We’ve all heard about how Physical media is dead. However, for a long time there was still a significant amount of money in DVD and physical media. In fact, DVD impulse buys are and large rental orders are a lot of what allowed the independent film industry to exist at all. TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand) has not risen to replace the revenues lost from Physical Media, so it only makes sense to try to get revenue for your film from as many sources as possible to try and cobble together an ROI from all the different pieces.
But in order to truly understand the problem, it helps to understand the history behind it. So I’ve decided to make this into a 2 part series. The first giving background and context for how physical media came to prominence and why the fall of physical media spells trouble for the industry, and the second examining the real question of does Physical Media still make sense as part of the planned revenue mix for indie films. However, in order to properly utilize the practical advice, it helps to have a thorough background of how these things came to be and as a result which tactics are most likely to succeed.
This part is about the history. Check back next week for an examination of physical media’s place in the current landscape.
Blu-Rays vs DVDs
Prior to VHS (god that makes me feel old) the primary way people would see movies is either when they aired on TV, or when they toured through the local cinema. This meant there were both huge gatekeepers and huge costs associated with distributing a film, as you needed a 35mm print for every theater you were going to be in, and there wasn’t much else that you could do to get your work seen. When VHS came along, a lot of that changed.
When DVD entered the scene, there were some initial wins from people with DVD Replicates printing lots of recently public domain films to bolster their catalogs, then using the revenue to bu up old catalogs and grow their revenue event further. So even though more people had access to the to technology, the Lower price point and manufacturing costs expanded the markets
When Blu-Ray entered the market, many expected that it would largely act as DVD had. That was not the case. Around the same time Blu-Ray dropped, TVOD became viable. While the 2.99 movie rentals from iTunes worked very well at first, it wasn’t long before Netflix launched the first public iteration of its Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) platform. Once people could stream a huge array movies over the internet any time they wanted for free, many consumers didn’t see the need to buy physical media or pay for content the same way they had in the past.
Also, with the glut of content that was beginning to be created by the wide availability of cheap HD cameras and other lowered equipment costs, the price SVOD and PayTV platforms were willing to pay for content took a nose dive. This is among the biggest challenges that’s facing the current indie film industry. How do we break out from the white noise, and create enough revenue to pay our investors back?
I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, but it’s a lot of what I work towards as an entrepreneur, as well as the biggest things I help my clients to do, as well as a lot of why I blog. If you’d like help with your project, use the button below to submit your project, or the other button to join my mailing list.
Thanks for reading. Check back next week for the practical portion of this blog series.
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2/16/2022 03:59:18 am
Excellent article! Your post is essential today. Thanks for sharing, by the way.
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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