filmmakers can also purchase related products from third parties (e.g. books, DVDs, CDs) that will be of particular interest to their audiences. As online retailers, they can buy these products at wholesale and resell them from their sites at retail.
- Grow and nurture audiences.
Independents can expand their films’ audiences by building mailing lists, communicating effectively and developing ongoing relationships with subscribers. They should provide them with valuable and engaging content, while keeping sales pitches to a minimum. They should also create a content-rich, dynamic, and interactive website that encourages participation. Their ultimate goal is to develop a core personal audience that can support future projects through contributions and purchases.
While hybrid distribution is the state-of-the-art model for the New World, it is not the best approach for all independent films. Some movies are better served by an Old World all-rights deal with an experienced distributor. The best distributors have resources, relationships, and expertise, which can be essential to a wide theatrical release. They may also have advantageous deals in place for VOD, DVD, and digital rights. If filmmakers do due diligence (by speaking with other filmmakers involved with the distributor they are considering) and are able to negotiate a fair deal, their best choice may be an all-rights deal. Higher budget, more mainstream features are better suited for an Old World approach.
Hybrid strategies are ideal for most documentaries. Lower budget, more distinctive features, like “Good Dick,” may also be better off splitting up their rights in the New World. Features with strong core audiences can also do well implementing a hybrid model. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” used a theatrical service deal to gross over $241 million domestically.
Just as the development of digital filmmaking tools in the ‘90s meant that no one could stop determined independents from making movies, the evolution of hybrid distribution in this decade means that no one can stop tenacious filmmakers from bringing their films into the world.
As the New World of Distribution continues to expand, hybrid distribution will become the optimal model for a wider array of films. It offers three major advantages over an all-rights deal. By enabling filmmakers to retain “distribution control,” it allows them to use strategies that are much more customized and better targeted. Hybrid distribution gives filmmakers a significantly larger share of revenues through direct sales and fairer terms in third-party deals. By providing filmmakers direct access to viewers, it also lets independents develop a supportive audience around films and to build a personal fan base that can help sustain them over time. Hybrid distribution can make the difference between being a dependent filmmaker in the Old World or an independent filmmaker in the New World
Anyway, to all: would most indie filmmakers pay $1000 a year (that’s about $84 a month) to make sure someone promoted & distributed on a regular basis (even passively distributed - made available to interested customers & or free viewers in whatever media) their $10K or so indie feature? Probably, I know I probably would - specially if the distro work being paid for brings in either some useful exposure & or more than $1K in sales (over 100 DVDs at $10 each would do that).
So, let’s say 1000 filmmakers buy into such a service (a company promoting their finished real indie features on a regular - daily or weekly - basis all year long for $1K a year), that would mean a $1 million revenue stream for that company.
So the company now has 1000 real indie films to promote & sell. And it would be good for the company if their clients - the indie filmmakers - were able to make more than $1K a year because of their services - ‘cause that way the filmmakers are not losing money on retaining this distro & marketing service & would most likely continue their account w/ the company the following year. So who do the company sell the 1,000 films to. I guess they are looking at a possibly significant chunk of the wired population in the US (for web marketing & sales) & anyone with a mail box (for mail order DVDs), & possibly people on the web in other English speaking countries, & possibly other developed countries in general, if the films have subtitles, etc (also possibly non-western countries, but maybe that would take more work, with currency exchange rates & censorship issues, etc. that would probably require a more tweaked model).So, basically, this hypothetical indie distro & marketing company has the challenge of selling/trying to sell copies (digital or physical) of 1,000 movies to perhaps 100 million (in the US) to a half a billion (in the western world) potential customers.
How much might it cost to do such a thing & make a profit?
Who knows? But perhaps $500,000 would be a good start - for year 1. ‘cause if a company that has that much $s are able to secure 1,000 clients who pay $1000 each a year for their services & are also (the company is able to) able to accomplish their marketing & distro work for less than $500K for 1 year, then they will not lose money in year 1 but will make $500K that year (i think i am doing the math right here, right? - raise & spend $500K & make $1 million = 100% profit? - i think so).
