“People don’t go into a store because they need one of our drills. They go because they need a hole in the wall.” Black and Decker CEO.
I was recently invited by our partner Europa Distribution to moderate a workshop about Day-and-Date, particularly focusing on new compromises and mutual benefits between simultaneous VOD and theatrical distribution. Two exhibitors where also invited so I prepared a whole arsenal of arguments to defend this model, in which I personally strongly believe, and collectively participate by coordinating the marketing at The Tide Experiment. To my surprise, I didn’t have to defend anything at all because we realized right at the beginning of the sessions, how we are all simply belonging to the same business and therefore able to strongly cooperate in this new digital field.
In a small room gathering a wide range of opinions including strongly opposed distributors, entrepreneurs, experimenters and exhibitors, we analyzed for a few hours the whole question from different points of view. Henk Camping from the Board of Directors of Europa Cinemas opened the dialogue by saying: “All of a sudden this is a partnership of three! In most cases this would lead to divorce.” His statement introduced a crucial question, becoming our first challenge: how can we involve exhibitors in the equation by sharing differently the revenue splits? Several ideas popped in the room: what if we embed a VOD player at the cinema’s web page, for example through Distrify services, and share the revenue? What if we increase the exhibitors’ share before reaching a pre-agreed amount? What if we share the VOD revenues of the concerned region or city with the exhibitor?
But what’s then the difference and added value that exhibitors are delivering? Madeline Probst from Watershed Media Center explained at her turn the event-driven experience they’ve set for Marley: live Jamaican music with vintage sound, cocktails and Jamaican food were the key assets visitors found around the screening of the film. “This value cannot be downloaded. It’s a social experience.” This introduced our second challenge: make it live! Enhance the social, surprising and event experience of cinemas generating a real added value for visitors.
Diverse multi-platform exposure is key for today’s film marketing. Day-and-date established distributor Artificial Eye, was represented by Jonathon Perchal. Describing their business model, he stressed the importance that The Guardian, SmarTV, Distrify and SkyTV have in this marketing endeavor. “These platforms have the capacity to reach and influence a critical mass and they are also needing content. They stream the film and also advertise its availability both in cinemas and VOD” Our third challenge was identified: build long-lasting multi-platform partnerships to enhance coverage.
“Every new legal click counts.” added Radka Urbancová from Aerofilms in Czech Republic, referring to their recent day-and-date experiences with Waste, City and Death and Searching for Sugar Man. Our fourth challenge was identified: make people simply love us! Let’s let them know we are here to give them the chance to choose a legal offer.
Madeleine Probst from Watershed Media Center stressed at her turn: “We’re not just a box at the end of the film chain. We want to be involved and participate from the marketing decisions. We’re the touch-point with the audience.” This introduced our fifth challenge: how can we involve VOD platforms and exhibitors in crossed marketing strategies?
All we know by coming back home after these intense two days is that we need to communicate to assess all these new opportunities as a plural but united industry. Adeline Monzier has mentioned to me in the taxi to the airport: “Europa Distribution’s next task will be to establish a new bridge of communication with exhibitors who want to participate of this think tank and sit at the table.” Lucie Girre, coordinator of The Tide Experiment added: “we will right away communicate with our exhibitors to embrace some of the marketing and distribution new ideas in the upcoming releases.” What’s next?
Sarah Calderón – The Film Agency – Spain