The Advent of Online Film Distribution

December 15th, 2012 by

The outfit with this infographic is called Yekra. You can check them out here.

All you indie filmmakers out there, what’s your take on this?

14 thoughts on “The Advent of Online Film Distribution

  1. Bryan Colley says:

    This is old news to me. I’m on the verge of buying a home theatre projector, which means never going to a movie theatre again. I’ve only been to the movie theatre twice this year anyway.

    Between Netflix and Youtube and the public library, I never pay for movies outside of the monthly Netflix subscription. I haven’t had cable for years.

    I get out of the house and spend my extra money by supporting live theatre.

    One thing I’ve noticed… When you’re steaming you’re not locked in to movie theatre and television schedules. Running time matters less and less. A video can be 5 min, 15, 40, 80, 170 minutes. Whatever you need to tell the story. The future won’t be about what fits into a time slot.

    1. Scott says:

      Bryan, I completely agree with your last point. We see this already on YouTube. The whole idea of a “movie” in terms of what we expect re time/length is going through a major transition. What’s ironic about it is we could be going ‘backward’ toward the way movies were viewed [time-wise] in the beginning of the format. First Nickelodeons. Then two-reelers, three-reelers, and up as technology advanced, and consumers wanted more for their buck, eventually up to eight-reels. Not sure if we’ll ever fade away from the general expectation of 100-120 minutes for a feature-length film, but certainly are and will continue to see a wide variety of time-lengths for movies from here on out.

  2. Joshua Atkin says:

    I have already bought a projector. Nothing special. Just a good low res 1280/720 type thing. But put it behind the couch on the counter and bam, home theater. I mostly do this because I don’t have the money to go see every movie I want to, which is every single movie.I want to know what people are thinking and feeling and saying so I can be the best filmmaker/artist possible. But I cannot afford it. I can invest $200 in a projector and torrent everything I want (although I never torrent new artists’ work (those who really need the money)). Plus I can pause whatever I’m watching if I need to go to the bathroom or if I want a snack or drink. AND I don’t have to worry about strangers disrupting my experience. It seems sad at first that we are moving away as a community, staying in our homes, not going out as much, but this is just the beginning. We are already starting to come together for “movie” parties. Collecting in small groups and hanging out at the person’s house with the biggest t.v. or best projector and sound system. Hopefully there is a little discussion about the film afterward but maybe not. As long as we continue to come together and enjoy each other’s presence in laughter, debate and are honest with each other. Everything will be okay.

    1. Bryan Colley says:

      If I can’t push pause, I don’t watch it.

    2. Jeremy Dylan says:

      (although I never torrent new artists’ work (those who really need the money))

      But you don’t know who ‘needs’ the money. None of us really do. I doubt there’s a film that’s ever been made that doesn’t distribute some of its profits to people who are counting on that money.

      But regardless or whether they need it, don’t they deserve it? They managed to make something you want to see, so don’t they deserve your money? If not, why not? And why do you ‘need’ to watch it? Why do you deserve to?

  3. matthewlaunder says:

    I just had to comment on these people talking about taking away from the theater experience by getting a projector… You can see pretty much anything at an AMC theater, at the matinee price, for $5. Will you see it opening weekend? No. But you won’t at home, either. To equal out to an incredibly cheap $200 projector, that’s 40 movies a year you could see at five bucks a pop. If you had a $500 projector, it’s nearly a hundred movies. That’s almost more than you could realistically see at any cinema. Sure, there are some benefits to seeing movies at home — like your bathroom, the Pause button, and the refrigerator… But there’s nothing like seeing a movie where you are a part of the gasps and the cries and the laughters and the cheers of the audience. I wish a theater company would invest in a pro-movie-goer type of reward system, where you can go and have it be guaranteed that no one will be talking, texting, etc — almost like an elite movie watching club. That would better the experience, in my opinion. I would gladly pay an extra few dollars to see something and know that absolutely no cell phones will be used during the showing.

    But as for torrents and downloads and pause buttons, I have to say that I’m a bit ashamed. Every time you illegally download a movie, you’re stealing residuals from that writer! It’s kind of like food… If you can’t afford to have steak every night, it doesn’t mean you have the right to steal it from the grocery store. There are real people, with real families, who get paid off their residuals on reruns and On-Demand orders of their movies. I’m tolerant on a lot of things; and stealing from fellow writers is not one of them. Just saying. If a $1.99 rental and download on iTunes is too expensive, then you should rethink your budgets. But at least waiting for things to reach TV or Red Box, you’re still supporting writers. What if it was you or your family who was collecting the residual checks? You wouldn’t much like other people just “torrenting” because they can. Ugh.

