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The business of film
The business of film

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5 Digital solutions

This week has demonstrated how important it is to work out the route a film will take to reach the viewer, and customer. You have examined the concept of ‘windows’ of distribution and seen how integral the cinema box office still remains to a film’s success, even though it may not be profitable in itself.

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Figure 5 Cinema

In response to the changes in market conditions, producers are innovating in their use of digital technology to manage uncertainty about consumer demand. There are two strategies to make this happen:

  • The first is harnessing the power of internet-enabled content (extra video, online games, cross-platform storytelling) and dissemination tools (social networks, blogs, streaming and download services). These can increase consumer demand and revenues by creating a more popular experience or product. Further, they allow new marketing strategies including social media data mining, crowd financing, early stage audience engagement and hugely increased consumer interaction.
  • The second strategy is to dodge some of the traditional segments of the film value chain in order to take a greater share of revenues. Traditional models of returning investment are based on territory-by-territory, consecutive distribution of each analogue product in a strictly imposed series of windows. Whereas, digital dissemination of film (or any media or message) is essentially global and immediate.

But it’s not just about adopting a new technology. Applying these tools alongside new relationships across and between segments of the film value chain has the potential to be a radical innovation. This may offer solutions to the economic downside of ‘digital disruption’, and challenge the concept of the film value chain as a stabilising mechanism to manage uncertainty in distribution.

Coming up in Week 4

Next week you’ll start to look at how films get financed. This is often the most difficult part of the film-making process, and a stage that stops many films projects in their tracks. Go to Week 4 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .