Industry Beat

by Anthony Kaufman

  • The Last Mile

    In the battle between big telecoms and tech companies over the issue of net neutrality, independent filmmakers are inevitably going to be collateral damage. While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hasn’t yet gone forward with plans to allow Internet Service Providers to charge websites for faster service, the current proposals suggest that challenging times are ahead for media makers and companies who use the Web, with potentially higher costs and increased barriers to entry. As Jamie Wilkinson, CEO of digital distribution platform VHX questions, “As the market gets more crowded, will the prices be driven up?” Without the deep pockets…  Read more

    On Jul 17, 2014
    By on Jul 17, 2014 Columns
  • Why Too Many Movies Aren’t Necessarily a Problem

    There are too many movies, so says The New York Times, Salon.com and The Wrap. And that’s a bad thing. It’s that old law of supply and demand at work, they argue, with an abundance of titles over-saturating the marketplace and sabotaging the sustainability of the art film business. But some distribution professionals respond with a contrary and more nuanced view. There may be a lot of movies being made in the new millennium, but the ever-expanding entertainment universe is here to sort things out. “It’s like saying there are too many books or too many paintings or too much…  Read more

    On Apr 28, 2014
    By on Apr 28, 2014 Columns
  • Hits & Misses

    By the end of 2013, the most pressing question facing Hollywood was already old news for indies: multiplatform viewing is here, and particularly for independents, it’s here to stay. A significant source of revenue, in most cases, and a crucial method of finding an audience, the iTunes-Cable VOD and direct-to-consumer release has increasingly become an integral, if not principal, part of filmmakers’ distribution strategies. And yet, the irony of the past year in indie film is that much of the business was reliant on that hoary, old-fashioned, windowed release. For every VOD breakout surprise such as Drinking Buddies or Only…  Read more

    On Jan 17, 2014
    By on Jan 17, 2014 Columns
  • Bad Metrics

    Even if you don’t know baseball, you probably know the term “batting average” (or BA), which is widely used as the best measure of a batter’s prowess. Defined as the number of hits divided by the number of times at bat, it’s reported as a decimal number (i.e., .300 refers to the praiseworthy remark “batting 300”). The three all-time BA leaders are Ty Cobb (.366), Roger Hornsby (.358) and Joe Jackson (.356). But some baseball insiders have criticized the metric because it doesn’t account for the quality of those “at bats.” For many, it’s a shortsighted statistic that elides the…  Read more

    On Oct 21, 2013
    By on Oct 21, 2013 Columns
  • A Business of Ignorance?

    The impact of digital distribution on the indie film landscape has been vast. First, film titles began to inch up the alphabet toward the letter “A” to get noticed at the top of VOD listings. The latest development: Find a young TV star with a solid online fan base and you’re gold. “I’m seeing more and more films leveraging up-and-coming TV actors that have social media profiles,” says Erick Opeka, senior vice president of digital distribution at Cinedigm Entertainment. “Those audiences can’t wait to consume more product that features their favorite actors. The films come out of nowhere and storm…  Read more

    On Jul 18, 2013
    By on Jul 18, 2013 Columns
  • The Invisible Filmmakers

    Black films don’t travel. It’s one of the oldest clichés in the movie business. And it may be as true today as it was 20 years ago when producer Andrew Vajna famously declared, “There are no black actors today [who] mean anything to the foreign marketplace.” Hollywood may have made some headway in overcoming the racial road-blocks that exist in overseas markets; the foreign box-office for Quentin Tarantino’s Jamie Foxx-starring Django Unchained, for example, has well surpassed domestic sales, as did, surprisingly, Martin Lawrence’s 2011 comedy Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. But those films remain the exception, not the…  Read more

    On Apr 23, 2013
    By on Apr 23, 2013 Columns
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