This blog is focused on Digital Distribution and new media. The link to our Digital Distribution Guide on our site is below. Recently, I’ve been thinking about the emerging distribution film festivals are offering to filmmakers. Unofficially TriBeCa noted that they will start being a full on distributor for about 10 – 12 films, but mostly name-driven films, so there’s that limitation. This will sometimes include theatrical and also DVD and definitely key VOD and digital platforms they are resolving with (Comcast, Charter, Cox, Time Warner) under the TriBeCa brand. Sundance is offering theatrical exhibition for one day at its affiliated Art House screens across the country for 8 films. The pending announcement of the Amazon VOD Digital Pass to Sundance is great, it’s just one platform (it should be noted that I have not heard a peep about this since Amazon first noted it to me a couple months ago. Some Sundance films will be exhibited on YouTube, that much is true). We keep encouraging festivals to behave like The Collaborative and extend distribution to more films and more platforms. Studios are working with theatres on narrowing the gap in windows between theatrical, DVD and VOD and remunerating theatres accordingly and I have always suggested alternative modes of public exhibition such as split screens, calendar bookings and event screenings in close tandem with all other distribution to best utilize marketing and awareness and finally the studios and theatres are following suit. I’ll expand on this soon.
Some key updates that tickle my fancy:
- DIGITAL LOCKER: The concept of a Digital Locker is being tested whereby one price would be paid for the right to access the film digitally on any and all platforms for a one-time fee.
- NETFLIX announced Best Buy as latest instant movie streaming partner. CinemaNow also has a partnership with Best Buy. NETFLIX also announced its plans to have its streaming be international next year. This coupled with pan territory iTunes distribution potential and Sundance Channel having a platform channel in France, Benelux and Singapore so far, and other territories coming soon suggests the real viable option of worldwide digital distribution.
- HULU announced it plans to offer a subscription service. Can it compete in film???
- COMCAST’S On Demand Service will go live in December. Details of Comcast’s On Demand Online service surfaced at the NewTeeVee Live conference with the big news being that the service will launch next month. Comcast Interactive Media President Amy Banse didn’t give a specific launch date for the service that will put popular TV content onto PCs, but she said it would launch before Hanukkah, which starts Dec. 11. On Demand Online, which is Comcast’s version of Time Warner’s TV Everywhere, has been in beta testing with 5,000 users since July. Comcast currently has 24 programmers lined up to provide content to On Demand Online via Comcast.net and Fancast.com. The service is free to Comcast’s subscribers. Banse said when Comcast subscribers log on to either of the sites for the first time to use the service, a Move Networks player and authentication device will be downloaded. The authentication device will allow subscribers to access the same content they currently pay for, such as HBO on Demand, on their PCs. Banse said customers can authenticate up to three devices. “Breaking news: You’ll be able to use it both in the home and out of the home,” Banse said.
- VERIZON announced: In the five years since the FiOS network was first deployed, Verizon has introduced the only national fiber-to-the-home TV service and has been an industry leader in high-definition TV; pioneered blistering broadband speeds of 50 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 20 Mbps upstream; and blurred the lines between cable TV and Internet with, among other tools, an interactive media guide that merges content from broadcast TV, the Internet and a customer’s private photo, video and music files.The FiOS platform, capable of integrating Internet and TV functions, has fostered the development of dynamic new on-screen TV widgets that enrich the entertainment experience by linking Web resources to what appears on-screen. Verizon’s Facebook and Twitter widgets, for example, turn static TV into social TV by letting subscribers connect with others while watching their favorite shows. FiOS TV’s RedZone and ESPN Fantasy Sports widgets convert a living room into a virtual sports bar, with instant access to statistics, scores, news and real-time critical plays.
- Now on shelves: Flo TV’s Personal Television.
Mobile television provider Flo TV’s first independent device hit store shelves today.
The portable television, dubbed Flo TV Personal Television, is currently available at Amazon.com and Best Buy. RadioShack will begin selling the device in the coming weeks. “The Flo TV Personal Television is a dedicated device for consumers’ on-the-go lifestyle that is perfect for sharing with friends and family, as well as for personal viewing time,” said Bill Stone, president of Flo TV. As part of the launch, Flo TV is providing six months of service free with the purchase of the device, which retails for $250. The Personal Television features a touchscreen and a 3.5- inch QVGA display Click here!. The device’s battery supports more than five hours of viewing time and 300 hours on standby. Flo TV, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, announced in October that it would be launching direct-to-consumer services independent of its carrier partners AT&T and Verizon Wireless. It earlier landed a deal with Audiovox to provide in-car mobile television.
- AT&T recently lowered the price for its white-labeled mobile television service to $10 per month and launched a new mobile-television-enabled handset, the Samsung Mythic.
Please see the DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION GUIDE for information on platforms and the Tips for Filmmakers and rights definitions.
Orly Ravid November 12th, 2009