Anyway, that’s just a very rough scenario. I think there is a sufficient amount of money being raised & spent in real indie film production in the US for 1 or several excellent (able to accomplish the task well) indie marketing & distro companies to make money by making as many of those indie movies available for sale as possible. On top of that, they need to widely market the films that they represent/distribute (non-exclusive, this distributor/company that I am thinking of would be like a distributor for hire, they make money from fees paid to them by indie filmmakers/the owners of the films that they represent - this company would just market, facilitate sales, maybe even take care of fulfilment - digital & physical, etc.).
Anyway, lots more details where those came from, if anyone is interested.
Also, such a distro company could also be formed by oh maybe 100 to 500 filmmakers & other interested people coming together - at least for the financing part - each investing $1K each to get the business up & running = $100K - $500K start up $s. The actual running of the company will need to be done by competent people who are very enthusiastic about the work, not necessarily the filmmaker/investors (though, being the owners & funders of the company, they will have the ultimate say in things).
So that’s just one possible way to go to solve the real indie distro & marketing problem by using a for-profit (& relatively) small company approach.
Oh, the marketing done by the company cannot just be web only - it needs to be done through all possible media & methods. Maybe start with web & build up to other media quickly. I don’t think the real indie distro options - the few companies who do that kind of work now - advertise & or market enough at this point (probably cause it is expensive or time consuming = expensive, but, that’s where a lot of that $500K start up cash would probably come in handy).
So, bottom line, I think it is possible to create a profitable marketing & distribution business with real indie filmmakers as clients and with the success metrics including the clients making a profit from the fee paid to the company (or the company facilitating perhaps 200 sales of $10 each = $2K a year per project, client doubles the $s spent) & or other measurable indicators such as press coverage, getting work for hire gigs due to work done on behalf of the filmmaker client by the company, etc.
The numbers involved for this model are: 1000 filmmaker clients pay $1000 each a year for the company’s services (being marketing & selling 1 feature film per client) = $1 million in revenue for the company, & the company, in turn, attempt to market & sell the 1000 projects to a potential customer base of 100 million + people (in the US & elsewhere), in an attempt to secure at least 200 sales of $10 each for each of their clients = clients get $2000, or they double their money, and if the company can accomplish this service for $500K a year, they would make a profit of $500K. Everyone wins :)
There can be many different approaches to how the above mentioned company does its work & makes $s for the clients - the above mentioned approach is just one simple one.
And, most importantly, to make sure the customers win, the 1,000 projects selected for year 1 of the company would each have to be considered interesting or entertaining or good or something along those lines by at least a few thousand people who are willing to pay $s to see it.
Let me stop here before Ted kicks me out for taking up too much comment space :)”
I am looking for information about the relationship between Cinemas and Studios. I want to know who makes the calls, where does the money go etc. So far I have found out that its a rather tenuous relationship with studios trying to limit costs and cinemas demanding more profit. Obviously.
Enter the Digital Cinema. The “saviour” of expensive distribution costs, big print overheads, scratched prints and heavy loads. The digital cinema release wants to be able to get their copy via a click of a button. This was all eight years ago.
Still digital cinemas are not the prevalent cinema. Studios fight with them because they don’t meet the technical requirements and initial investment is massive with no incentive to provide proof of return. Recently though 3D digital cinema has clearly stood out regarding quality and now there is value add for digital.
South Africa has many digital cinemas (its the ones where tickets are cheaper) and I wonder how and what the cost structures are for these cinemas.
If you are interested in opening your own cinema here is a great research piece on how-to:
What is a VPF?
The Virtual Print Fee (VPF) is a financing mechanism for funding the first purchase of digital cinema equipment. It is based on payment by a content-supplier of a fee per booking. The goal of the VPF is to achieve a neutral P&L for studios, such that the expense for delivering a digital print (including financing fee) pluf VPF is no greater than the cost of delivering a film print.
Payment of the VPF will terminate once the equipment expense is fully recouped. Conditions for receiving a VPF may include additional factors, including the use of DCI compliant equipment (see Digital Cinema Technology FAQs, and access to security logs. Such factors may vary from studio to studio.
