2.2 The changing life cycle of the film
In this video, Alex Hamilton describes how technology and economics are producing pressure points along the value chain.
This system of controlled release has developed not by accident, but because the industry has created a system intended to make as much money as possible from an individual film.
For example, people see a film in cinemas because they enjoy the cinema experience, but also because they can’t yet see the film in any other way. Windows evolve and change over time. VoD only started taking off quite recently, in the 2000s. The airlines used to be a much later window, back when only one film was available on a flight. But now, having individual screens on planes has increased the demand for films and brought the window forward.
The system – sometimes referred to as an economics of scarcity – is vulnerable, however, in an age of digital technology. Pirated DVDs are attractive when commercial DVDs are not available in shops. So more and more independent films are released in different ways – for example, VoD alongside cinema.