C&B Notes

The Declining Cost of Distribution

Edward Burns blogs about the opportunities that electronic distribution presents for artists.  His personal example illustrates how the declining costs of distribution due to technology are going to accrue to the content creator at the expense of gatekeepers (while also leveling the financial playing field among artists).

With these digital formats, film fans are able to access the film whenever and wherever they want.  Let’s say you’ve read this piece and you’d like to check out my film Newlyweds.  You can go straight to your On Demand service from your cable provider, or to iTunes, and for just $6.99, you can watch the movie now, in the comfort of your own home, or wherever you may be.  There’s no need to call a babysitter to watch the kids, fill the car up with gas and drive miles to the nearest art house, or wait weeks for the film to come to your town.  The art house is your big screen television, your tablet or your smartphone.  Not to mention, the seats are more comfortable and the snacks are free.

We first experimented with digital distribution in 2007 with the release of my film “Purple Violets” — the first film to be released exclusively through iTunes.  At that point, audiences were buying music on iTunes but the thought that movie fans would watch a film on a computer, was mostly dismissed.  Despite that reaction, the film debuted to surprisingly strong numbers, indicating a real appetite to watch movies this way.  In 2010, we did it again and released “Nice Guy Johnny” on iTunes but also adding VOD to our release plan.  The audience response was astounding.  The movie made money and in turn, our crew made money, a welcome windfall for our labor of love.

For us indie filmmakers, I truly believe digital distribution is where the greatest opportunity lies.  Just two weeks ago, “Newlyweds” was released digitally and has been producing incredibly robust numbers.  Even more important, the digital distribution method will help to broaden the audience base for indie films and in turn, increase the demand for these films.  There will be more opportunity for the many up-and-coming indie filmmakers out there.  The future of independent film is here, and I am excited to say it’s in your living room.

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