Virtual Print Fee (VPF) Neutral Cost Structure
What is meant when an 3rd party deployment entity announces the signing of VPF agreements?
Several entities (such as AccessIT, DCIP, Arts Alliance Media, XDC, and others) have announced the signing of VPF agreements with a number of major film studios. The VPF agreement is made between a 3rd party integrator and a studio. The agreement simply says that the studio agrees to pay a certain fee per booking if certain conditions are met. It does not mean that the 3rd party integrator has the financial backing needed to roll out digital cinema, nor does it mean that exhibitors have signed up to the plan. With the exception of DCIP, who has approximately 14,500 participating screens guaranteed by its owners, relatively few theatre owners at this time have signed up to the several VPF financing deals now available.
Do I need to sign up with a 3rd party integrator to gain access to VPF financing?
Two studios are offering to pay direct VPFs to exhibitors, in addition to their agreements with 3rd party deployment entities. Invariably, these direct agreements are intended as a temporary arrangement, requiring the exhibitor to signup with a deployment entity to recoup the entire equipment cost. This is particularly true given that only two studios at the time of this writing are offering direct-to-exhibitor payments.
What are the challenges associated with financing digital cinema?
The relationship between parties is complex, making these deals difficult to understand and increasing the apparent risk. This is shown in the diagram below:
Virtual Print Fee (VPF) Relationship of Parties
The strength of the VPF is that it rests on the delivery of movies by multiple studios, which limits risk. Even if one studio were to cut back on the production of movies, the demand would likely be filled by other studios, resulting in a safe cash flow. However, the equipment required for the delivery of movies must meet the DCI specification, a requirement that no equipment actually complies with today. A test plan has been initiated to validate compliance with the specification, and testing of products has begun. However, no products are expected to 100% pass the complex set of tests, requiring the manufacturer to individually ask for approval from each of the major studios. This approval could be temporary until the product passes all tests. So while testing offers the promise of leveling the playing field and bringing confidence to the marketplace, it is unlikely to happen overnight. Depending on how the deal is constructed, the cost to upgrade equipment as further compliance is achieved is borne by either the exhibitor, the manufacturer, or the 3rd party integrator. Thus, the financial condition of the party that must bear this expense comes into play, adding an element of risk that would not exist if equipment fully met specification today. The current goal is for digital cinema equipment to fully meet the DCI specification in the 2010 timeframe.
Why can’t a studio simply credit our film rental?
The recent offer of direct payment of VPFs to exhibitors is as close to crediting film rentals as will be achieved.
Why is 3-D a driver for digital cinema, and what are the economics?
Digital cinema projectors are capable of projecting stereoscopic 3-D images with a level of quality and reliability not possible with film equipment or in the home (at least, not in the home without significant upgrade of equipment). Audiences have demonstrated a willingness to pay a ticket premium of 20-30% to view 3-D movies, and movie directors have demonstrated a strong appetitite for the creation of 3-D product, resulting in an expected release schedule of one 3-D movie per month throughout 2009 and 2010. Up until the introduction of digital 3-D, digital cinema introduced no new opportunity to increase box office revenue on weekend nights. This makes digital 3-D the primary value-add feature of digital cinema.
The economics of digital 3-D are affected by more than box office, however. The systems that studios are willing to finance through the virtual print fee are strictly 2-D. To project 3-D images requires add-on technology from companies such as RealD, Dolby, XpanD, or Master Image. This add-on technology comes at significant cost to the exhibitor, and must be calculated for in any evaluation of return-on-investment. The differences in the various add-on technologies is discussed further in our Digital Cinema Technology FAQs page.
Should I wait and buy used digital cinema equipment?
There are a few facts that allow one to safely predict that there will not be a significant used equipment market in digital cinema:
Unlike film projection equipment, digital projection equipment has an estimated 10 year lifetime. If you buy a projector that is 5 years old, then you have 5 years of life left. Lifetime is limited by parts availability and the obsolescence factors associated with high technology. While a part for an old film projector can be customed machined in the worst case, no such fall-back is possible with sophisticated digital equipment. Semiconductor technology changes quickly, and the investment required to re-engineer the circuit boards of old products with new parts is better put to work in developing entirely new products. If you’ve ever tried to repair a 10-year-old personal computer, then you understand the problem.
