2.2 The future
Charles Moore is adamant that the industry is about to experience real change. He foresees a very difficult future for the independent producer. In this activity, you'll hear his views and see whether you agree.
Activity 2 The future of independent film
Watch this video clip. Do you agree with Charles’ view about the future for independent features? And do you agree with his analysis of the power game in film today? Note down your thoughts in the box below.
Now consider distribution. As you have learned, the windows system shifts a little in timing as technology changes but remains essentially intact.
The cinema is still seen as the first release window and can make or break a film financially. The success of film in subsequent windows for most major independent releases is dependent on success at the box office, even if the box office itself is not profitable.
But is the film industry you have learned about on this course changing?
Activity 3 The future of distribution
What do you think will happen to distribution in the future? How could the market for independent film change? Note down your thoughts in the box below. The discussion will then present some thoughts from a few of the course contributors.
Ben Roberts from the British Film Institute and Ollie Madden join Charles in considering what the future holds for film distribution and what the appetite is for feature films among audiences bombarded by so much choice.
There are a lot of potential future changes to the market for feature films and the value chain, resulting from digital technology innovations and convergence:
- the continued growth of internet downloads and video-on-demand
- the digitisation of the whole film-making process making possible ultra low budget film-making as well as extraordinary visual effects
- the digitisation of cinema screens, which reduces physical distribution costs and makes possible the cinema release of niche films and back catalogue as well as alternative content such as live opera and TV premieres
- the short-circuiting of the value chain, by producers’ theoretical ability to market and distribute their films directly to the consumer – though attracting audiences is still an issue
- the increasing role in distribution and production of internet-based retail players like Netflix, Amazon and Apple/iTunes.
The harder question is how all this change will impact on the value chain. While people may pay to view their films in different ways, it has been suggested by some that the basic economics of the film industry may not be substantially altered by these changes.