  4. Jeremy Dylan says:

    I find it all a bit sad. I’ve yet to have an experience of watching a film at home, even on a bit TV, that can equal the experience of going out at night and watching a great print with an attentive audience. Particularly comedies, but anything with scope is greatly enhanced by being seen in a cinema.

    And it’s still very cheap to go see a movie in the cinema in the US. Every time I’ve been, it’s cost me between $10 and $13.50, which is $6 cheaper than what it costs me here in Australia. Even with that price, I still go about once a week.

    And not having a pause button is a virtue. You have to sit there for the length of the movie and experience it as a whole, like the filmmakers intended. No distractions.

    This devaluing of film and music as we head toward a renting or subscription based entertainment culture saddens me.

  5. As a UK screenwriter with an interest in producing British made films as part of an indigenous film industry, I’m heartened by all this. The current stranglehold the big US groups have on disribution in the UK severely hampers us at the moment. Whilst I hanker for the days of weekly cinema vists, as a father of four kids, that’s already a fantasy. The opportunity to get British stories out there onslightly more level playing field is exciting. Bring it on!

  6. brianb18 says:

    This is an interesting graphic but I’m confused about the Day and Date Release part.

    I think that means the release of dvd or video on demand at the same time as a theatrical release, or festival in the case of inie. Is that correct?

    If so, I’m guessing the advantage is to get many more eyeballs on the film to take advantage of any buzz as opposed to having to wait for standard distribution.

    But why is that? Thanks for any clarification.

    1. What they mean is that for movies unlikely to hit any critical mass through theatrical release, they can offer a distribution and enhanced cost structure similar to Video on Demand/PPV.

      It’s like PPV. First run movie targeted at a specific, niche and *paying* audience. Instead of the huge cost of going theatrical, you can set up that kind of distribution real cheap.

  7. DailyStaley says:

    I love the theatrical experience. I don’t like opening night when it’s crammed , I prefer a weekday matinee but I love the huge screen, the sound. I love that I can’t pause, the show goes on with or without me so I better get squared away first.

    But I grew up in rural Alaska without a television and untill I was a teenager could count on my hands the times I’d been to a theater. I would go to the movies every day if I could. I still go as often as I can, not often enough.

    It’s cool to be able to make films and put them on the web and have potentially thousands or even millions of people see them. It’s cool that for less than the price of an IMAX ticket I rented 3 films and downloaded them to my iPad for viewing on my 16 hour flight to Thailand in a few days. Movies I sadly missed in a theater.

    But if the theatrical experience ever goes away it will be a sad sad day.

  8. Lily Smith says:

    I’m going to speak as both an audience member and a filmmaker.

    As a filmmaker: My personal opinion is that most indie filmmakers of the “DIY ethos” who think film festivals and other such gatekeepers are going to be extinct in 15 years because of the internet are deranged. I’d say it’s a detriment to hold on to fleeting hope that the internet will give you the career you want (because you’ve obviously not been successful at attaining it through traditional means) simply because it allows you to create stuff and “distribute” it. 99% of it is noise. Take note, when was the last time we actually saw any of the projects funded on Kickstarter anywhere? At the end of the day the people who pay to see films in a theater are the people we’re marketing to anyway. People who need the “conveniences” of watching content at home, it’s just a means of trying to convince them to consume it. I think researchers always leave out of the equation the competing media that we have in 2012 that we didn’t have back in 1992, or even in 2002.

    As an audience member: I agree with the above posts. I visit the cinema multiple times a week and gladly hand over my hard earned money to continue watching visually stunning, professional produced features alongside an engaged audience that claps, laughs, and cries at the images they see on screen. Part of being in that dark theater for me is the swelling of joy when I see, if for a tiny second, how important films are to people. I write not for myself but for those anonymous folks who pay to see these narratives. I love sitting alongside them and hearing their reactions to the films. That alone is worth the price of admission.

    1. Bryan Colley says:

      As an audience member, I get all of that and more with live theatre, and the performers can actually hear our applause and feel appreciated.

      Movies have become the thing I do at home, but when I go out I want a live show and I want to support my local artists, including local filmmakers. And you can actually be friends the the local celebrities. It’s much more fulfilling that movies.

  9. Hawkewood says:

    Overall, I view it much in the same way as e-book self publishing.

    I see it as good and bad. Good in that a lot of films that get passed over for distribution because big studios are afraid to take a chance on them now have a venue for self distribution. Bad, in that there will be a glut of films, both good and bad. That glut may confuse and overwhelm the viewers.

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