The capex required to replace older equipment with new equipment is simply too high for conducting an early replacement cycle. If exhibitors are struggling today to raise capex for 1st time digital equipment expenditures, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll go through the process again in 5 years. Consider that for DCIP screens, this would amount to $1B of capex every 5 years.
Any realistic strategy for purchasing equipment must take into account the limited lifetime it has and the re-investment in capex required every 10 years. Waiting to convert is not a bad strategy. Equipment prices, particularly those for smaller screens, are bound to improve, as is the digital supply chain itself. But if you are waiting for used equipment, you should consider the points above.
Is compliance with the DCI specification sufficient to receive a digital movie?
Technically, the answer is “yes.” But the interpretation of the DCI specification varies widely among studios. Some studios have a conservative interpretation and will withhold content if you don’t comply with every nuance, which can include motorized control of lenses and installation of a 5.1 sound system. Some studios are more pragmatic, and focus their concerns on basic quality level, security, and a common distribution format. In addition, some studios require the exhibitor to sign a separate digital rental addendum to the existing film rental agreement, which may stipulate further requirements that must be met prior to delivery of a movie.
HAPPY DAYS! I finally got my book from Scott Kirsner FRIENDS, FANS AND FOLLOWERS and am so amped to read it! In this vein my first post of the day is an article on the four types of fans. Remember the article on 100 true fans, this is a nice follow-up? At the end of this article Kirsner suggests a nice breakdown on percentage of each type of fan.
I had a meeting with my crew from THE FORUM (videos to be posted in the next couple of days) today and one of our topics was audience aggregation. This topic will become more important as it is the DIYS ideology becomes prominent. Finding and more importantly keeping an audience will become an art - maybe even a career in the future - perhaps one day you can have a business cards that reads Audience Aggregator. That might be cool.
Ultimately though it is the work that you do that speaks the loudest. However, doing good work doesn’t necessarily mean you will have an audience. They need to find you and the way they find you is that you actively seek them… its the circle, the circle of life….
One of the biggest questions is how do you spur your fans to actually do something? Once someone has joined your Facebook fan group, friended you on MySpace, or started following you on Twitter, how can you actually get them to buy a ticket, a DVD, a download, or some merch?
An important starting step, I’d suggest, is to start thinking about four different kinds of fans.
The Impulse Fan. The impulse fan sees a video you’ve made, or hears about your band from their roommate, and signs up to follow you on Twitter or joins your Facebook group. This fan will never do anything else — ever. They are good only for your ego: yesterday, you had 1000 followers on Twitter, and today you have 1001.
The Prospective / Occasional Fan. The prospective fan is someone who can be lured out to a show or screening, or convinced to buy a new CD/DVD, but with some effort. You may need to dangle free samples. You may need to offer a free ticket to a pre-release, top-secret, underground album listening party. You may need to mention that there will be free, limited edition t-shirts given to the first 25 people who show up. The prospective fan can be activated, with a little creative strategizing. They can be “converted” into an occasional fan, showing up every once in a while to your events or buying a book or digital album download every couple years. And they may even be transformed over time into a True Fan.
The True Fan. Kevin Kelly defined the True Fan as “someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name.” A True Fan will follow what you’re doing on your own site, your blog, your Twitter feed — wherever you choose to communicate. You shouldn’t ignore their care and feeding, but these fans have already been activated.
The Super Fan. The Super Fan is a True Fan who is willing to help you out in some way. In Fans, Friends & Followers, the singer-songwriter Jill Sobule says she has a super fan who built and helps manage her Web site. Cartoonist Dave Kellett talks about super fans who have given him a lift from the airport in their city to a local event, or have been willing to accept shipments of books on his behalf and cart them to a book signing. Jonathan Coulton says that super fans have helped him find a great concert venue in which to perform. Super Fans, if you ask nicely (and offer them copious thanks and credit) will post flyers for you in their city, or point you to the best bar for a post-screening cast party.
I don’t purport to have discovered all of the keys as to how you activate Prospective / Occasional Fans. But two things are certainly essential: making them feel part of your circle, and that you’re grateful for their support. Incentives and discounts and give-aways can help. So can events that feel special, secret, unique, limited in space, or invitation-only.
What do you think the typical breakdown is between these four types of fans, for the typical artist? Just to throw something out that you might think about, I’d suggest:
- 25 percent Impulse Fans,
- 50 percent Prospective / Occasional Fans,
- 20 percent True Fans, and
- 5 percent Super Fans.
Aah, Trulyfree blog is always a little bit of awesome. This time Ted has posted some sights that review Indie films. I hope the guys from Orgie, Party of Three and Capitalist Pigs make use of of any of these!! If you do - let me know and well post something onnit….
Ted has placed the name of the individual who recommended the site next to the blog (to spread more names of people doing stuff)
http://brendonbouzard.com/blog/ Brendon Bouzard
http://cinemaechochamber.blogspot.com/ Brandon Harris
http://wwww.cinematical.com Tze Chun
http://www.cinevegas.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://d2dvd.blogspot.com/ Bill Cunningham action,horror, pulp,sci-fi, thriller
http://www.filmthreat.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://www.filmschoolrejects.com Tze Chun
http://www.hammertonail.com/ Ted Hope
http://iradeutchman.com Christophe Lepage
http:/www.ironweedfilms.com Christophe Lepage
MyFiveYearPlan Brendon Bouzard
http://www.nerve.com/CS/blogs/screengrab/default.aspx Christophe Lepage
http://www.notcoming.com Tze Chun
http://www.sf360.org/blogs Christophe Lepage
http://www.spout.com Tze Chun & Christophe Lepage
http://twitchfilm.net/site/ Tze Chun
http://videocrity.blogspot.com/ Dave Nuttycombe
I am a member of Ironweedfilms and read Slashfilm OFTEN. Both these sites offer great indy information and enjoy the odd, the strange, the creative and unique, as I can imagine all these sites do. Hammer to nail is Ted’s site and is part of his site collective of which trulyfree is also part.
Enjoy, its a great resource… make use of it!
Last time I wrote about my favorite “creating fans” guru Scott Kirsner. NOw I found someone else who also has I wanted to share it with ya’ll..
Posted: Tue, June 09, 2009, 11:06 AM From Thompson on Hollywood
Cinematech blogger Scott Kirsner drank the digital Kool-aid some time back. So the author of 2007’s The Future of Web Video and 2008’s Inventing the Movies decided that he had to self-publish his newest book, Fans, Friends and Followers. “If I was writing that artists had to be their own entrepreneur,” he says, “then I had to do it too.”
For no up-front charge (and no advance), Kirsner selected his own fonts at Amazon’s CreateSpace. He sent a PDF of the cover and interior to upload. They sent him back galleys to correct and within 10 days of signing off, he had books on sale at Amazon, and collects a bigger percentage of royalties than a publisher would pay. “If I had waited for traditional publishing it would be out in the fall of 2010,” he says. “This stuff is timely, it’s not the history of MGM. It would have been stale.”
For the book, which has sold more than 10,000 copies, Kirsner interviewed three dozen do-it-yourself types in film and video, art and music, from internet pioneer and short video maker Ze Frank to animator M dot Strange. “Until the last three to four years,” says Kirsner, “you made a film and either you picked up a distributor at SXSW or Sundance, or not. There was no plan B. You never thought about what might happen, how to get the movie out there. I tried to talk to people about Plan B.”
In 2006, Strange persuaded the Sundance Film Festival to play his film We Are the Strange at a midnight screening at the Egyptian by using his YouTube following to prove that he had an audience. He then distributed the film through Film Baby and via YouTube (with a DVD click-through button) in April 2008. According to Kirsner, he made enough money to not only pay off the debt from the film, but to finance his next one.
