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By Lindsay Blair Goeldner
Previously: Sundance 2014 — a Microcosm of a Greater Divides
At Indie Street we are holding on to all hope that the interpersonal human elements of storytelling will never fade away into obsoleteness. The following piece comes from one of Indie Street’s own curators. While she is not programming a film festival or being one of the coolest computer programming chicks in the game, Lindsay finds time to work at one of the last Indie Video Rental Stores in Canada. Who better to get a street level breakdown about the effects of technology on film consumer’s behavior…Enjoy!
The death of the indie video store is imminent. At least that’s what everyone tells me. Working as a video store clerk in one of a handful of stores (Queen Video) in Toronto is both a blessing and a burden. While the job remains interesting, I’m continually receiving remarks about how great it is that we’re still open. In the wake of the Blockbuster collapse, the independent video store flourished. Business seemed better than usual around late 2011 when the last Blockbusters were closing down in Canada. At that point in time, Netflix had already arrived, and streaming was still popular, but for some reason many people did not want to let go of the video store experience. [...]
by Andrew Einspruch
Filmmaker Andrew Einspruch attended Screen Forever 2013, the conference of Screen Producers Australia, this past year and wrote a series of articles for the event, which he’s kindly allowing us to reprint here. These articles originally appeared in Screen Hub, the daily online newspaper for Australian film and television professionals.
The world of content and culture is moving online. And search giant Google is in the driver’s seat to know what the trends are. But the digital world unfolds in a fraught way for many creators. In the opening session of this year’s Screen Forever conference, Derek Slater, Global Public Policy Manager, Google USA, gave a glimpse into this changing world, as viewed by the advertising behemoth. Andrew Einspruch reports.
That’s how much content currently gets uploaded to YouTube every minute. That`s a week`s worth of viewing in less than two minutes, and a year`s worth in less than two hours. That`s the supply side.
On the demand side, six billion hours get watched every month, or just under an hour per person on the planet, whether they have an Internet connection or not. It is a staggering change to the world, especially when you consider that YouTube did not exist nine years ago.
Google USA`s Derek Slater, a self-confessed fan of the Australian show “Frontline,” discussed this boom in creativity, and put it in the context of creators and money. Put simply, you have more content creators than ever before, and more ways for them to make money from all the connected consumers out there. He cited statistics that said digital music revenue was more than $5.6 billion in 2012, and that digital movies were nearly 30% of revenue in the US in 2012, up from 19% in 2011. Ebooks show a similar jump, with 457 million sold in 2012, up 43% from 2011.
It is still a developing market, but it represents a massive shift from the previous decade.
Slater also described Australia as a huge net exporter of video, with eight times as much Aussie video consumed off-shore than on-shore. Looked at differently, twice as much Australian content is consumed in the US than in Australia. From Slater`s perspective, it shows that local content is thriving, and contributing to a trade surplus in that category. [...]
Or for that matter, what do you think can really change and move things forward in both the near and distant future? If we could ask five key people what they saw on our various horizons, what would they show us? Who should we ask? One of the great things about being pointed in a direction, is that it is almost a path. Could we have walked down that road when Francis Ford Coppola predicted YouTube in 1991:
It is not easy to just boil down to one specific all the various change that is swarming over us at this point. I see major shifts coming in so many different aspects of cinema: discovery, consideration, value/return, participation, collaboration, transitioning, immersion, and many others. [...]
Make no mistake: The Entertainment Economy can no longer be predicated on scarcity or control — as it has been for the last 110 years. We need to rebuild it around concept of super-abundance & access.
“YouTubers Upload 72 Hours of Video Every Minute” That’s up from 48 hours a year ago. At what age do we reach Saturation Point? I already have: I have identified every film I would like to see — if I am able to maintain my maximum rate of consumption — to carry me 5 years past my life expectancy. The very nature of technology indicates that in less than ten years, a twenty year old cinephile will have done the same. I expect that to happen much sooner though. Audiences will have no “need” for the new. We have so many cute animals and children doing silly things after all. Who really needs an ambitious and relevant cinema? So why do anything to preserve it (let alone advance it)? Let’s just bury our heads and try to hold onto what is left of our jobs. Right?
I am glad there are those that know otherwise.
Besides, if you noticed, my post was really a jumping off point to try to address how we want to watch, or at least like to watch. We do have to offer our work for single transactions, but we have to recognize that is not how most people are choosing to watch. And yes, as many noted, we should not judge the lack of traction on YouTube for online rentals as representative of much. As Scilla Andreen pointed out, you need to honor your work with appropriate placement. YouTube has done so well building a community of generators and viewers accustomed to watching for free, it may be antithetical to the experience to pay anything ever there.
As I write this The Weinstein Company’s top rental on YouTube is Michael Moore’s SICKO, with a whopping 151 views. In reading PaidContent’s article on the TWC/YTube alliance, you can’t help wonder if there IS any business to be had in online rentals. Is the online one-off transactional content-rental business completely non-existent? And if so why?
I think we are starting to move away from the impulse buy mentality. [...]