While the digital age has changed the entire movie industry dramatically, the rise of VoD has changed the indie business most acutely. Some time back, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas spoke their mind at the USC School Of Cinematic Arts, where among their dire predictions—the implosion of the “tentpole” blockbuster paradigm, a theatrical experience more akin to Broadway shows or football games than multiplexes, brain implants—they talked about the migration of personal or niche-oriented movies to VoD. “What used to be the movie business, in which I include television and movies,” said Lucas, “will be Internet television.” For Hollywood, such a future is still several steps away; for Indies, however, the future is now.
Certain fundamental changes have occurred in the independent market as a result of VoD. Moviegoers are changing their habits. Distributors are changing their release strategies. And to accommodate all the parties, arthouses are changing their projection booths and their programming in order to survive. We can safely guess that these changes are profound and transformative, and that the indie business will continue to evolve (or devolve) at a breathless pace.
Here’s a look at the key factors driving Indie cinema’s growth through VoD :-
- Debuting a film on VoD can potentially put it in more than 50 million living rooms where viewers can watch not just through Comcast and other cable and satellite outlets, but through iPods and Xbox 360 game consoles.
- VoD has become a new source of income for virtually no additional cost. There are no theatrical prints to deliver or discs to press. And it comes with free advertising, thanks to the trailers cable operators run to promo available VoD titles.
- VoD providers, eager to lure customers with content they can’t get in many other places, heavily promote VoD debuts through TV ads and callouts on the main VoD channel.
Releasing a film theatrically is expensive; historically, if the theatrical release wasn’t a success, distributors would have to wait three months or longer to release the film on DVD or elsewhere. But now, distributors can coordinate all of the publicity efforts for the theatrical release to include the on-demand release. Most independent films aren’t sitting on large marketing budgets, so to be able to market both a theatrical and Video on Demand release at the same time is very efficient.
Lot of theaters and production houses still detest the day-and-date and Ultra-VoD releases, claiming it would dent the box office business. The less of a stigma there is surrounding a VoD or day-and-date release, the more VoD releases we’ll see, especially as fewer small films have a shot at theatrical distribution, which means there’s already a glut of VoD releases vying for attention.
At Muvi, we encourage the VoD model for independent cinema, knowing how difficult it becomes to survive the onslaught of major white label studio flicks and yet showcase a movie with great content. Hence, we brought in a completely customizable Do It Yourself VoD Platform for content creators and studios to help them publish their work and take it to the kind of audience they want to.
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