Here’s the trailer:
The agricultural documentary King Corn debuted at SXSW in 2007, went on to other festivals, had a theatrical run, aired on PBS in April 2008, and was one of the biggest selling films on iTunes. Aaron Wolff, Ian Cheney, Curt Ellis and their team kept building a database of fans in FileMaker, then created an email list on Constant Contact. They barraged their fans with new info, updated their website constantly, and kept the promo stream going by guest-blogging at different sites that they knew would be receptive to the film’s green subject matter. Here’s the trailer:
“A lot of online communities are interested in what you’re doing, whether it’s a sci-fi movie or a documentary about U.S. future policies,” says Kirsner. “With the internet there’s a direct link between that review or write-up and where you buy a book. People are closer to the transaction. There’s a lot of innovation in terms of business models. People are trying different things. With places like Home Star Runner, which avoids advertising and built their model on selling t-shirts, merchandise and DVDs, or Lulu and CreateSpace, you can see there’s a whole new infrastructure, a new pathway for getting books, DVDs, and CDs out there.”
But DIY takes work, Kirsner admits: “The promotional energy has to come from you, using blogs and Twitter and getting people to write about your project. It’s a whole new world. There are no more sugar daddies taking care of problems. With the old school Hollywood dynamic you had to shuck and jive to get observed by a talent agent, that was the only path to making it. Now you do what you want to get noticed and build up an audience. Then you have a choice to do a deal with a studio or record company, or do your own thing. Some will do it, some will not. But you don’t have to wait around and cross your fingers and hope.”
Kirsner has been working overtime to get out the word on his book. He’s created a Power Tool Wiki that lists tools for building an online fan base. Here are some reviews, including Wired editor Chris Anderson, who log-rolled thusly:
“Making a living in the Long Tail means taking matters into your own hands, crafting a marketing strategy that’s just right for you and your work. This book compiles the stories of those who’ve done it best. You’ll get ideas from every one of them. Inspiring and incredibly useful—Kirsner’s assembled a playbook for the social media age.”
Films mostly have no home. Theater is hard to get to and there are millions of DVD’s to choose from. There is however another option, television. Oh yes friends, pay television is now giving Indy film a second wind and a new place for exhibition.
Getting independent films into cinemas, never easy, has become much harder in the past year. Some specialist distributors, such as Warner Independent Pictures, have closed and others are buying fewer films. The credit crunch and the strong dollar have cut foreign sales. Meanwhile cheap digital-video cameras and editing software have produced a flood of content. Some 5,500 films are chasing buyers in Cannes this year. Last year just 606 new films were released in American cinemas. Many lost money. “The economics just do not make sense,” says Jonathan Sehring of IFC, an independent distributor.
Hence the rapid growth of an alternative. This year IFC will release about 100 films “on demand”, meaning they can be called up for a fee in most households that get their television via cable or satellite. Many will be available on the same day that they first appear at film festivals such as Sundance and South by Southwest. Later this year IFC plans to launch a new on-demand channel to showcase documentary films. Cinetic, a powerful independent-film broker, will also get into the game this summer. Most radical of all is Magnolia, a distributor which has inverted the traditional release schedule for many films. Next month it will release “The Answer Man”, a comedy starring Jeff Daniels, on cable. The film will only appear in cinemas four weeks later.
The reason for the rush is that, for low-budget films, the economics of video on demand do make sense. Cable companies, which take a cut when they sell a film, help with advertising. Mr Sehring says IFC makes about as much when a film is sold on demand as when a punter buys a cinema ticket, even though the ticket costs almost twice as much. He reckons he recoups his costs and returns money to filmmakers more than half the time—not bad for films that might otherwise have disappeared without trace.
So ja. As film makers in South Africa we should also consider making films for TV. At least you know you have an audience and a budget.
Read Full Article
Reading my daily digital newspaper (Google Reader) I found this article on foreign sales on Truly Free Film. Ted asks a colleague to explain how do foreign sales come up with the numbers. In short, based on a budget percentage, but it doesn’t end there by any means.
After this interesting read I was lead to Wall Street Journal for another article on the dismal state of foreign sales at the moment. It discusses the lack of interest in American cinema and the boost of local content world wide. I thought this was great news because SA now just has to catch up with the trend.
Enjoy the read!
*Glen Basner on Truly Free Film*
There are many factors in determining what a territorial license fee should be, a percentage of the budget is only one. These are standard amounts that are “typical” for an individual territory based on what distributors have paid historically (Yes, the world has changed quite a bit recently!). I don’t believe that they apply in singular fashion unless you are contemplating some form of output deal.
On a single picture license, a distributor will want to know what the budget level is so that: a) they understand what the production value will be; and b) they can feel comfortable that they are not paying an excessive amount in relation to the cost of the film. These are valid points but what people forget is that ultimately the budget of the film does not necessarily have a correlation with its success at the box office (Blair Witch etc).
Our approach is to think like a distributor and run estimates, both revenue and expense, for a film in all media to determine a low, base and high value a film is likely to have in any given territory. With these estimates we can back into a license fee figure that would allow for a distributor to make money should the film turn out well. The budget comes into play if the sum total of our international estimates do not raise enough money to finance a film.
Excerpt Wall Street Journal
Indie Films Suffer Drop-Off in Rights Sales
* APRIL 20, 2009
In the latest challenge to the American movie business, a crucial source of funding for independent films; sales of foreign-distribution rights, is rapidly drying up.
For decades, independent movie producers in the U.S. have routinely been able to fund their films by selling the rights to distribute them abroad. If the production featured a big-name actor or director, the rights were often sold before the movie was finished, providing producers with 50% or more of their production budget.
In addition, shifting tastes in many markets have favored local films over American fare. The breakout success in France of “Welcome to the Sticks” last year and, more recently, “LOL (Laughing Out Loud),” has persuaded some distributors to stick with products made on their native ground.
“The success of local movies has diminished the demand for U.S. movies that don’t have a cross-territorial appeal,” says Bill Block, a veteran film financier who bought “The Blair Witch Project” a decade ago and went on to found QED International, a film production and foreign-sales company.
Read Full Article
For those interested in this topic here’s another article about indie film and the internet relationship. Having been written last year, some of the stats may have changed. The idea and the people behind it are still there though and that’s the point. On a note, I found this article on WIRED. I find this great because film is again so intertwined with tech that making a film has garnered another dimension. That’s all.
The process is very different from using the Web to sell theater tickets or even DVDs. “Companies always wonder why they don’t see more tangible results” from using social networking or viral videos to promote traditional films, he said. “It’s because you are asking people who live their entire life online to then leave their computer, go out of the house, go to a theater, and buy a ticket.”
Dentler and C.R.M. recognize that the tipping point for online film consumption hasn’t been reached yet, though they anticipate rapid growth soon. (In this, they’re not alone. The Web video site Jaman boldly, if somewhat self-servingly, predicts that the online video distribution business worldwide will grow to $12 billion a year by 2012 from the current $2 billion.)
“It is certainly being utilized, but primarily by younger consumers, college kids or recent college graduates,” Dentler said. “I think Christmas 2008 is going to be an incredibly big season for the acceptance and the accessibility of a lot of this material and a lot of this hardware because giant HD televisions are going to have this capability programmed in.”
Google unable to renew license with PRS
Taken from Variety
LONDON. Google Inc. said Monday it will block U.K. users from watching music videos on its popular video-sharing site YouTube after negotiations with Britain’s music royalty-collecting body broke down.
Google said it would begin blocking British users starting Monday night. The Internet titan said it knew the move would cause “significant disappointment.” But it said its hand was forced by PRS for Music, which it said is asking for royalties that would cause Google to lose money every time a video was played on YouTube.
“Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we’ve been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us,” Google said in a statement. Until a solution is found, it added, “we will be blocking premium music videos in the U.K. that have been supplied or claimed by record labels.”
PRS for Music, which collects money on behalf of writers and publishers worldwide, said it was outraged by Google’s move.
“Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing,” the group said in a statement.
Still more news from the Deutsche Bank 17th Annual Media And Telecommunications Conference: Bob Iger said Walt Disney Co is considering creating a subscription-based online movie and TV rental service from the company’s huge video library. It could be an online Disney video club that mails DVDs or downloads video files to members.
By Nikki Finke on Tue, Mar 3rd, 2009 at 05:32PM
Now you can be your own cinema with your Iphone an empty room and this little device….
