Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Eugene Hernandez Digitizes FilmLinc

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Eugene Hernandez might need to clone himself. The indieWIRE chief, already known for his ability to be nearly everywhere at the right time in independent and arthouse film, will now take over the newly created role of Director of Digital Strategy for the Film Society of Lincoln Center and will give up his editorial duties, while maintaining “a link” to the online indie trade.

This can only be a good thing for FSLC, who have been refining their digital presence over the last year but face a challenge to reconcile an old school audience with new tools of engagement.

RiP, Snag, Friends, and Followers: Quick Hits

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Some recent news of note:

RiP: A Remix Manifesto premiered at SXSW and has been ‘picked up’ in the US by B-Side, whose DIY model will presumably avert some of the bigger copyright issues that might be a problem for regular distributors.

Snag! Films has made a deal with Hulu to place films on that site. This begs the question for filmmakers of whether, when they license their film to one online market, they are permitting that company to resell their film elsewhere (presumably cutting into whatever revenue there might be). It’s probably a good idea in general to look at contracts closely to see if this is the case- and to be clear about who you want to sell to and who you want as a representative.

Cinematech
guru Scott Kirsner’s new book “Fans, Friends, & Followers” streets today- and is available both in physical and virtual versions. I hope to have more to say once I’ve had a chance to read it, but as Scott asks for examples of business models that work in the online realm, I’ll just say that in terms of the selling of art and fundamental things that make it successful no matter what realm we’re in, I think that having people at the core who are both true fans of the work AND good businesspeople/entrepreneurs is the most important aspect. The how seems like it will follow naturally after that.

HBO's digital strategy- "cautious"

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I didn’t pick this up last month when it was going down, but in mid-July, Sean Atkins, SVP of HBO Digital Media, ankled the company.  This comes only a year after he was hired from Yahoo! and HBO fired almost the entire Digital Media team that had been based in LA (the office subsequently moved to NYC).

What’s interesting about this story is that unlike many other big media companies, HBO has really not gone full-force into digital, preferring to use the web for marketing and promotion of their broadcast programming rather than for content delivery.

The question for a lot of smaller companies, and a lot of filmmakers, is just where to ride that line- you don’t want to get left behind on a new revenue source, as so many did with DVD, but there is little sense in sinking resources into a ‘market’ that at this point could simply reduce more lucrative sales (either advertising or DVD) by diffusing the options for consumers.

HBO has made a reputation by offering a premium product that does not have mass access.  There are still ways for that to translate digitally but it doesn’t make as much sense.  It’s no wonder they have had trouble developing a successful digital division- but with their lucrative catalog, they could begin to find themselves on the wrong side of the line soon.

Sony's "Open Market" could open the Digital Market- a little

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

TechCrunch reports today on a move by the major studios to protect digital media through a DRM scheme called Open Market.  Rather than bow to the the individual protections of a single retailer, otherwise known as iTunes, the studios are working with about 30 different retailers and portals, including Amazon, Best Buy, Direct TV, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, Target, Wal-Mart, and others to create a system whereby any digital media available through the participating companies would be subject to third party encryption that would only work on registered devices.  (Essentially, you could only play the movie on a device you had registered in advance for the purpose of ‘using’ that file).

This could be good news for indies, since it has been shown time and again how distasteful these kind of DRM methods are to consumers, who want to be able to use media they paid for when and where they want it, as they would a DVD.  If indies are able to market their downloadable products on Amazon or other portals as DRM-free (or at least, not “Open Market”) it may be a selling point.

News Round-Up 6/5/08

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Updates from around the nets:

Time Warner Cable
has created tiered broadband pricing. After 40G of downloads, you will pay extra. An alternative perhaps to net-favouritism strategies like slowing traffic, the plan may impinge the flow of BitTorrent and other piracy-laden file sharing methods. On the other hand, coming just at a time when the market for media online is about to break, the strategy could have retarding consequences. But won’t some other company just come along and offer unlimited access and grab TW’s customer base? I guess they aren’t worried.

Netflix expects to double their subscriber base in the next 10 years, with streaming leading the way- clearly this is the service customers desire. But will this model produce revenue for filmmakers? If Netflix can own serious marketshare (and they are making good inroads) the key will be in the contracts.

Hot on the heels of Netflix’s Roku set-top box release comes the Verismo Box, which allows users to show downloaded content directly on a TV without any computer required. Not only can users watch YouTube, Amazon Unbox, and CinemaNow, but any other media they download from BitTorrent- making it a potential Pirate’s Apple TV.

Of course, soon the kids will just make their own boxes.