By AZADEH ENSHA
Published: February 18, 2009
New York Times
Miniprojectors are a dime a dozen these days, which is why most don’t stand out from the pack. Fortunately the same can’t be said about AAXA Technologies P1 Pico Projector
In addition to its six-ounce weight and 640-by-480-pixel resolution, the P1 offers one gigabyte of memory, a microSD slot and an onboard media player, which means the P1 can decode most media formats and play them straight from the projector.
Additional features include a built-in speaker, 1,000-to-1 contrast ratio and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. The battery, which can be replaced, lasts 45 to 60 minutes, depending on speaker use.
The AAXA P1 Pico Projector is available from the company’s online store (aaxatech.com) for $260. You can also buy a $15 AAXA P1 iPod A/V cable so you can adapt audio and video files to your Apple iPhone, iPod and iTouch.
Three of the most thoughtful and high-energy DIY filmmakers around; Lance Weiler, M dot Strange, and Arin Crumley have launched a new kind of online festival.
Called ‘From Here to Awesome,’ they’re accepting submissions of full-length features and shorts right now. As with all festivals, the goal is to bring more attention to deserving work — and the FHTA crew plan to use the Internet to achieve that, rather than, say, inviting a couple thousand friends to a snowy ski town in Utah.
There are no submission fees, and the festival will connect the “top ten” filmmakers with scads of distribution opportunities. (Most of these are distribution opps that any filmmaker can take advantage of without being part of FHTA, but the festival has prizes — like free DVD replication of your movie, or free E&O insurance.) There will also be a “virtual conference” later this spring…. which seems like something to stay tuned for…
You will see one my first posts here is about1000 True Fans. D.I.Y. presents an insightful panel that takes a look into what is really needed to aggregate that 1000 keep them “live” and help them help you.
The future of independent film is not in content aggregation, which is quickly becoming commoditized, but in audience aggregation. Sustainability for filmmakers lies directly in the hands of the audience. Direct to audience models have shaken the core of the music industry. But the power of Kevin Kelly’s “1,000 true fans” seems good in theory but where do you start? What are the steps to building an audience around your work and most importantly how do you keep the conversation going? Discussion Leader: Saskia Wilson-Brown (Current TV) - Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) - Micki Krimmel (expert in social media and online community) - Alex Johnson (digital media strategist / filmmaker) - Lance Weiler (The Last Broadcast, Head Trauma)
This post is focused for business people but with a little imagination you can use these steps for your own film. Have a look, bookmark it and read it again when you actually have a film project going.
Many folks ask how to go about creating social media for their company. As a service to the industry, find here an open source version of a draft social media content development process.
This process is general enough to guide development of specific initiatives. It does not recommend blogging or video, per say. Rather the process allows content creation to move towards the market’s needs, and within the company’s resources. There are 14 steps in all:
1) Clearly articulate who your stakeholders are before you begin.
2) Clearly articulate the key issues these stakeholders care about as it relates to your offering. Use a bulleted list with no more than three or four words per item.
3) Begin by researching which, if any, top bloggers are discussing these issues. Use your bulleted list to search. The following are good places to start:
- Google Blogsearch
- Ask.com Blogsearch
4) Inevitably, any substantial subject matter area has a back channel where top bloggers and influencers chat. For example, PR and marketing bloggers and tend to connect on Facebook, Twitter, and to some extent, LinkedIn. This back channel can yield powerful connections to highly influential minds who may not have blogs with top statistical ranking.
Found link on Trulyfreefilm
This is a creative industry and so when we’re in a tight spot we either use gaffer tape or get creative. Finding money creatively -
As banks increasingly opt out of funding, directors are using new ways to raise revenue to make movies.
Wanted: 1,700 brave investors each willing to shell out $30 for a credit as a co-executive producer on an independent movie about New York’s illegal graffiti street-art scene. The reward: striking a “blow for artistic freedom.”
That’s the pitch espoused by tyro filmmaker Alice.ia Carin in a full-page ad that ran recently in the Nation magazine, a fundraising attempt for her film “Don’t See This.” Carin also promised to send profits from the currently unproduced soundtrack, book and film to “help fund [New York City] public school programs in music and fine arts.”
By Rachel Abramowitz
November 23, 2008 in print edition E-1